I’m sure you’ve noticed.
Everyone is obsessed with rhubarb right now.
And why not? It grows like a weed and provides a perfectly tart fencing partner for our favorite summer fruits. I like versatile desserts, cakes and sweets that show a little more personality than just SUGAR. To be honest, this was a dessert thrown together entirely at the market. I needed something sweet (can you really ever stop eating dinner if you don’t have dessert?) and saw a giant pile of ruby rhubarb at the Park Slope Food Coop. I threw a bunch into my cart and let my mind wander. I knew traditionally it should pair with strawberries, but I didn’t want to buy a pint of gorgeous fruit and then stick them in the oven. Better to eat those raw.
When I reached the aisle of jam, a thought struck (bluntly). I’d saute the rhubarb in some jam, pour it in the bottom of a cake pan and the build a cake batter on top of the fruit. Flip it over after it’s baked an marvel at the sticky, sweet, red topping.
Of course, this was all in my head. And while I like to think that my fantasies always play out, sometimes I hit wrong notes and the whole tune ends up in the trash. The market was out of strawberry jam so I grabbed a jar of decadent plum. As for the cake batter, I wanted something spiced to match the pouty lips of my tart topping. I decided on a heartier variation of my cupcake batter. I added some cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg and with one felicitous dip of my finger into the still raw bowl, rolled my eyes back into my head imagining the cake fully baked.
Look, I know you don’t even want to think about turning on your oven in the summer but if you want a fruity cake to serve at room temperature for brunches, tea dates and coffee breaks, this is it. Just do it.
Free of Gluten, Dairy, Corn, Soy, and Nuts (optional)
- ~2/3 pound Rhubarb, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 8-ounce jar of Plum Jam (or Strawberry, if you must)
- Juice of 1 Lemon (~2 tablespoons)
- ~1/4 cup Sugar
- 9 tablespoons White Rice Flour
- 6 1/2 tablespoons Tapioca Starch
- 4 1/2 tablespoons Brown Rice Flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
- 3/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
- 3 Eggs
- 1 cup Sugar
- 3/4 cup Coconut Oil (any veg. oil, please no canola)
- 3/4 cup Coconut Milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
- 3/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Saute the rhubarb with the jam, lemon juice and sugar. When it starts bubbling, give it 5 minutes. The rhubarb should be soft but not mush. Texture is wonderful. it gives your tongue a dancing partner.
- Line the bottom of a 9 inch round cake pan with parchment paper and pour in the ruby fruit reduction. It will be sticky.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until they are pale yellow and slightly thickened.
- Add the oil, coconut milk and extracts and whisk to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until the batter comes together. Scrape the bottom of the bowl for pockets of rebel flour. Resistance is futile.
- Pour the cake batter into the cake pan, right on top of the fruit.
- Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Ready for the fun part? Run a knife around the edge of the cake. Put a plate (upside down) on top of the cake pan and flip everything over. Give it a shake, a tap, say a little prayer and lift off the cake pan. As thanks for liberation, the cake will give you a lovely rhubarb steam facial. Don’t get your face too close. I don’t want to hear about burns.
- Eat it.
Prep. time: 15-20 minutes
Baking time: 30-35 minutes
Yield: 1 9-inch cake