Vanilla Rhubarb Cake with Strawberries

Starting today, you can catch the Salt and Stone in the Yakima Herald every Friday in their food and entertainment section. Each week is an original recipe with a few words. My goal is the same there as it is here: to share recipes that are accessible, made with local ingredients whenever possible and most importantly brings you and your family and friends to the table together. Happy weekend friends. Buy some rhubarb at the Farmer’s Market this weekend and make one of these yummy treats for the people you love.

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Ever since I was a little girl, my favorite treat has always been cake. I don’t find I need much of a reason to justify cake and I certainly never turn down a slice when it’s offered to me. A friend just had a new baby? Make a cake. A birthday, anniversary, baby shower, brunch or just because you feel like it? All good reasons to make a cake. Let me be clear though, I’m not talking three layers of decadence with a homemade frosting that takes two days to make.

I mean a simple one-bowl cake with the option to mix fresh fruit into the batter. It’s the kind of cake you can dress up for company or enjoy straight from the pan on any old day. Just because you feel like it. A friend gifted me a giant bunch of rhubarb from her garden the other day and it was the perfect excuse to make a cake.

My oldest son, Jackson, who happened to walk past the kitchen as I was getting the mixer out asked ‘can I help?’ I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Just finishing up second grade, the pull of the basketball hoop in the driveway or the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book seems to entice him more than baking with mom most days.

I diced rhubarb while Jackson cracked eggs and ran the mixer. It was a quick project, maybe 15 minutes, but it was the perfect break in our day to chat and catch up, work on something together. This recipe makes a one-layer cake. Similar to a coffee cake with a crumbly texture and a light vanilla flavor that compliments the tangy rhubarb. Stirring raspberries into the batter would have been delicious (and made the cake slightly sweeter) With blueberry season just around the corner, I know I’ll make this cake again. We topped ours with fresh strawberries and a dollop of whip cream. I might have had a little slice for breakfast with my morning coffee.

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Rhubarb Vanilla Cake

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 ½ cups rhubarb, sliced thinly into ¼ inch pieces (about 3 stalks)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar (optional)
  • Sliced strawberries (optional)
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a nine-inch baking pan with butter OR cooking spray. Slice rhubarb into pieces and combine with 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugars and beat for 3 minutes until the butter is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add eggs and vanilla, mixing again until well combined. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the egg and butter mixture until just combined. The batter will be a bit lumpy and that’s ok. Using a spatula, fold the rhubarb (and its juices) into the batter and then transfer to prepared cake pan. Sprinkle with raw sugar and bake until the cake is golden on top and a toothpick stuck in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Top the cake with sliced strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream.

4 thoughts on “Vanilla Rhubarb Cake with Strawberries

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