>Big Crumb Coffeecake with RHUBARB

12 Apr

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Let’s catch up, shall we?

In the last week or so…

-One of my housemates compared my matzo balls to ones that his grandmother used to make (people, this is the ULTIMATE compliment)

-At the beginning of this week I got food poisoning and spent a day and a half bouncing from my bed to the toilet to the couch and back and forth and back and forth. blech.

-I’ve been house hunting for next year…ideally I would love a quaint house with a beautiful kitchen (or at least a kitchen that could accommodate my KitchenAid standing mixer, my mortar and pestle, and my soon-to-have ice cream machine!!)

-I spent almost 5 hours at a park: mimosas, Frisbee, daisy chains, sunshine…followed by a lovely yet kind of creepy night hike through some Berkeley trails

-I’ve been waiting a year to attend the annual dachshund derby, a day at the race track with little wiener dogs racing about 15 feet. Way too cute! Unfortunately this year the rain washed all the wieners away and the race was canceled.



some photos from last year’s derby…cute or cute?

Well, after a bout of craziness this week, today was finally the day that I was able to wake up, bake, snap some photos, and, well, eat.


Rhubarb has finally arrived. Rhubarb looks kind of like red celery. While the leaves are poisonous, the red stalk delivers a tart, zingy flavor that is usually incorporated into sweet baked goods. Just please, do not eat RAW rhubarb. No good. No no. Just don’t. Come eat my cake instead.

At work, we are currently serving rhubarb jam with toast in the morning and panna cotta with wine-poached rhubarb as one of our evening desserts.

Today I made this coffeecake with rhubarb:


My ideal Sunday starts off with a big breakfast baked with love. Whether it’s pancakes, waffles, eggs n’ toast, or some sweet treat (or all of the above !!) , I am always a happy camper. Really, though, the best is when I get to make breakfast for/with others, because those smiling faces and satisfied bellies are all I need in return.

Here is my pal, Rennie, modeling with the coffeecake:


Rennie did not actually get to taste my cake (he’s vegan), but I swear I almost saw him sneak a bite behind my back 😉

This coffeecake even survived the rain today. Now that’s sayin’ somethin’.


Now friends, I have often pondered this question myself: why do they call it coffeecake if there is no actual coffee in the recipe? Well, coffeecake falls under a class of cakes intended to be served with coffee or for similar breaks and snacks. So there you have it.


Oh, and on June 9th, look out because apparently it’s national Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day. Just thought I’d let you all know in advance.

‘Big Crumb’ Coffeecake with Rhubarb

Adapted from SmittenKitchen, originally from The New York Times 6/6/07


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 (all-purpose works just fine)

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream (I used plain low-fat yogurt)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour (ditto on the all-purpose flour–works 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 (or yogurt) 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.

Give the cake a nice lil’ dusting of powdered sugar, too. It makes makes it just that much better.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

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