Guys, it's rhubarb season, the tail end of it around here anyway (if you can judge by the likes of some of the sad stalks I saw recently in the grocery store) and I meant to get this out to you sooner, but what with my kitchen and the dreaded cold, I only just got around to it and I'd hate for you all to miss out on this springy treat. Why? Because it's simply delicious--simple, being the operative word around here. So without meaning to sound bossy (though of course there are several people near me who would debate that claim!) run out to the store NOW and pick up some fresh rhubarb so that you can make this wonderful tea cake TODAY!!!
Are you a rhubarb lover? Most people have kinda strong feelings about it. Personally, I love it--that little tart zing it gives, so it's strange that I don't have any rhubarb recipes here on the site. Well, that changes right now and with one of the easiest, homiest cakes I've ever made. It's not a cake you bake for any special occasion--there are no bells and whistles here--it's just what you make when you want to add a little sweetness to your day without major effort. The crumb is incredibly tender, buttery and moist due to the addition of buttermilk and every other bite, you're rewarded with a soft little piece of fresh rhubarb.
And did I mention that the golden top has a layer of crunchy, caramelized turbinado sugar? YUM!
It's delightful in the afternoon with a cup of tea or as an indulgent little breakfast-hey it's got fruit in it! And truly, it comes together so easily. Plus it's also versatile. If by some sorry means, you can't get your hands on any rhubarb, this would also be great made with berries or stone fruit. Definitely going to give it a go when blueberry season arrives!! If you have guests coming in for Memorial Day, make this then leave it on your counter and watch as it slowly, magically disappears throughout the day.
Gotta love the rhubarb!! Now, hurry and get some before it's all gone!!
Rhubarb Tea Cake
Makes one 9x9-inch square cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes; Bake Time: 40 minutes
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature, cut into chunks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
2 1/2 cups sliced rhubarb (about 3 large stalks)
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top of pre-baked cake
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spray a 9x9 inch square baking pan and set aside.
2. Place the butter and both sugars in a large bowl and use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment (if you're using a stand mixer, otherwise a regular handheld will work just fine) and beat together for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Don't worry if the mixture looks a bit curdled. It's ok.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Then add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the beaten mixture and beat together on low speed, just until incorporated. There will still be lumps. Fold in the rhubarb and then scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top generously with the turbinado sugar.
4. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, until golden brown and starting to pull away from the sides. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes. Then cut and serve however you like it--this is not meant to be fancy, folks!
Note: Recipe adapted from The Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila.