Monday, June 10, 2013

rhubarb strawberry pudding cake.

There are cakes. The over the top three-tiered affairs covered in buttercream and sugared flowers that are served on china plates at fancy events. Then there are cakes. The homey, simple, grandma style cakes that are made with seasonal fruits and baked in glass dishes and served with barely sweetened whipped cream (if anything at all). While a fan of both, I simply adore the second variety.   There is a level of nostalgia associated with them.   Because of their simple nature, they are the kind of thing you can validate eating at the end of each meal.  They can be whipped up quickly and they always adapt to whatever seasonal fruit is on hand.  This pudding cake is my go to seasonal cake. It's rustic and comforting. The kind of thing you can eat curled up on the couch but also just as good in the company of friends at a dinner party. The cake itself is as simple as can be - a soft subtly sweet batter cake that is reminiscent of vanilla pudding.  As the cake bakes the fruit breaks down and forms jammy pockets of deliciousness that envelopes the pockets of pudding like cake.  The jammy pockets are what make this pretty perfect and a personal favorite .  

Rhubarb Strawberry Pudding Cake
Recipe from Gourmet

This cake is pretty perfect; I am already planning on making it with blueberries and raspberries as the summer progresses.  If using other berries you can omit the cooking part that is necessary here since you are using rhubarb.  Instead, let the fruit macerate while you prepare the cake (using a squeeze of lemon juice, the sugar, and the cornstarch).  If using blueberries I think almond extract would be wonderful.  I omitted the vanilla extract when I made this since I don’t like vanilla and rhubarb but it’s up to you and your flavor preference! 

1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb stalks (10 ounces)
1 1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries (5 ounces)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk or buttermilk
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Butter an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish.

Stir together water, cornstarch, and 1/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan, then stir in rhubarb. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, then simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in strawberries.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl.

Whisk together egg, milk, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.
Reserve 1/2 cup fruit mixture, then add remainder to baking dish and pour batter over it, spreading evenly. Drizzle reserved 1/2 cup fruit mixture over batter. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center of cake portion comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes before serving.

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