After months of failed flute lessons, some gnarly guitar sessions and a few pathetic attempts at what one could only call a piano recital, I
was finally allowed decided to throw in the towel.
Which I threw right over my shoulder and headed into the kitchen without looking back.
My family – including aunts, uncles, and cousins – all have a serious gift when it comes to musical talent. Making music comes easy to them. Impromptu jam sessions happen when two or more members are in the same room at a family event and there is a fork and a water glass nearby.
Impromptu jam sessions happen to me when I unexpectedly receive four pounds of peaches in August.
They see a tambourine as a musical instrument. I see a tambourine as a unique and whimsical serving platter for cookies which happens to also announce its own arrival.
But just as a teacher needs a classroom of students, and a performer needs an audience, a baker needs to show up at a party with hungry guests. My family has always been there to sample and support my need to bring cookies into the world.
Forgive me, I’m feeling sentimental at the news of this wee award.
My brain is still simultaneously processing the awesome and the bonkers. For whoa. Most of all I’m humbled by your votes. Thank you for taking the time, and for sharing this little here blog, but mostly for reading my stories so very loosely related to cake. The announcement was quite a shock as I’m among some excellent company in the Baking and Desserts category (a huge shout out to my fellow sugar lovers behind the blogs Chasing Delicious, Joe Pastry, Willow Bird Baking, Sprinkle Bakes and Poires au Chocolat!!).
So I give you cake. Rhubarb crumble cake with a strawberry jam swirl to be exact. This cake is springtime in a springform.
It is also a baked good with proper time management. What begins as a crumble – of which you set a bit aside for the topping – gets a hit of buttermilk/egg/vanilla goodness and before you know it the show ends with a batter freckled with tiny pockets of pink.
What comes out of the oven is a delicate, buttery cake studded with tart rhubarb, a ribbon of sweet strawberry jam with a hat of brown sugar oat crumbs.
You never know when you need a lovely little springform springtime cake.
Rhubarb Crumble Cake with Strawberry Jam Swirl
Makes one 9-inch cake
Inspired by Nigella Lawson via The New York Times
For the rhubarb:
3 stalks (about 215 grams) rhubarb, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup (55 grams) brown sugar
juice of one lemon
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
For the cake:
2 cups + 2 tablespoons (270 grams) flour
3/4 cup (155 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons or 170 grams) butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon (8 grams) oats
1 tablespoon (20 grams) brown sugar
1 cup (236 ml) buttermilk
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla
1/2 cup (170 grams) strawberry jam
Preheat oven to 375. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
In a small bowl mix rhubarb (it should measure about 1 1/2 cups chopped), brown sugar, lemon juice and vanilla bean seeds. I just tossed in the pod – because why not?! – and let the whole thing chill out while you are making the cake. Cook the strawberry jam over low heat in a small saucepan so that it loosens and just begins to bubble. Turn off the heat and let it hang out as well.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter, toss each piece so it is coated in flour and begin to work the butter in by hand until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Scoop out about 1/2 cup (75 grams) into a small bowl and add oats and brown sugar. Press together until large crumbs form and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
Measure buttermilk into a liquid measuring cup (or a small bowl but who likes extra dishes to wash) and then whisk in the egg and vanilla. Add buttermilk mixture to the remaining flour mixture and combine using several quick strokes. Add in the rhubarb pieces – leaving any remaining juices and the vanilla bean behind in the bowl – and stir to fold in the bits.
Pour half the batter into the prepared pan then add the jam and spread it in an even layer leaving about 1/2-inch border on all sides. Add the remaining batter and smooth the top. Sprinkle crumble evenly over the top of the cake and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Let cool completely and serve.