Sunday, June 7, 2015

Rhubarb Cake

Sometimes it seems hard for me to find recipes that I would think shouldn't be too hard to find.  For example, the subject of this current post.  I wanted to find a recipe for a rhubarb cake.  But let me be clear.  I didn't want a recipe for a yellow cake that had chunks of rhubarb scattered throughout. I wanted a cake where pureed rhubarb was added to the batter to create a rhubarb cake--similar to what one would do to create a banana cake.

As I mentioned, I couldn't find it.  So I made one up.  But then bothersome things began happening. First, some odd chemical reaction occurred when I added the pureed rhubarb to the already mixed cake batter.  It fizzled and popped like a freshly opened carbonated beverage.

I guess maybe it had something to do with the acid in the rhubarb reacting with the baking soda or baking powder that I had already mixed into the batter.  But I'm no chemist so I can't precisely say for sure what went down.  Also, the cake turned from a pink to a green when I took it out of the oven. That wasn't so much of a surprise because rhubarb does have a lot of green pigments and I've seen that happen before when rhubarb meets the heat.

But it was a gross looking green--like vomit green. And then there was the actual taste and texture of the cake.  I'll be honest, it tasted nothing like rhubarb to me.  It didn't taste bad.  In fact, it tasted good--just like a yellow cake. But not like rhubarb.  And the texture of the cake was all wrong.  It was overly spongy and moist--more like a bread pudding.  Thus a fail on my part.

Perhaps this is the reason why I couldn't find a recipe. Perhaps not.  I actually think that with some tweaks, I could get it right.  So, maybe next season. On the plus side, making this cake gave me the opportunity to pretty it up in a special kinda way.  I had been wanting to try this decorating technique since I saw it last spring on Sprinkle Bakes. By the way, if you want to see a woman who makes some truly beautiful desserts with a real creative hand, check out her site here.

Some of it isn't necessarily my style but nevertheless, they all appear very well crafted.  And when I saw this cake posted, it made a visual impact on me.  Since I keep buying an obscene amount of rhubarb I had plenty on hand to make it happen.  At first, I was getting a little frustrated with peeling the thin layers of rhubarb off from the stalk.  It may have had something to do with my dull vegetable peeler.  So if you are going to attempt this, then make sure you have patience and a good sharp peeler.  But that was the hardest part about the process.  The rest was pretty simple and not too time consuming.  My pattern wasn't as uniform or pretty as the one on Sprinkle Bakes but I liked it.  I'm calling it nouveau rustic.

Recipe for two six inch rhubarb cakes

190g cake flour
200g granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2/3c buttermilk at room temp.
100g butter melted and cooled to room temp.
40g vegetable oil
100g eggs at room temp.
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 lb or 3 c of rhubarb chopped to 1/2 inch wide

*Fair warning--this recipe was not such a big success but here goes anyway...

First, cook the rhubarb.  Place the chopped rhubarb in a medium non-reactive saucepan with 3/4c of water and bring it to a boil.  Once it's boiling, reduce the mixture to a simmer and continue to cook until the rhubarb softens and begins to break down--about 15-20 minutes.  Then, remove the rhubarb from the heat and let cool completely.  Once, it's cooled to room temperature place the rhubarb in a blender and puree it until it is smooth.  Set the rhubarb aside.  Next, start the rest of the cake by preheating the oven to 350 F.  Butter two six inch cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift all of the dry ingredients together.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk all of the wet ingredients together--except for the rhubarb puree--until well combined.  Pour all of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Using the paddle attachment, mix the dry and wet ingredients together on medium speed for about two minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Pour the rhubarb puree in the batter, turn the mixer back on and mix until the rhubarb has been fully incorporated into the mixture (when you add the rhubarb it may fizzle and pop).  Stop the mixer and divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans.  Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean.  Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool completely before removing them from the pans.

For the frosting, I made a swiss meringue buttercream base, pureed some strawberries I had and mixed it into the base.  And for the rhubarb wrapped decorating technique, I used the the link above from Sprinkle Bakes.

1 comment :

  1. I actually think this is one of the pretties cakes I have ever seen and that includes the green hue!


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