Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Have I gushed enough about rhubarb?  No?  I love the stuff.  The color, the tartness, the recipes that run amok this time of year when rhubarb is in season (although, sadly, I can only find it frozen by now).  This coffee cake is rich and fantastic for company or for just yourself, if you’re feeling a little bit fancy or just really hungry.  No judgment.

I’ve tweaked this a bit (I can’t handle ginger – yuck) from a New York Times recipe.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, sliced into half-inch thick pieces
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the crumb topping:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 3/4 cups flour

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into pieces (NY Times says 8; I say there is no need for such rigidity)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. In a separate bowl, toss rhubarb with sugar and cornstarch and set aside.

To make crumbs: in a large bowl, whisk sugars, cinnamon and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then, add the flour. Once you’ve mixed it together, it will look and feel like a solid dough, but this is what you want.  No worries.  Set it aside.

For the cake: in a small bowl (this is not a clean-up-friendly recipe, sorry), stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer (or a vigorous wrist), mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed just until everything is incorporated. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and (you guessed it) set aside.

Pour remaining batter into prepared pan. Scatter the rhubarb over batter. Retrieve your set-aside batter and place dollops all over the rhubarb layer.  Don’t worry about being precise – it will blob together a bit in the baking process.

Break the crumb mixture into big chunks (like the size of a quarter or so) and sprinkle over cake. This is easiest, and coincidentally most cathartic, when you use your fingers.  Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter, 45 minutes or so. Cool completely before serving.  Happy eating!

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One response to “Rhubarb Coffee Cake

  1. Suki,
    I might possibly maybe use my rhubarb for this cake rather than my usual rhubarb custard pie. (I found fresh (?) rhubarb just a couple of weeks ago!!) This looks yummy! Thanks for sharing!!
    Mom

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