Thursday, July 22, 2010

rhubarb cake

I will start off by admitting this cake really isn't much to look at. It is kind of bumpy and awkward. Also, being baked in a 13 inch pan does not glam it up in anyway.
It is, however, complete brown sugar tart rhubarb eggy cake loveliness. I love rhubarb for that sour sugary zing. Last year when I was back home, we went to visit family friends and upon arrival I was greated by an 8 year old boy gnawing on a stalk of rhubarb that had been judiciously dipped in dark brown sugar. He kindly offered me a bite, which I politely declined, but admired his good tastes nonetheless. Lots of people where I grew up have a rhubarb patch and so this cake fills a little homesickness ache in me. Plus, I just think the color of rhubarb is too beautiful.
The premise of the recipe reminds me of a pineapple upside down cake. Although I have never made a pineapple upside down cake, I imagine it is made in a similar way: a buttery brown sugar topping is placed in the bottom of a baking pan, then fruit is scattered, and finally the cake batter is smoothed over all.
This recipe is courtesy of my grandmother who clipped it out of a magazine and passed it on to me. She scribbled my name on the top of it and every time I see her handwriting, I could just cry to think of all the love she has put into feeding me over the years. Recently I misplaced the recipe card for a few weeks and was beside myself. Finding it again, I am determined to share it and in some way extend that love.
The recipe itself was from one of those reader recipe contest, so I can tell you that when you too fall in love with this cake, send out good thoughts to Loraine Meyer of Bend, Oregon.

Rhubarb Dessert Cake

2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (or my personal favorite, a pool of heavy cream)

1) In a greased 13 in x 9 in x 2 in baking dish, combine butter and brown sugar. Top with rhubarb.

2) In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, water and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened (please take care to not over mix). Pour over rhubarb.

3) Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.
 I realize that I regularly go on about recipes that can be made ahead. This is not really one of them. It is at it's best about 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven. It is a very simple recipe, so please do not let timing be a deterrent. I can guarantee your family or dinner guests or whichever lucky people you share this with will happily spare the time to enjoy this while oven warm.

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