Monday, June 27, 2011

Streusel-Topped Rhubarb Cake with Vanilla Sauce

I am a lover of rhubarb.

There, I've said it.

Instead of applesauce, every spring I'd eat fresh rhubarb sauce that my mom would spoon steaming into bowls and onto plates. She made rhubarb crisp and rhubarb pie and rhubarb this and rhubarb that, and I loved them all. I'd even munch it plain with a puckered mouth.

This, though, even non-rhubarb lovers can enjoy, 'cause the rhubarb is mixed with enough Other that it loses some potency. And can I just say how weird it is to post pictures I took two summers ago?


My mom made this for us when we were living in the off-grid trailer for the summer, so I couldn't immediately make it myself, but if we'd had a wood cookstove at that point, I would have tried. The cake itself is standard-- sweet cake, tart rhubarb, and moist-- but the streusel topping pushes it up a notch, and then the vanilla sauce pushes it right over the edge.

Oh, and the best part of this recipe is its original name-- Special Rhubarb Cake. There's rhubarb in the fridge, and I think I'll make some tonight. Go and do thou likewise. Serve it to someone special today!

Special Rhubarb Cake
adapted by my mother from an unknown (to me) source

-2 tbsp. butter, softened (no substitutes)
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 c. buttermilk (Again, I'm cheap resourceful and always use sham buttermilk. Add 1 tbsp. vinegar to enough milk to equal one cup, let sit for five minutes, and use as you would buttermilk.)
-2 c. chopped fresh or frozen (and thawed) rhubarb.

Streusel Topping
-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
-1/4 c. sugar
-2 tbsp. butter, melted

Vanilla Sauce
-1/2 c. butter, melted (no substitutes)
-3/4 c. sugar
-1/2 c. evaporated milk
-1 tsp. vanilla extract

*When my mom gave us some of this Special cake, she was out of butter and substituted cream cheese for the butter and some of the evaporated milk, with stellar results. I usually do the same.
Mom's version of "vanilla sauce":
-4 oz. cream cheese, softened
-1+ cup confectionery sugar
-1/4-1/3 c. evaporated milk
-1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating just until moistened. Fold in rhubarb. Pour into a greased 9" X 9" pan.

Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

For sauce, melt butter in saucepan. Add sugar and milk. Bring to boil, and cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring until thick. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and drizzle over servings of cake.

For Mom's version of vanilla sauce (a.k.a. Cream Cheese Sauce), beat together cream cheese and confectionery sugar until blended. Beat in evaporated milk and vanilla extract and drizzle over cake.


trawlerman said...


abigail said...

It's four thirty in the morning. I just left you sleeping to come down and make baked goods (for real), and now I can only giggle. I've watched it several times already, and now I'm wondering if, instead of making things for the party, it's possible to watch it repeatedly until you wake up three hours from now.

I warf you, mister.

abigail said...

Of COURSE I don't warf you.

I worf you.

Molly said...

I should try this for my husband whose mother was from PA and made many dishes with rhubarb. It is his favorite and I haven't made a single rhubarb delight. I've only bought rhubarb pies for him, when available, and then they've been blended with strawberries. This will truly put a smile on his face!

Much love!