If the name of this blog didn’t give you a clue, I’m kinda into rhubarb. I love it in pies. I love it on pancakes. I even think it has a place in chutneys, BBQ sauces and other hipsterific concoctions. To me, rhubarb is an extremely versatile plant that should be as common a pint of strawberries. But since this isn’t the case, you may or may not be well acquainted with rhubarb’s charms and possibilities. These cute Meyer Lemon Rhubarb Cakes are, in my humble opinion, a great way to get a little cozier with my good friend rhubarb.
This recipe started out innocently enough. I was planning on doing the same thing I always do when I have a mess of rhubarb on my hands: cook it down. My grandmother did this every rhubarb season. She would throw some chopped up rhubarb in a pot with a healthy (not so healthy) amount of sugar and let it simmer until the rhubarb fell apart. The resulting violently pink goo was amazing on pretty much any breakfast food you can think of, and it froze so beautifully that we could enjoy the taste rhubarb when the plant itself was in full hibernation.
I usually follow in my grandmother’s footsteps – the woman knew her rhubarb – but this time I had Meyer lemons. Meyer lemons! They are the most elusive variety of citrus as far as I’m concerned, so when I find them I need make ’em count. Naturally, I gravitated towards cake. Cake is always a good idea, and it’s an even better idea with Meyer lemons. The vision of Meyer lemon pound cakes swirled with my usual rhubarb compote came to me rather quickly – the soft pink rhubarb glaze joined the party shortly thereafter.
Since I’m all about encouraging wacky kitchen freestylin’, please feel free to swap out the rhubarb for any fruit you wish, but please know it will break my heart a little. If Meyer lemons allude you, as they are want to do, swap them for regular lemons or limes. Heck! I think tangerines would work very well here as well. And one last thing, try not to disturb the cakes after you glaze them. Leave them for what I’m sure will feel like an unfathomable length of time until the glaze feels smooth to the touch and only slightly sticky. I know this will be a harrowing experience for you, but a perfectly set glaze is well worth the wait.
- 2 cups fresh rhubarb stalks, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (2-3 lemons) Meyer lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 teaspoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Zest of 2 Meyer lemons
- 1 1/2 cups cake & pastry flour, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1/8 cup water
- 3 teaspoons rhubarb ginger syrup**
- 3 teaspoons(1/2 a lemon) Meyer lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Pinch of salt
- ** The rhubarb ginger syrup is the liquid drained off of the rhubarb compote.
- Place all of the compote ingredients in a small saucepan - stir to combine. Heat mixture over medium high heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Retain the resulting liquid and set the compote aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 325?F.
- Place butter in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat butter at a medium-high speed until smooth.
- Without stopping the mixer, add the sugar to the butter in 1 tablespoon increments until the resulting mixture is white and fluffy - about 4-5 minutes.
- Whisk eggs, egg yolks, water, vanilla and zest together in a medium-sized bowl. Reduce the mixer’s speed to medium and add the egg mixture to the butter mixture in one continuous stream. Scrap down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula every now and then.
- Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and fold the cake flour into the batter in 1/2 cup increments until combined. Divide batter amongst four greased 300ml loaf pans. Tap the pans on the counter to force the batter to evenly distribute itself.
- Add 3 teaspoons of rhubarb compote to each pan and swirl it into the cake batter using a toothpick.
- Bake cakes for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Place cakes on a wire rack and let cool completely.
- Combine all glaze ingredients in a medium-sized non-reactive bowl. Whisk until smooth.
- Pour glaze over cooled cakes and let dry.