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Friday, June 12, 2009

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

This coffee cake was originally call the "Big Crumb" coffee cake. I renamed it the "Big Mess" coffee cake. I swear I used every mixing bowl and measuring cup in my kitchen making this one. I found this recipe late last fall after Rhubarb season had ended. Unlike most good Alaskans I had not put any away in my freezer, I had no space left after I put away the raspberries and cranberries. So, I waited a long time and it was totally worth the wait. This is a really tasty coffee cake that keeps the integrity of the Rhubarb by not drowning it in sugar. I prefer my Rhubarb to taste like Rhubarb, which can be pretty tart. The cake batter actually popped through the crumb layer on top. Next time I will make sure and keep the crumbs more tightly packed together.
Once I finish washing all the dishes from this one, I'll be making another one soon...

Rhubarb Coffee Cake
from Smitten Kitchen
Time: 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling
Butter for greasing pan
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.
2. To make crumbs, in a large bowl, whisk together sugars, spices, salt and butter until smooth. Stir in flour with a spatula. It will look like a solid dough.
3. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.
4. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.
5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.


  1. Hello Arctic Garden! It's Sara from DBL... I have been following your adventures for a while and find it a lovely read and a great inspiration for my own kitchen endeavors! This blog is a wonderful reflection of you and it suits you well!

    I have had this 'Big Crumb' recipe staring at me for a while now, and now I can't wait to try it!

  2. Sara,
    I'm so glad you have been checking in. I'm glad you are enjoying the site. It is funny, you never know who is out there! It is so great to hear from you. We are hoping to make a trip to Kantishna this summer. Fiona stayed with us a few weeks ago. She is at Camp Denali now. It might be fun to go check out the view from Camp Ridge. Seems silly not to go since we are so close.
    Enjoy the coffee cake.

  3. thank you for the recipe! a friend just shared your blog with me and i love all the recipes from a fellow alaskan! this cake is awesome! thank you!

  4. This cake looks absolutely rhubarb is ready for picking and this dish looks perfect.
    Can understand why you felt you used every mixing bowl in the kitchen,lol...
    Once question......cake flour? Does cake flour already have a raising agent in it or not?
    Here in Oz the standard flours are self raising (raising agent added) or plain flour (no raising agent).

    Claire :}

    1. Hi Claire!
      Cake flour I believe is a more finely milled flour, no raising agent. It creates lighter baked goods. You could easily substitute plain flour. I would actually love to try this again with barley flour.


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