For the love of rhubarb

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Love – a word that gets bandied around here quite a bit. Some would suggest overuse can lessen its potency, but I have yet to find a suitable replacement. “I really, really, really, really like this thing,” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Besides, there is such a lot to love.

Take rhubarb, for instance. I’ve mentioned my feelings towards this vegetable here, and also here. Why do I love it? I can’t really explain precisely, but there’s something about the texture and brilliant colour, and the tanginess that all combine to sweep my tastebuds off their

So when I saw these Rhubarb Streusel Bars over at Hungry Dog’s blog, I knew I had to make something similar. Because bars, or as we say here in Oz – slices, are something I merely like, not love. Then when I saw this Quince Crumble Cake over at Lemonpi, I knew exactly what I would do - Rhubarb Crumble Pudding. Incidentally, I love reading food blogs (can you tell?).

I had the recipe that the crumble cake was based on : Rose Levy Beranbaum’s apple-cinnamon crumb coffee cake, but I’d never actually made it before. I substituted ground ginger for the cinnamon, almonds instead of walnuts, and rhubarb for the layer of fruit. Like Y, I used yoghurt instead of sour cream. Then I used a loaf pan and underbaked it on purpose to get the pudding texture. It was exactly how I imagined it would taste: warm, spicy, sweet, smooth, tangy, and crunchy. Awesome. (sorry, no photos, I served it at night when friends came over for dinner).

But the rhubarb obsession didn’t stop there. See, I didn’t make the ginger icing from Hungry Dog’s bar recipe earlier, and the thought kept nagging at me. My brain WANTED icing. This time, I halved the crumble cake recipe, and instead of nuts, I used toasted rolled oats that had been whizzed in the food processor. (I wanted to put a cupcake in Mini Critic Senior’s lunchbox, and her school has a strict No-Nut policy) .

The ginger-rhubarb cupcake was born. And it was really good. We loved it, from the top of its crunchy, oaty, streusel head, through the sweet, gingery icing, into the juicy, fresh rhubarb middle, and all the way right down to its little pillowy cake base.

You can find the cake and icing recipe as mentioned above. I baked the streusel topping on a large, lined tray, stirring every once in a while to make sure it cooked evenly. I also made stewed rhubarb, and dolloped the cooled rhubarb into the cake batter. When the cakes were baked and cooled, I covered with the ginger icing and sprinkled the streusel topping over it. Let the icing set.

From front: 1) oat streusel, 2)stewed rhubarb, 3)ground oat, sugar and spice mixture 

What’s not to love?


Jennifurla said...

I am drooling over here!

sarah @ syrupandhoney said...

I am new to rhubarb this year but loving it. Rhubarb ginger cupcake? You're a genius!

dessert girl said...

I agree! Rhubarb is the best! My mom just made some rhubarb and strawberry yummy!! Especially with ice cream!

Esi said...

I haven't cooked with rhubarb yet this season! Must remedy that soon.

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Strangely I have never been a big fan of rhubarb but reading this post and steph's rhubarb jam, I may give it another go :)

shaz said...

Hi Jennifurla - have a cake :)

sarah @ syrupandhoney - don't deserve the genius status, I don't think, but thank you anyway.

dessert girl - oooh, I've never tried rhubarb and strawbery together, I think I'll have to do that next.

Esi - definitely!

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) - do try it again, I actually didn't like rhubarb the first time I tried it too.

3 hungry tummies said...

I have no idea what you are talking about since I can't bake but I do love rhubarb and this cakes are great. Perhaps I should have a go :)

Xiao Yen Recipes said...

Ginger and rhubarb is an excellent mixture. Tartiness combines with spiciness. Love this combo!

grace said...

guess what--i've never eaten rhubarb except partially masked in a strawberry pie and i didn't like it one bit. isn't that sad?!? clearly, the amount of love you have for the stuff counterbalances my lack of adoration. and all is right with the world. :)

Vanille said...

I totally share your love for rhubarb ! A vegetable I discovered much later in life and got addicted to.

Hungry Dog said...

Thanks for the shout-out shaz! And I have to say, these little rhubarb cupcakes look better than any bar of any sort. I love rhubarb. I just do. Stick it in a cupcake and that's about perfect.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Delicious, they look fabulous!
... and yes, of course the brain will want icing... ;)
Have a fabulous fourth!
*kisses* HH

shaz said...

3 hungry tummies - definitely! I want to see you baking :)

Xiao Yen Recipes - I love both in equal measure I think.

grace - that's perfectly ok - more left for me then :)

Vanille - I only discovered rhubarb sometime last year!

Hungry Dog - I'm going to do them again, but with nuts this time, and probably with lots more icing !! I used lemon juice for the icing, worked really well.

Heavenly Housewife - thank you. My brain always wants icing.

Y said...

Seriously, now you have me craving rhubarb. I haven't cooked with it in what feels like months.

shaz said...

Thanks for the inspiration Y! :)