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Rhubarb Cake (Rhabarber Kuchen)

Beignets, Butter, and Bourbon
 




Hey y’all! This rhubarb cake recipe is a super special recipe that my friend Sophie (you can find her knitting page here) very kindly decided to share with us on here. I think the beauty of this cake is that it isn’t super sweet, but it’s full of beautifully balanced flavor. It’s a can’t miss recipe, and it has a beautiful story behind it. Keep reading to hear from Sophie and why this cake means so much to her. —With love and butter, Kristi


Sophie’s Cake Story

            When I was growing up, I spent my summers in Germany with my grandparents. I have fond memories of those summers, of biking to the next town over with my cousins to go to the swimming pool, of watching ships along the Danube and foraging for blueberries in the Bavarian forest. One of my favorite activities, though, was cooking with my Oma. I loved making Pfannkuchen, German crêpes, or as she called the ones I made, Lochkuchen (literally, hole-cakes, because I had trouble spreading the batter around the pan and mine always ended up with holes).

            Oma always cooked from memory, making recipes she had memorized and perfected over years. Every once in a while, though, she would consult a battered notebook she kept in a kitchen drawer; that notebook contained family recipes her own grandmother had written out by hand and given to her as an engagement gift in 1947. At some point, the handwriting on the pages changes, from my great-great-grandmother’s to my grandmother’s, from fountain to ballpoint pen—those are the recipes Oma wrote herself.

            This is one of those Oma recipes. It’s the first thing I make when rhubarb season rolls around, and I always try to get enough rhubarb so I can make this cake at least twice because it’s just that good. It’s definitely a German cake—it’s not overly sweet, more like a pound cake, and it doesn’t really have what we think of as “icing.” But that’s exactly what makes it so amazing, because you can really taste the tartness of the rhubarb.

Cream on Top

            I always top my slice with homemade whipped cream; I find that the creamy element brings everything together and lets all the flavors really sing. When I say homemade whipped cream, though, it sounds so much fancier than what it actually is. Which is just to say, it is heavy cream that I’ve put in a bowl and used a hand mixer on. I like my whipped cream plain, but when my husband makes it, he adds sugar and vanilla to taste (PSA, that’s how easy it is to make whipped cream, even my culinarily challenged husband can make it!). Store-bought whipped cream works just fine too!

            And now, my Oma’s Rhabarber-Kuchen, my edible love letter to her and to summer. I hope making and eating it brings your family as many happy memories as it has brought mine. 


Rhabarber-Kuchen

(Mittlere Springform)

  • 230g Mehl
  • 100g Fett
  • 100g Zucker
  • 2 Eigelb und 1 ganzes Ei
  • 1 Messerspitze Backpulver
  • Geschnittener Rhabarber

Belag

  • 3 Eischnee
  • Zucker nach Belieben
  • 1 Eigelb
  • Zitronensaft
  • Bisschen Rahm (1 Löffel)
  • 1 Kaffeelöffel Maijena

 

Der Belag wird über den Rhabarber gegossen, wenn der Kuchen am Braumwerden ist.

 

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  • Serves: 8" cake

Steeped in German tradition, this cake is full of flavor without being overly sweet. Fill it with as much rhubarb as you'd like, and it'll still be amazing.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 230 grams AP flour
  • 100 grams Crisco, or butter
  • 100 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups diced rhubarb

Belag (Baked Topping

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 4 tbsp lemon
  • 1 tsp heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp corn starch

Instructions

Cake

  • 1)

    Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8″ springform pan

  • 2)

    Combine ingredients (minus rhubarb) in a large bowl, mixing with a hand mixer until the consistency of sticky cookie dough.

  • 3)

    Fold in diced rhubarb.

  • 4)

    Spread batter into round pan, making sure to smooth out the shape.  The mixture will not rise or spread. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Belag (Baked Topping)

  • 1)

    Combine ingredients. Pour oven cake as you pull it out of the oven.

     

  • 2)

    Place cake with Belag back into oven and back an addition 10-20 minutes. The topping should be soft but not liquid. It will hold a fingerprint but not a dent when pressed.

  • 3)

    Let cool, then garnish with whipped cream and enjoy!

Notes

  • Because of the Belag, this is not a cake that can be removed and plated before serving if you use a traditional round cake pan. If you want to have it on a cake stand but don’t have a springform pan, remove the cake from the round pan after the initial bake and place it on a lined baking sheet before pouring the Belag on and baking. While this method works, the Belag will be in a much thinner layer than if you were to bake in the pan.
  • The fat makes this cake mix pretty dense and a little hard to mix, but I’ve always been able to do it with a hand mixer. It should have a consistency more like a sticky dough than an American cake batter.
  • When you put it in the pan, spread it around with a spatula so that it has the shape you want—it won’t melt or reform at all.

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