Seeing the glowing red stalks of rhubarb at the farmer’s market really signals the beginning of a season of sun, summer dresses, drinks outside with friends, and fruity desserts. The flavor of strawberries tends to get lost when they’re baked into a cake, so I wanted to make one that let the rhubarb stand alone. I made it twice within the course of a few days, and it was devoured at both parties we brought it to. It’s a little tangy, very juicy, and the spelt gives it substance. I had a little rhubarb left over so I cooked it down into a sauce. We also had homemade creme fraiche ice cream, which was a surprisingly complimentary flavor, despite being tangy as well. You don’t need it though. The cake stands very well on its own (recipe below).
Because I spent Saturday morning baking, we didn’t have time for our usual foray into Manhattan to go museum hopping. Instead, we walked up the block to the Brooklyn Museum of Art and checked out the Keith Haring exhibit. I always had a casual affection for his work, but seeing it large and in person was so much more powerful. There was also a slideshow of many of the paintings he did on subway walls in the 80’s. To me, the most fascinating thing about those, was seeing how different (ie a lot more grungy) New York was underground back then!
Here are a couple of our favorite works from the show:
Honey-Spelt Rhubarb Cake
7-8 stalks of rhubarb, washed and cut into small pieces (no need to peel it)
2 tsp. cinnamon
200g honey (I used wildflower)
250g spelt flower (or you could do half spelt, half all-purpose)
2 tsp. baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
4 tblsp. sour cream
pinch of salt
2 tblsp. dark rum (optional)
a handful of sliced almond
Brown sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, toss the rhubarb with 50g of the honey and the cinnamon. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
In yet another bowl, cream the butter and sugar with the lemon zest and honey. Add the sour cream, then the flour, mixing just until everything is incorporated. Mix in the rum.
Spread the batter out in a 9″ springform pan. Drain any juice that’s at the bottom of the bowl of rhubarb, then spread the rhubarb over the batter, pressing it in slightly.
This was how much rhubarb I used in the first cake, but I squeezed more in the second time I made it, and it was even better.
Sprinkle with the almonds and press them in very lightly as well. If you want a little caramelization on top, sprinkle the cake with some brown sugar.
Bake about 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.