25 June 2016

Hurry, hurry

This is my favorite cake of the season. There, I said it. With its colors and flavor profile, a rhubarb-almond cake would be ideal on a Spring table (it stems from a Bon Appetit Easter feature from about a year ago) but who actually gets rhubarb for March/April? The first time it comes around here is May, and I expect it to last only a few weeks, yet every Saturday, when I went to the farm stand with produce from Mid-South Jersey, it was there well into June.

But hurry, hurry, you'll be lucky to find yourself rhubarb still. I'm pretty sure you can, depending on your region. If not, bookmark it for next season. I've made this one three times, and if I happen to see more, I'll make it again. I've streamlined things a little, making a half batch, which fills either an 8-inch tart pan or a 4 x 14 inch one. 

A bag of almond flour will make your life easier with this one, and saves you a step of grinding almonds, and also nixing vanilla bean for the extracts of vanilla and almond and zest of orange (lemon would be fine too). A shower of almonds was my final change. I love a cake that guides you but opens the door to let you do your own thing.

Rhubarb-Almond Cake
Adapted from Bon Appetit

1 scant stick/ 100 grams unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
6 Tablespoons/ 70 grams sugar, plus more for sprinkling
Zest of 1/2 an orange
6-8 oz rhubarb stalks, trimmed
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp/ 79 grams cups all-purpose flour
6 Tablespoons/  42 grams almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
Flaked almonds, for topping (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a tart pan, 14 x 4 or 8 x 1. Set aside. 

Dice rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces and leave a few stalks as long, thin spears (see above).

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, almond flour, salt, baking powder. Whisk well.

In a mixer, place butter, orange zest and sugar. Beat on medium high 3 minutes, add egg, and extract and beat 2-3 minutes more until pale and fluffy. 

Add dry mix and mix on low until just incorporated, then add yogurt and mix to just combine. 

Remove and fold in chopped rhubarb.

Scrape batter into pan, top with remaining rhubarb and sprinkle with flaked almonds and a pinch sugar.

Bake 50-70 minutes, until a tester comes out clean, and the top is lightly golden and bounces back to a finger pressed. Cool completely. 

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