I feel like I’ve been living under a rock for a few months. Pregnancy doesn’t seem to be terribly conducive to productivity, and it certainly isn’t conducive to food blogging. I just feel so tired all the time. I’ve had zero energy and cooking has lost some of it’s appeal. Honestly, for awhile there, I didn’t want to eat anything except for cereal, grapes, and toast. Such is life during the first trimester.
But, I’m finally starting to feel like my old self again. Real food (meaning: something other than grapes and toast) actually sounds good. I’ve started cooking again. It feels good to be back.
In my opinion, a good piece of coffee cake is one of life’s simple pleasures. Coffee cake isn’t particularly pretty or inventive, but it’s just so good. I’ve made this recipe a number of times, and it never fails. The cake is so moist and flavorful, layered with chunks of tangy rhubarb on the bottom and giant spiced buttery crumbs on top.
If there was anything that was going to lure me back into the kitchen, it was this recipe. It’s just that good.
RHUBARB COFFEE CAKE
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
For the cake:
1/2 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/4″ chunks
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)
1 large egg, plus one large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter (room temperature), cut into 8 pieces.
For the crumb topping:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, melted
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 baking pan.
2. In a small bowl, toss chopped rhubarb with 1/4 cup of sugar, corn starch, lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Set aside.
3. To make the crumb topping, whisk together the sugars, spices, salt, and melted butter in a large bowl. Mix until smooth. Next, stir in the flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. (The mixture will resemble a solid dough.) Press the dough firmly in the bottom of the bowl, and set aside.
4. To make the cake filling, stir together the yogurt (or sour cream), egg, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter pieces and a spoonful of yogurt into the mixture, and mix on medium speed until moistened. Increase the speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the yogurt in two batches, beating for 30 seconds after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
5. Scrape most of the batter into the prepared pan (reserving about 1/2 a cup). Spoon the rhubarb over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter over the rhubarb. (Don’t worry if it doesn’t evenly cover the rhubarb, it can just be scattered dollops of batter!)
6. Using your fingers, break the topping mixture into big crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the cake. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool before serving.