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Friday, June 8, 2012

Rhubarb Buckle


When Paul and I went out to lunch following the closing on our new home, one of the first things we discussed was where we wanted to plant rhubarb.  After spending part of this week getting rid of the fire pit that the previous homeowners had installed in the backyard, we are ready to plant a little garden which will include several rhubarb plants.  Paul and I adore rhubarb.  We both grew up with rhubarb plants in our backyards and always looked forward to springtime when those ruby red stalks would be harvested for pies, cobblers, and jams.  We want our kids to enjoy rhubarb as much as we did.

However, we have to wait about five years until we can harvest our little rhubarb plant.  In the meantime, I hope the gazillion rabbits we have prancing around the area do not gang up on our fledgling plant.  Maybe we should put Matthew to work and have him stand guard over it with his BB gun.


While rhubarb is commonly paired with a sweeter fruit, like strawberries, to offset its tart nature, Paul and I actually prefer desserts in which the rhubarb flavor is allowed to shine.  While perusing the most recent issue of Martha Stewart Living while waiting to see my dermatologist (gotta get those moles checked once a year, ya know!), I saw a recipe for rhubarb buckle that looked absolutely incredible.  I have made my fair share of blueberry buckles in the past, but had never thought to ever use rhubarb.  What a brilliant idea!  Annoying as she is, Martha Stewart does have some pretty fabulous ideas.

Normally, I try to reserve desserts for Sundays, birthdays, feast days and anniversaries.  However, I really wanted to make this cake TODAY.  I looked at my liturgical calendar and saw that today is the feast day of Saint William of York.  I have never heard of him before, but we are going to celebrate his sainthood with some rhubarb buckle!


A fluffy lemon-kissed cake topped with macerated pieces of rhubarb and sprinkled with a crumb topping that bakes up into a perfect hand-held dessert, perfect for an early summer picnic.  The cake was a breeze to put together.  Seriously, the most trying part was zesting the lemon (I always manage to get lemon juice in my eye!).  The aroma that filled our home was so intoxicating, we had a hard time waiting for it to cool before sampling a slice.  It was worth the wait.


If you have any spare rhubarb, take a break from the pies and crisps and make a buckle instead!


Rhubarb Buckle
barely adapted from Martha Stewart Living (May 2012)

For the Cake:
1 pound plus 10 ounces rhubarb, trimmed and cut 1/2 inch thick on the bias
2 cups sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
Zest of one lemon
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

For the Crumb Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center position. Coat two 9-inch square cake pans with cooking spray, and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on 2 sides. Stir together rhubarb and 1 cup sugar; set aside to macerate.

Whisk together flour, bak ing powder, and salt. Beat together butter, remaining cup sugar, and the lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Make the crumb topping: Stir together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add melted butter; stir to combine.

Divide batter between pans. Top with rhubarb mixture, and sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake until golden on top and cooked through, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Let cool completely in pans on wire racks, then lift cakes from pans using parchment. Remove parchment. Before serving, cut buckle into 2-inch squares.


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