Friday, September 9, 2011

Cake #33 Big Crumb Cake with Rhubarb

With the end of summer rapidly bearing down on us, I thought it was essential that I include some seasonal produce in at least one of my cakes. For me, fruit begins and ends in the citrus section, plus apples. I don't eat berries of any sort and the only friendly melon is watermelon. Which makes it even more astounding that I don't hate rhubarb. It's like the platypus of the fruit world and due to it's weirdness, I give it a pass.

This recipe gets a 2/5 as in two Makis LOVED it - like, 'wow, this is the best thing ever!' and three Maki's said, 'interesting... but I think I'll pass'

Personally, after hearing Buddy Valastro rave about "big crumbs" and my prior amazing experience with Smitten Kitchen recipes, I was expecting something a whole lot more impressive. And it was too buttery, by a power of ten. Chris and Brayden would call that, 'just buttery enough' and I feel compelled to point out that I have a quirk about foods being too buttery - it's why I don't like most cookies. I know, crazy!

‘Big Crumb’ Coffeecake with Rhubarb
Adapted from The New York Times 6/6/07

Not rhubarb season? Don’t fret. I think this cake would be amazing with a blueberry, raspberry, sour cherry or any other tangy fruit filling you can think of. Simply adjust the sugar level accordingly–most of these will need far less than rhubarb does to make them palatable.

Butter for greasing pan

For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, melted
1 3/4 cups cake flour (I was out and used all-purpose and it worked great)

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour (ditto on the all-purpose flour–worked just fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.

2. To make crumbs, in a large bowl, whisk sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then, add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will look and feel like a solid dough. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.

3. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds.

Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.

4. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.

5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Sprinkle with Icing Sugar.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

From Smitten Kitchen

P.S. The whole time I was making this I kept thinking, why all the fuss? All you need to do is cut up a pan full of fruit, toss with a little cinnamon and sugar, top with a eye-balled mix of brown sugar, flour and oatmeal and knots of butter. Bake until bubbly. No biggie. Then I reminded myself that that is a CRISP not a CAKE - so yeah, I'm unclear on the concept.

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Rachael said...

YUM!! Looks so tasty!!

Michelle S said...

Looks yummy Nicole!

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

It really looks good.

I have never had rhubarb. Ever.

And girl NOTHING can ever be *too buttery*. No such thing.

Michelle said...

Looks - and sounds - DELISH!!! I LOVE rhubarb! I'm totally pinning this :)

I found you from TT&J's Weekend Wrap-Up! said...

Wow! That looks amazing!!!!! It is for breakfast right? I think I'd pretend it's coffee cake and have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner :) That looks sooooo yummy!