Posts Tagged baked goods

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

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.

Welcoming Fall (with The Best Zucchini Bread Ever)

And just like that, autumn has arrived.

I want to fight it! I want to kick and scream and go on strike until the sun comes back out. I want more red tomatoes in the garden (and less rock hard green ones). I desperately want an Indian summer. But, that’s the funny thing about life…you don’t always get what you want.

Despite my protests, the rains have come. The days are getting shorter and darker. Whether I like it or not, the season is changing. And to be honest, I wasn’t having it. I was downright grumpy about the changing of the seasons. I was so fixated on the lack of sunshine that I almost forgot all that I love about fall: chunky sweaters, tights, scarves, all things pumpkin, cappuccinos, soups & stews, apples, pears, and so much more.

So, then, I can’t change the weather. But I can certainly make the best of it. On one particularly drizzly and chilly morning this week, I woke up and decided to do just that. I made my all-time favorite zucchini bread recipe, made a large French press of coffee (all for myself) and snuggled up with a blanket, my cat, and a Harry Potter book.

It was perfect.

It didn’t matter how miserable it was outside, I was happy and cozy and content. If there was ever a day to curl up with a good book (and cat, and coffee, and zucchini bread), this was it.

I won’t lie: I still miss the sun. But I’ll do my best to embrace this season; to curl up with a good book (and baked goods!) as often as I can.

As for the zucchini bread? There’s no point in rewriting the recipe. Heidi (from 101 Cookbooks) nails it. However, I’ll make a couple notes. First off, I don’t like walnuts and so I always make this bread with slivered almonds. Secondly, while Heidi says that the poppy seeds are optional, I disagree. The poppy seeds are totally and completely necessary (and delicious!). I also like to add in a bit of ground ginger and nutmeg and I substitute a cup of white flour for one of the cups of wheat flour. Oh, and lastly – don’t be afraid of the curry powder! I really think the curry powder is the secret of this magical zucchini bread. I promise you, it is the best zucchini bread of all time.