It was Sunday afternoon a couple weeks ago, and I needed to bring a dessert to our friends’ house that evening for dinner. I had bought rhubarb at the fabulous 61st Street Farmers Market in Hyde Park the day before and really wanted to use it, but didn’t have time to bake a pie.
I consulted my Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts, one of my oldest and most loved cookbooks, and found Erma Mabel’s Rhubarb Cake on page 133. It’s a simple recipe that can be put together in minutes and beautifully highlights the tart rhubarb. It’s not too sweet, and is perfect accompanied with some freshly whipped cream.
Since that dinner, I’ve already made it again for a potluck, and this time, I used rhubarb from our plant in our little backyard.
I will certainly make it at least once more before rhubarb season ends. The recipe calls for all purpose flour, but I just substituted my gluten-free flour blend and added about ½ teaspoon of xanthan gum and made it gluten free.
Erma Mabel’s Rhubarb Cake
½ cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1.5 cup flour (can sub gluten-free flour)
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
(1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum, if making gluten free)
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2.5 cup chopped rhubarb (about 4 stalks), chopped into 1-inch pieces
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a round cake pan or spring form pan and dust with flour.
With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt (and xanthan gum). Combine the milk and vanilla in a small bowl or cup. Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition.
Spread about 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with all of the rhubarb pieces. Top with the rest of the batter, spreading as evenly as possible but with a light touch – try not to push the rhubarb pieces into the bottom layer of batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake is golden brown.
Do you have any favorite rhubarb recipes to share?