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Strawberry-Rhubarb Cake

Jul 2, 2020

I think one of my fondest childhood memories was to walk into our garden and behind the stabbur (storage outhouse) with a cup of sugar where a wild bunch of rhubarbs grew. I would dip a rhubarb stalk into the sugar, and marvel at the tartness of the rhubarb being mellowed out by the granular sugar. While not sounding like a gourmet experience, to my child’s heart it was. It was a sure sign that summer was here and that there were a lot of other things to look forward to – among others bowls of fresh strawberries, which we also grew in our garden.

The rhubarb season in Norway lasts from June to September, and the classic ways to use rhubarb in cooking and baking is to make cakes and other desserts, salads, soup, and juice with these tart stalks. There is even rhubarb wine, which I believe my father attempted in our cellar where he also made wine from redcurrants and blackcurrants.

In the Nordic countries we have preserved up to 300 different varieties, but the most common variety in Norway is called “Victoria”, which is also one of the sweetest.

A classic combination with rhubarb is strawberries, not only because they grow around the same time, but the sweetness of the strawberries perfectly complements the tart rhubarb. You get lifted and bright acidity in both fruits, which is why you definitely want to add some sugar to bring out those sweet flavors.

While in the United States, crumbles and pies are very common, in Norway we love our cakes. So a rhubarb cake, or rababrakake, as we call it in Norwegian, seemed appropriate when I saw stalks of rhubarb at my local farmer market the other day. I’m also a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) at a local farm nearby, and we were allowed to pick pints and pints of strawberries. There’s nothing better than local strawberries, although as I’ve mentioned in many of me previous posts – the best strawberries are found in Norway, no doubt!

This cake is juicy, light, and simple, just like I remember the cakes I ate in Norway growing up. I never liked overly sweet desserts or cakes, so this is one you can easily have two pieces of and not feel like you have gone into a sugar coma. Through making a little crunch by caramelizing almonds and spreading it on top of the cake (another Norwegian classic ingredient to baked goods), it adds a welcome texture as well as some extra sweet and savory flavors. If you don’t want to bother with this step, you will still enjoy this deliciously moist and fluffy cake.

Start by adding sugar to your cut up rhubarbs, this will help release the sweetness out of the rhubarb and power down the tartness. By coating the strawberries with a little cornstarch, you avoid a ton of juice being released and thus weighing down the cake and making it soggy.

As for non-dairy products like yogurt and milk, I prefer using organic soy, but you can sub almond, cashew, or oat, just avoid watery non-dairy milks like rice milk.

I have used a 9-inch (23 cm) cake pan for this recipe, but as always you can adjust the size pans, or even make muffins or cupcakes with the batter – you’ll just have to adjust the baking time accordingly.

I hope you will enjoy this cake as much as I did and if you make it make sure to tag me on social media so I can check it out! Happy baking 🙂

STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB CAKE

3 cups (about 4 large stalks) rhubarb, chopped into ½ inch (1cm) pieces
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tsp cornstarch
1 stick (½ cup or 113 grams) vegan butter, room temp
1 cup (2.5 dl) sugar
½ cup non-dairy yogurt
½ cup non-dairy milk
2 tbsp lemon juice or 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ¼ cup (280 grams) all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

For the almond topping:
5 tbsp vegan butter
5 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup (100 grams) sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 360° Fahrenheit (180° Celsius). Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) cake pan and line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, add the chopped rhubarb and stir in the granulated sugar, set aside.

In a separate bowl, carefully toss the strawberries with the cornstarch and set aside.

Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and whip until light and creamy. Add in the non-dairy yogurt, milk, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. Lastly add in the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder and whisk just until combined (be careful not to overmix the batter).

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and pour the reserved rhubarb and strawberries over and lightly press the fruit into the batter.

Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

About 5-10 minutes before the cake is done baking, prepare the almond topping.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and sugar over medium heat then add in the almonds. Be careful not to leave the pan as it can be easy to burn, so you just want the medium brown, aromatic caramelization with the almonds slightly starting to darken, and then remove.

Open the oven, pull out the cake and pour the almond mixture evenly on top, then out the cake back into the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for at least 15 minutes, before carefully lifting it out of the pan and cooling completely before slicing into it. You can serve with a dollop of coconut whipped cream or ice cream to make it even more decadent!

STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB CAKE

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups about 4 large stalks rhubarb, chopped into ½ inch (1cm) pieces
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup strawberries hulled and quartered
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 stick ½ cup or 113 grams vegan butter, room temp
  • 1 cup 2.5 dl sugar
  • ½ cup non-dairy yogurt
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cup 280 grams all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder

For the almond topping:

  • 5 tbsp vegan butter
  • 5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup 100 grams sliced almonds

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 360° Fahrenheit (180° Celsius). Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) cake pan and line with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, add the chopped rhubarb and stir in the granulated sugar, set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, carefully toss the strawberries with the cornstarch and set aside.
  • Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and whip until light and creamy. Add in the non-dairy yogurt, milk, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. Lastly add in the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder and whisk just until combined (be careful not to overmix the batter).
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and pour the reserved rhubarb and strawberries over and lightly press the fruit into the batter.
  • Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • About 5-10 minutes before the cake is done baking, prepare the almond topping.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and sugar over medium heat then add in the almonds. Be careful not to leave the pan as it can be easy to burn, so you just want the medium brown, aromatic caramelization with the almonds slightly starting to darken, and then remove.
  • Open the oven, pull out the cake and pour the almond mixture evenly on top, then out the cake back into the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for at least 15 minutes, before carefully lifting it out of the pan and cooling completely before slicing into it. You can serve with a dollop of coconut whipped cream or ice cream to make it even more decadent!

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