Rhubarb is one of the foods that I can eat every day once their season arrives. And it seems like all of our family is sitting on a rhubarb diet. Ivanka in enjoying her daily rhubarb drink, Stano’s asking for more rhubarb cordial, my Mom is making a rhubarb crumble, and I have three different rhubarb cakes plus preserves in my plan. We’re a kind of a rhubarb family, aren’t we! 🙂 Maybe this is just an effect of rhubarb being the first spring fruit plant that can be eaten as a fruit. I guess most of you are already enjoying fresh strawberries and other gifts of summer, but here up North, we’re still stuck in the rhubarb season (imported strawberries don’t count). And I love it! The tart stalks that turn so tender when baked or simmered, the bold play of green and red colour that turn amber and translucent when heated, the glossy skins and the firm, watery flesh. Oh, rhubarb!
This cake, topped with streusel, is my attempt to recreate the most common Latvian rhubarb cake – a simple, lovely, habitual cake. I’ve compared about half a dozen recipes (that sometimes were pretty controversial) and compiled them into one recipe with my own amendments included. First, I used 1/4 whole wheat flour, as I frequently do these days. It’s healthier, it gives extra taste, it provides pleasant moistness. Second, I used a mix of white and brown sugar for the filling, and I think I could have used brown sugar only. The original recipes called for plain sugar of course, but I thought brown sugar was a better match for the tart rhubarb. Third, I incorporated a little starch into the filling, just to prevent it from leaking. And that’s it. I thought of playing with walnuts in the streusel, but then I decided to keep it simple and traditional. Sometimes I succeed in holding back from too much tweaking 😉
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tbsp semolina
Little cube of butter
3 very thick rhubarb stalks (400-450g), trimmed and peeled
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used Farinsocker by Dansukker)
1 tbsp starch
1/2 cup cream
1/3 cup AP flour
50g butter (less than 1/2 stick), softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Makes one 30×24 cm cake
Cut rhubarb into small cubes. Combine and stir 1/2 cup plain sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, starch, and rhubarb. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 180C.
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla sugar. Stir in sour cream. Add AP flour, WW flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir until smooth.
Grease your baking pan with butter and sprinkle with semolina. Pour batter into prepared pan.
In a clean bowl, mix butter and sugar. Fold in flour and cinnamon and blend with a fork until small crumbs form.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg, 1/2 cup sugar, and cream.
Drain off juice from rhubarb. Spoon rhubarb onto the batter, pressing gently. Pour the egg mixture over rhubarb and sprinkle with streusel crumbs.
Bake for 45 minutes or until set.