I had a mad craving for some New York style crumb cake last week. I obsessed over the idea for like, five days. Which is weird since that’s about as much time as I’ve ever actually spent in NYC. And whilst there I didn’t even have any crumb cake. Hmmm.
Anyway… so this post is about the crumb cake, but more than that, it’s about this.
Rhubarb. My most beloved vegetable-that-we-eat-like-a-fruit. It grows well here in NWPA so we have several plants in our garden. They come back every year and need very little care (my favorite kind of plant).
Have you ever gone to buy fresh rhubarb in the spring at the grocery store? I don’t know how much it is where you are but around here it costs $6/pound. (!!!) And it’s only available once in a while. I don’t get why everyone doesn’t just grow their own.
Unless you are one of those people who’ve never had it or think you don’t like it. I’ve come across you folk before. I know. It looks like celery. And yes, the leaves are poisonous. But it is a thing of beauty, a true sign of spring and all the fresh fruits and vegetables that will follow in it’s wake. Made into a crisp, a pie, a cobbler, a coffee cake, it is sweet and tart and with a flavor all it’s own. It goes delightfully with strawberries, raspberries, even apples. I love it best on it’s own though. Rhubarb pie is actually my favorite “fruit” pie.
My rhubarb in my garden often doesn’t get red. Contrary to what you may read, there is nothing wrong with green rhubarb. It just looks dreadful when baked into a pie with nothing else to redden it up. Very soon, I’ll be putting up my strawberry rhubarb pie recipe. But anyway, today, as you can see, I had some beautiful red rhubarb to pull out of my garden so I did.
Turn the mixer down to low and add in the dry ingredients slowly. Your batter will look like this when you’re done.
Spread the batter into a greased 8″x8″ pan.
Next, we’re going to chop up 2 cups of rhubarb and add a couple teaspoons of cornstarch, 1/4 cup of sugar (you really don’t need more in this case since we’re going to cover the whole thing in sugary crumbs in a second here), and 1/2 tsp ground ginger. I had no idea until recently how well ginger suits rhubarb! Cinnamon is wonderful too if you’re averse to ginger.
Toss that around until it’s all nice and coated and sprinkle it over the top of the batter.
Finally, let’s make the crumb topping. Melt a stick of butter in a bowl and add 1/3 cup brown sugar (this is dark brown but you can use light if that’s what you have on hand), 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Once this is combined, you can start working in 250 grams of flour (whatever kind you use!).
It makes a fairly solid dough. Now, the fun part. Grab roughly equal size hunks of your ball of dough and put them all over the top of your beautiful rhubarb. You can go as big or small as you like with the crumbs. Your choice!
I left mine kinda big as you can see. This is straight out of the (325 degree) oven about 45 minutes later. The house smells AMAZING.
We totally didn’t wait until it was cool to cut into it. Nom. Sweet and tart and buttery. This cake is soft and fragrant – such a wonderful early summer treat. We ate it for dessert one night and then again for breakfast the next morning. It’s versatile like that 😀
You know it’s going to come to this.
Rhubarb Crumb Cake
For the cake:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 extra large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
140 grams AP GF Flour Mix (or 1 cup of regular wheat flour)
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
For the rhubarb filling:
2 cups sliced rhubarb
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground ginger
For the crumbs:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
a stick of butter, melted
250 grams AP GF Flour Mix (or 1 3/4 cups regular wheat flour)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8″x8″ glass baking pan.
For the cake – in a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer or a whisk – whatever you’ve got), mix the oil and sugar on medium speed. Add the egg, sour cream, and vanilla.
Turn mixer down to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides to make sure it’s all incorporated. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth.
Combine sliced rhubarb, cornstarch, sugar, and ginger. Toss to coat and spread in an even layer over the batter.
For the crumbs – combine brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and salt with melted butter until homogenous. Mix in flour until you have a fairly solid dough. Tear off roughly equal size nuggets (you can really go as small or big as you like with the crumbs) to cover the rhubarb.
Bake about 45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
Allow to cool before cutting into.