Monday, May 23, 2011

A Plea For Rhubarb & A Recipe, Too.

I came home from our trip to the city with loads of rhubarb. Rhubarb is a harbinger of spring and when it's available I become obsessed. I do have plants in the garden but they are a bit stunted this year. After June ran laps along the fence with her boyfriend pre-garden protection, it was a little worse for the wear. I want to let it recover until next year so until then, I am accepting donations.

I have a long list of things to try - some old, some new, including a delicious Bundt cake with buttermilk and lemon. I've realized I have a "thing" for Bundt cakes. I make a lot of them. Chocolate and red wine, goat cheese, blueberries and herbs, and olive oil.

The recipe I want to share is from my well-worn (though fairly new) copy of Rustic Fruit Dessert by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. It's definitely a go-to book when I am in search of ways with seasonal fruits.

It uses the basic techniques of most cakes of this nature. Be sure allow for plenty of time to cream the butter and the sugar. The sharp edges of the sugar crystals cut the butter and create small air pockets, creating a lighter cake. While Bundt cakes are a bit more dense than others, that step is just as important. Don't rush it.

My favorite Bundt tip is to use the back of a spoon to create a channel through the middle of the cake. If you've ever made a Bundt that appears to be levitating over the cake plate, this will ensure that doesn't ever happen again.

A bit of lemon glaze and it's an especially delicious bite of spring.

Perfect for a Memorial Day picnic!

Lemon Buttermilk Rhubarb Cake

2 1/2 cups plus 2 T. all-purpose flour (12.5 oz. + 5/8 oz.)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. fine sea salt
1 cup (8oz.) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs
1/2 t. lemon oil (I use 1 t. lemon extract)
3/ cup buttermilk
1# rhubarb, trimmed and very thinly sliced (3 cups or 12oz. prepared)

Lemon Glaze
2 cups (8 1/2 oz) sifted confectioners' sugar or more as needed
Juice of 1 lemon
1 T. unsalted butter

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-cu Bundt pan.
To make the cake, sift, the 2 1/2 cups flour, the baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Using a hand held mixer or a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, then stir in the lemon oil (extract). Stir the flour mixture in three additions alternating with buttermilk in two additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture, scraping down the bowl occasionally. The batter will be very thick.

toss the rhubarb in the 2T. of flour and fold half of the rhubarb into the batter. Pour (I use a trigger ice cream scoop) into the prepared pan and sprinkle remaining rhubarb on top.

Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pan and cook an addtional 30 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm and the center springs back when lightly touched. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes before inverting and removing th epan.

To make the lemon glaze, whisk the confectioner's sugar, lemon juice and butter toghete. The mixture should be thick. It if is not whisk another tablespoon or two of sugar. Spread the glaze over the cake as soon as you remove it from the pan.

Storage: Covered with a cake cover or plastic wrap, the cake will keep at room temperature for 3-4 days.

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