Rhubarb Ripple Coffee Cake
Elegant and easy, this crumb-topped, moist, dense coffeecake does triple duty as a breakfast sweet, coffeecake snack, or springtime dessert; for something a bit more elaborate, warm the cake before serving and top it with vanilla ice cream. I like the way the rose-colored filling is hidden inside, only appearing at the first cut, when it oozes just a bit from either edge of the cake slice.
1 1/3 cups rhubarb puree or sauce (see rhubarb puree recipe)
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange zest, finely minced, or 1/4 teaspoon orange oil
A heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk *
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Basic Rhubarb Puree
3 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut in 1-inch dice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
* To sour milk, place one tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar in a glass 1-cup measure. Pour milk to the 1-cup mark. Allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes to curdle. (Don’t use old milk that’s gone bad; that’s spoiled milk, not soured.)
Prepare the rhubarb puree, and let it cool.
Spray a 9-inch removable-bottom tart or quiche pan, or 9-inch springform pan, with vegetable oil spray.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Using a mixer, your hands, a fork or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly and mealy. Set aside 1/2 cup for topping.
To the remaining flour/sugar mixture, add the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, orange zest or oil, and salt. Stir in the egg, vanilla extract and buttermilk or sour milk.
Spread two-thirds of the batter over the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Spread the rhubarb on top of the batter, and spoon or dollop the remaining batter over the rhubarb. Sprinkle with the reserved sugar/flour mixture.
Bake the cake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top crust is golden brown around the edges, and slightly brown in the center. Cool thoroughly. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
Yield: 12 servings
Rhubarb Puree: Microwave Method: Place the rhubarb in a glass dish or other microwave-safe 2-quart dish. Toss it with the sugar and cornstarch.
Cover the dish and microwave on HIGH power for 5 minutes. Stir the fruit, cover it again, and microwave on HIGH power for an additional 5 minutes, or until the fruit is completely softened. Stir till you have a fairly smooth puree.
Stove-Top Method: Place the rhubarb in a 1 1/2-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Toss with sugar and cornstarch. Cook on low heat, covered, for about 5 minutes. Remove the cover, and cook on medium-low heat to cook down the fruit, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 15 minutes, until the fruit is very soft, and the sauce is smooth and thickened.