It’s confirmed. Spring is finally here. The rhubarb’s ready! I know not everyone shares my enthusiasm for the ruby red, tart stalks of rhubarb, but the members of my family sure do. My husband proudly salvaged 2 pieces that broke when he was cutting trees around the garden area, declaring it was almost enough for a rhubarb cake.
Rhubarb is a member of the buckwheat family. It traveled here to the New World via Europe from southern Siberia and the Volga regions. Over 2000 years ago, the Chinese ground up its dried roots to make a bright yellow powder that was used medicinally. Rhubarb was used as a purge and a corrective and tonic remedy for the digestive system. I can just imagine my great-great grandparent’s family enjoying the first, mouth-puckering sauce of rhubarb, doubtless a welcome treat after a long season of eating roots and apples.
Nutritional benefits of rhubarb include potassium, as well as a fair amount of iron, calcium and Vitamin A. Rhubarb pairs well with other fruits, likes apples and strawberries, to make pies and sauces. Rhubarb Coffee Cake is one of my favorite culinary uses of rhubarb. The cake freezes well, or you can freeze chunks of rhubarb and make the cake fresh all winter. A spoonful of whipped cream or ice cream elevates Rhubarb Coffee Cake to a sweet tasting, spring dessert.
Rhurbarb Coffee Cake
- 11/2 cup diced rhubarb
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup honey
- 6 tablespoons butter at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole meal or whole wheat flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup yogart
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch by 8 inch or 7 inch by 10 inch pan.
- In a small bowl, stir the maple syrup into the rhubarb. Stir in the ¼ cup all purpose flour and set aside.
- In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the honey and butter. Beat in the egg. Add the vanilla and yogurt. Beat in the flours and spices. Fold in the rhubarb mixture. The batter will be thick.
- Spoon the batter into the greased pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
- Cut the cake into 12 pieces. Dust with powdered sugar if desired or serve warm with whipped cream.