Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The other week, I went on and on about rhubarb – I couldn’t get it out of my brain. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, but everything I made wasn’t it. Then I got busy with field trips and holiday travel and projects I’m trying to finish up before the boys get out of school, and forgot about it.
This time of year, I wake up pretty early; I get up when I can no longer ignore the daylight and the incessant chirping outside. I don't set an alarm. This morning I awoke with a start at the sound of the front door closing. Alexi was on his way to work. I hadn’t seen him, and I was running late before the day even started. The morning after the long weekend. All of us had a bed head at the breakfast table. On the walk from our parking spot into school, we noticed how much the flowers on the block have grown in the six days since we’ve been in the neighborhood.
Today was a busy one, after being out of town for three days. I went grocery shopping, did three loads of laundry, swept the driveway and vacuumed the house. Paid bills, tackled a mountain of email, and a few other things I know I must be forgetting. I noticed two stalks of rhubarb languishing at the back of the fridge as I made myself lunch, bought weeks ago, I guess – I don’t remember buying them – looking as fresh as ever. Rhubarb is amazing in that way. Tuesdays the boys have chess club after school, so I pick them up an hour and a half later than other days. I decided I had time to bake a cake.
I hit the jackpot with this recipe. It gets the balance right between tart and sweet. And the lemon – oh, the lemon!
Lemon Buttermilk Rhubarb Bundt Cake
slightly adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon oil (extract will work)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and very thinly sliced (3 cups prepped)
2 cups confectioners sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon softened butter
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 10-cup capacity bundt pan.
Sift the 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, then stir in the lemon extract and the lemon juice. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the buttermilk in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Toss the rhubarb with the 2 tablespoons of flour. Fold into the batter.
Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pan and cook for an additional 30 minutes, or until the center springs back when lightly touched. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes before inverting.
To make the lemon glaze, whisk the confectioners sugar, lemon juice and butter together until completely smooth. Spoon the glaze over the cake as soon as you remove it from the pan.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings