Rhubarb Cake with Almond Crumble / by Chelsea Zwieg

I, like many cooking obsessed people (aka "foodies", aka I-have-never-and-will-never-use-that-gross-word) have a serious addiction issue when it comes to cookbooks. Coupled with a serious food magazine hoarding issue, I should probably be put on some sort of reality show. I mean, TLC has a show with people addicted to eating nail polish, don't tell me the next show won't be Bon Appetit hoarders. But the real issue isn't in me wanting every cookbook I see, roaming the aisles of Barnes and Noble with a slightly crazed look in my eyes and going into a near fit of joy when the Williams Sonoma outlet has Ottolenghi on sale (yes. yes that did happen.) The actual problem part is that I have cooked a recipe word for word out of these book maybe twice in the last five years. 

You see, I like to use them for inspiration. I page through them and get all excited. I dog ear pages, make notes in my phone, on my computer and in my brain for every last recipe I would like to make. But then I'll walk into the kitchen and completely wing it. This probably isn't the best thing since my roster of kitchen disasters would be hard to top. But every now and then, it works out great. And those are the happiest days where I can give myself endless high fives.

This rhubarb cake with almond crumble is one such kitchen high-five. I probably have 10 different rhubarb cake recipes in cookbooks on my shelf, but in true Chelsea fashion I took a butter measurements from one recipe, sugar from another, flour from another and on and on to the point where I honestly cannot even tell you where this recipe originated. But I knew I wanted a good base, everyday cake made moist with greek yogurt and golden with brown sugar that would be the perfect backdrop not just for this rhubarb but for all of the summer fruits that are about to come rolling in (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, they all want to be mixed in this batter). I also wanted to top it with a sweet and crunchy crumble because rhubarb usually needs a little extra sweet and when that extra sweet can come in the form of crumbly, sugary, butter coated almonds, it doesn't get any better. 

This cake is perfect to take along to a Memorial Day barbecue, or any party on into the summer. It would be great with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream but it is subtle enough that it could also be eaten for breakfast the next morning. Like I mentioned, this cake is a great canvas for any summer fruit or a mix of a few different kinds. As you can see, my cake batter got a little rambunctious in the oven and rose above the crumble portion in a couple of places. This is hardly the end of the world (a middle layer of crumble is just as good as a top) but if you wanted to to avoid a potential butt-resembling batter bubble (sorry), I would recommend pressing down the layer of crumble pretty firmly. 

Have a wonderful Memorial Weekend full of watermelon, sweet corn, sunshine (please!) and cake! 

Rhubarb Cake with Almond Crumble

Makes 1 8" cake

Ingredients 

Cake:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 lb. rhubarb (about 5 stalks), chopped. Leave 2 stalks in longer pieces for top of cake.

Almond Crumble: 

Note: I was a little busy jamming to the Pitch Perfect 2 soundtrack when I made this and forgot to add both cinnamon and salt to my crumble. I can only imagine that it would improve the taste so I am including it, but if cinnamon is not your thing feel free to leave it out. My crumble was still delicious. 

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped (I bought honey roasted almonds and they were phenomenal but unsalted, roasted almonds will work fine too) 
  • 6 tbsp. butter, very cold and cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt

| Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour an 8" cake pan and set aside. 
  • In a small bowl, mix together the crumble. Combine brown sugar, flour, almonds, cinnamon and salt. Add butter cubes and combine using a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, with only a few larger chunks of butter remaining. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl combine dry cake ingredients. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add greek yogurt and vanilla a beat until smooth. 
  • Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in two parts, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Beat until just combined.  Stir in 1 heaping cup of chopped rhubarb. Save remaining pieces for the top.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Top with crumble and press down firmly into place. Top with remaining rhubarb pieces and extra almonds (if desired). Bake 40-45 minutes, until cake is golden and tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.