Thursday, July 26, 2012

Joining the party

There comes a time when one must use the rhubarb in their freezer. This is a sad fact. You see,  I adore rhubarb. I adore rhubarb so much that when I gave my uncle a newly-devised Black Tea and Rhubarb Muffin to taste, he said, "again, with the rhubarb?" (By the by, those Black Tea and Rhubarb Muffins are one of the best things I have ever devised, ever. So buy them. They're good.) So maybe I am a bit obsessed. And maybe during rhubarb season I bought all the rhubarb I could find and told my friends that  should they see rhubarb they must immediately buy some for me  and then went about chopping and stocking my freezer full of rhubarb.Yeah, that happened. But here's the thing, my freezer is small. Very small. Like the size of a shoebox small. (Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. It's more like the size of the shoebox that your knee-high equestrian boots came in. But still, whenever someone suggests that make all the stocks and "just freeze them" I laugh and laugh. And then I cry.) And lo, mango season is upon us and there must be Mango Muffins (and this, please!) and soon that short, magical period of limes will be here too and my freezer simply will not hold all that bounty and the other various things it must hold. So, much as it pained me to part with a good bit of my precious rhubarb, (leaving, of course enough rhubarb for muffins) the time had come for Rhubarb Snacking Cake.

Snacking cakes seem to be the thing nowadays. Food 52 has a blueberry one, Not Derby Pie has a lovely looking peach one on her site, Sweet Amandine posted a luxurious whole wheat cinnamon one almost a year ago, and for my own forays into the snacking cake party, I went with Smitten Kitchen's rhubarb snacking cake. The thing that makes snacking cakes so alluring is that they are appropriate for almost any occasion. They're not too complex and they're not too sweet. You can have some for breakfast, or dessert or with your mid-afternoon cup of coffee. They are perfect for picnics and dinner parties alike. Personally, I brought the one I made to a picnic where it was greatly loved and well worth the sacrifice of my beloved rhubarb.

Rhubarb Snacking Cake
Adapted so very lightly from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/4 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (frozen is ok, also)
1 1/3 cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup flour
teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup sour cream, or yogurt

1 cup flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons of butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Stir together the rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice.  (If you are using frozen rhubarb, you may want to cook it down a bit before mixing in the sugar and lemon juice so it doesn't soggify your cake) Set aside.

2. Beat the butter, the rest of the sugar and the lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and ginger. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until incorporated. Then add half of the sour cream/yogurt. Mix.   Add the second third of the flour mixture. Mix. Add the second half of the sour/cream yogurt. Mix. Finish off with the last third of the flour mixture.

3. Pour the batter into a greased, parchment papered 9x13 pan. Spread with a spatula. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the cake in one even layer.

4. To make the crumb stir together the flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pour in the melted butter and stir until clumpy. Scatter over the cake.

5. Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes until  tester comes out dry (of batter, not rhubarb). Cool and then cut into squares and eat.


  1. Those muffins sound grand.

    Is it really mango season in Israel? I know mango season is April to June in Southeast Asia, so that's when I allow myself to purchase them. I think I see a new loophole in my quest to buy only "in season" produce.

  2. It is really mango season. We get em from late July till early Octoberish.

  3. Okay, you mentioned lime in connection with the freezer. What does one do with limes as far as the freezer goes? I assume one can't freeze the limes themselves, or can one? Or do you juice them and freeze the juice in cubes?

  4. You can freeze the whole lime if you'd like, but what I do is I zest and juice the fruit and then freeze them. (Freeze the juice in ice cube trays and then transfer to a ziplock bag to save space). It's a bit of a pain in the butt, but it allows me to use limes for a while after their very short season.