Rhubarb Coffee Cake


Boston, Berlin, and New Haven, here we come!  Tomorrow morning we leave for ten days of ten-year (gulp) college reunions and exploring a new city in Europe.   I can't wait.  I also still have a list of chores I wanted to finish and letters I should write... and I had grand plans to have a few blog posts ready for while I am away.  Oh, and it is 1:38 a.m.  Sigh.  At least I am (over)packed!


Instead, I leave with you a very simple and addictive Rhubarb Coffee Cake.  Last month, I visited my college roommate in Chicago.  We made Ali's Rhubarb Buckle and discussed how we both love the abundance of rhubarb in spring.  Shortly after my visit, K sent me this recipe for Rhubarb Coffee Cake.  Fortuitously, a friend of my mom's generously gave me several pounds of ripe, red rhubarb from her garden around the same time.  Thank you, Stephanie!


Sometimes I want to make something that comes together in one or two bowls with little muss or fuss.  I want the stand mixer to do the work and I want to enjoy my time reading with a cup of coffee (or wine) rather than frantically flitting about the kitchen.  This is a lazy day recipe.  Another observation - is there a smell more enticing than than that of butter and sugar whipped together?  Nevermind the smell, how about the taste?  Trust me, you'll want to lick the beaters once this cake is in the oven.


I was surprised both times by how brown this cake was without being burned.  I'd advise covering it with aluminum foil halfway through baking it to prevent the top from over-browning.  The end result will be a moist, sweet, rhubarby treat that is equally good for an afternoon snack or breakfast (or dessert... or an airplane snack as I'll have it tomorrow).  


Oh, and a confession.  I only just learned this year that coffee cake doesn't have coffee in it.  Who knew?  

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Yield = 20 squares (one 9x9 pan cut as you please)

Recipe passed along to me by K, who got it from her wonderful grandmother, Bambi (who was responsible for sending us the most delicious treats all through college... all of us looked forward to Bambi's care packages) 


1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 egg

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt 

2 heaping cups of rhubarb chunks (sliced approximately 1/2 inch thick on the bias)

For the topping - 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the sugar and butter either using a hand mixer or a stand mixer.  Add the egg and then the vanilla.  In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the dry ingredients.  Alternate adding the buttermilk and the dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter, sugar, etc.  Gently fold in the rhubarb.

Place the batter in a greased 9x9 inch baking dish.  Sprinkle with topping.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the center is set.  I'd advise covering the cake after 20 minutes of baking if it is getting dark.

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