The rhubarb is up in the garden. Stalks are short and tender, but red enough to harvest for a first Rhubarb Cake of the season. I didn’t like it as kid. Mom celebrated spring by baking Strawberry Rhubarb Pie or Crumble, but I was alway happy when it was no longer available in the market.
Either we get older and learn to appreciate unique and complicated tastes of things we used hate (brussel sprouts, Roquefort, arugula), our diminishing senses of taste and smell require the stimulation of bolder flavors (brussel sprouts, Roquefort, arugula) or, we will eat almost anything we had a hand in growing and/or preparing. It’s likely a combination of the three, but I’m going to the bank with “growing and preparing”.
Why teach children to grow and cook their own food? (You thought you were getting only a recipe for gluten free Rhubarb Streusel Cake!)
1. Planting a garden is an active, often outdoor activity.
2. Relationships: gardening and cooking involves collaboration with older more experienced family members and friends.
3. One sees and benefits from the fruits of their labor, contributing to confidence and independence.
4. People who plant gardens live longer.
5. If you grow it, you will try it: chard, asparagus, carrots, peas, broccoli, rhubarb….
6. There is no better way to spend an evening than with the music, stove, and oven on, the cookbook and ingredients on the counters, and the young and old up to their elbows in an endeavor that will end around the table.
Note: One of last year’s Christmas gifts was a delicious three course meal, shopping to service and dish washing, prepared by one of our sons: heaven!
RHUBARB STREUSEL CAKE
2 cups red rhubarb, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons GF flour mix
1 tablespoon orange zest, firmly packed
1/2 cup (4 oz.) melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (6 oz.) GF flour mix (yours, ours, or Trader Joe’s)
1 cup (5 oz.) millet flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xantham gum
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 cup (6 oz.) GF flour mix
1/2 cup (2.5 oz.) millet flour
1/2 cup (4.5 oz.)dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
7 (not 8) tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease or spray a 3″ deep, 9″ round spring form pan. The pan needs to be deep enough for the cake to rise without spilling over the edges. (See the results of my oversight below.)
2. In a medium sized bowl, toss the chopped rhubarb with sugar, flour, and orange zest. Set aside.
3. Measure the dry ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk to blend.
4. With an electric mixer, mix the melted butter and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, continuing to beat until creamy.
5. Add the dry and wet ingredients alternately in 3 batches, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Scrape down, and stir again to make certain the batter is well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. DON’T wash the mixing bowl.
6. Streusel: put the flour, sugar, xantham gum,and nutmeg into the bowl you used for the batter (there should be a very little batter left in it.) Stir to blend. Add the melted butter and stir again evenly incorporating the butter.
7. Evenly distribute the rhubarb mixture over the batter. Evenly scatter the streusel over the fruit, pinching together larger clumps here and there as you go.
8. Place on a rack in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, rotating the cake after 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 20 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with or without cinnamon whipped cream.