Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong era. I love oldy-old things. House dresses, sending letters by mail (Delivered by a mail man! Gasp!), calling people on the phone, old fashioned sayings and most importantly recipes. That is to say, I’m totally fine with the salted caramel, red velvet and gourmet donut trends, but some recipes are tried and true classics for a reason. Jell-o salad is not one of them.
Take snacking cake, I was unaware this recipe was a revival of an old staple. I made it thinking the idea of a cake meets cookie base, jammy fruit and a crumbly topping sounded like the perfect solution to my dessert-making indecisiveness. Here I was thinking I stumbled on a new gem, sigh. When I made it the reactions I got were…surprising? People ate it, enjoyed it and commented. But not on my ingenuity for finding such a perfectly balanced recipe, it was more along the lines of finding the recipe at all.
“Oh, I haven’t had this in years! I remember my mother used to make it! How wonderful!”
Yes, it’s origin is circa ‘wonderful’ being a word people used unironically.
Not that I was dissapionted in this, it merely solidified that I was indeed an ‘old soul’ and didn’t belong in this century. But at the same time, I don’t think it matters when you were born or what was #trending (see what I did there?) when you were growing up. Some things just work. When butter, flour, fruit, sugar and spices meet, you know something good is going to happen. Whether you describe it as #foodporn or ‘wonderful’, as long as it’s enjoyed by all that’s alright with me.
Rhubarb Snacking Cake
From Smitten Kitchen
Makes 12-16 Squares
- 2 1/2-3 cups rhubarb (I’m notoriously greedy with my fruit)
- 1 1/3 cup (265 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (psst, skip ahead and zest it for the cake before you cut it)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/3 cups (165 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) sour cream or greek yogurt
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces, or 55 grams) unsalted butter, melted, browned if desired
- Make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter or a nonstick cooking spray.
- If you want, you can then line the bottom with parchment paper, extending the lengths up two sides. (It will look like a sling).
- Stir together rhubarb, lemon juice and 2/3 cup sugar and set aside.
- Beat butter, remaining sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at at time, scraping down the sides after each addition.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon table salt and ground ginger together in a small bowl. Add one-third of this mixture to the batter, mixing until just combined.
- Continue, adding half the sour cream or yogurt, the second third of the flour mixture, the remaining sour cream or yogurt and then the remaining flour mixture, mixing between each addition until just combined.
- Dollop batter over prepared pan, then use a spatula — offset, if you have one, makes this easiest — to spread the cake into an even, thin layer. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the cake, spreading it into an even layer (most pieces should fit in a tight, single layer).
- Stir together the crumb mixture, first whisking the flour, brown sugar, table salt and cinnamon together, then stirring in the melted butter with a spoon or fork.
- Scatter evenly over rhubarb layer. Bake cake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes.
- The cake is done when a tester comes out free of the wet cake batter below. It will be golden on top. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.