Childhood memories: delicious rhubarb cake
Long awaited but finally is here : fresh, crunchy and locally grown rhubarb! This is the time of the year that I impatiently and with big excitement look for first seasonal fruits and vegetables which slowly start to pop here and there. Last Saturday I went or actually ran to the local farmer’s market to check what was there and my heart jumped when I saw piles of fresh asparagus and rhubarb. After a belated spring we had to wait until the end of May to start enjoying all the goodies! I grabbed not one but three bunches of rhubarb and quickly went home to start cooking. I made some rhubarb kompot which is a must have at this time of the year and of course I had to make a rhubarb cake! But I decided to make something not as popular as tart or coffee cake…My mind wandered into my childhood and often visits to my aunts house. Self taught baker, she was a master of making the most delicious cakes and one of her specialties was cake called “pleśniak”. I will not translate it because the name is completely opposite to how the cake tastes ;) This super delicious cake is truly associated with my best memories and I make it quite often myself. It can be made with jams or comfiture or any fruits you like but to me it is best with rhubarb. Sweetness combined with the natural tartness of rhubarb makes it full of flavour and it is definitely Mike’s favourite version of a delightful cake.
You will need:
3 cups unbleached spelt flour ( all purpose is good too)
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp natural cocoa powder
1 cup sugar + 0.5 cup for rhubarb + 5 tsp for egg whites
1.5 cup unsalted butter
4 eggs ( yolk and whites separated )
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
5 cups peeled, chopped rhubarb ( about 1.5 cm pieces)
This is how you do it:
Sift flour into a large bowl. Add butter and combine using pastry cutter or fork. Add sugar, baking powder and egg yolks. Using hands combine all ingredients. Create 3 balls ( 1 larger and 2 smaller). Add cocoa to one of the smaller balls and combine well. Wrap each ball in foil or parchment paper and place in the freezer for about 1 hour. Cold dough is much easier to grate.
In the meantime, while waiting for the dough to chill, peal rhubarb, cut into bite size pieces ( about 1.5 cm). Add sugar and combine. If your rhubarb is very sour you might add a bit more sugar.( I personally like when the rhubarb is not very sweet in the cake.) Beat the egg whites with 5 tsp sugar until stiff.
Preheat oven to 180C/360F
Line baking dish with parchment paper. Using grater with large holes grate the bigger ball on the bottom of your baking dish covering it evenly. Spread rhubarb ( do not use the liquid that will separate ). On top of the rhubarb grate small white ball of pastry. On top of it gently spread beaten egg whites. Grate the dark ball of dough on to of the egg whites. Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 55-60 minutes.
Let it cool and enjoy!
with pastry cutter or fork combine well the flour and butter
add sugar, baking powder, vanilla and egg yolks and work with hands until well combined
then form 3 balls: 1 bigger and 2 smaller
add cocoa powder to one of the smaller balls and combine well. Wrap each ball and place in the freezer
if needed peel rhubarb
cut rhubarb and mix with sugar
fill the baking dish with all the layers, bake and enjoy!
…and of course we served the cake with a rhubarb kompot :)