Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rhubarb Snacking Cake

I had high expectations for this recipe and I have to admit, I wasn't thrilled when it came out of the oven. Then I gave it to a friend to try a piece and she loved it. Some time passed and I tried it again and I wasn't so bitter towards the recipe.

First, the frustration. The bottom layer does not make a lot of batter. It also doesn't spread easily. It's good once it cooks up, but it's a pain to work with. You might want to try a slightly smaller pan or a slightly larger batch. She also says that the middle layer should spread into a single layer, but I measure based on weight and had very thin stalks and that was clearing not the case. Because the bottom layer was so small, the rhubarb overflowed on the edges. It also seemed to just be a watery mess that didn't want to set while baking, but it did once cooled. I had no major complaints with the crumb. At the end, she also suggests using a tester to see if the cake is done. I have no idea how a tester would work since the tester must pass through the wet rhubarb layer. If you can solve this mystery, you are a smarter person than me.

Is the recipe worth it? Probably. Would I be less frustrated with it if I increased the cake layer back up (she cut it in 2/3)? Definitely. You're free to do as you so desire.

One year ago: Tomatillo Pork Enchiladas
Two years ago: Jalapeno Cheddar Scones

Rhubarb Snack Cake (from Smitten Kitchen)
1 1/4 pound (565 grams) rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths on the diagonal
1 1/3 cup (265 grams) granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice (save some zest)
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups (165 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup (80 grams) sour cream
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces, or 55 grams) unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter or a nonstick cooking spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper, extending the lengths up two sides.
2. Stir together rhubarb, lemon juice and 2/3 cup sugar and set aside.
3. Beat butter, remaining sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one at at time, scraping down the sides after each addition.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon table salt and ground ginger.
6. Add one-third of dry mixture to the batter, mixing until just combined. Continue, adding half the sour cream, the second third of the flour mixture, the remaining sour cream, and then the remaining flour mixture, mixing between each addition until just combined.
7. Dollop batter over prepared pan, then use a spatula — offset, if you have one, makes this easiest — to spread the cake into an even, thin layer (see notes above if you skipped over them).
8. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the cake, spreading it into an even layer.
9. Stir together the crumb mixture, first whisking the flour, brown sugar, table salt and cinnamon together, then stirring in the melted butter with a spoon or fork.
10. Scatter evenly over rhubarb layer.
11. Bake cake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. It will be golden on top. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.


  1. hehehe, I must have made this cake the same time as you my friend :) I have to say though I LOVED it from first sight, and was so glad that I made a full recipe b/c the whole thing disappeared in two days! I must say I had my doubts about it going into the oven especially since she says to pour the entire liquide that the rhubarb let out as well, the whole thing looked like a wet mess for me too but i was shocked how well it cooked up! this will be on repeat for me this summer so you will probably come across it again if you come visit :)

    1. What do you mean if I come visit? When can I come visit??