Monday, June 27, 2011

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pudding Cake

We are leaving for Maine in 20 minutes to visit our dear friends from grad school (Yay lobster old friends!), but I need to post this cake because I've made it 3 times in a week. It is the perfect thing to make after you've been trolling around shamelessly for a dinner invitation ("If only we had dinner plans! Alas, alack!") and then your friends says, "Can you come to dinner? Bring dessert." Why yes! Yes we can. It's in and out of the oven in well under an hour. And you can use up whatever gleanings of strawberries and rhubarb are loitering unattractively in your garden, refrigerator, or grocery store--you don't even need as much fruit as you'd expect. Oh, and it's fantastic. Warm and soft, sweet and fruity and tangy and comfortingly cake-like. If you had a grandma who baked cakes, she would bake this cake.

Okay, before I go, I have to say: the blog name suggestions are killing me with their hilariousness and grace. Thank you for being you. "Half as much table salt" made me laugh so hard. But then does it sound, misleadingly, like a low-sodium recipe blog? Because, um, it's not. So I thought, Oh, I could call it Twice as Much Kosher Salt--but then it sounds like a weird Jewy salt blog. Which, um, I guess it kind of is. Weird Jewy Salt Blog! But then again, I was the person holding a newborn who was like, "Is it okay that Ben rhymes with pig pen? Are kids going to tease him?" If you have further thoughts, please keep them coming, and we'll discuss when we're all back in the same place.

The road calls. Tina Fey on the ipod! Amazon is having some kind of promotion where you can get 2 free audio books for testing a special books-on-tape site free for 30 days. Have a wonderful week!

p.s. Cooking with Ben/Birdy at ChopChop will resume next week. . .

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pudding Cake
We've gotten as many as 9 servings out of this, but 6 is better.
Active time: 15 minutes; total time: 40 minutes

Adapted (barely) from Gourmet magazine. This has the spirit of a one bowl cake--even though it's two bowls and a pot. Also, it's not a pudding cake in that eggy way, where there's something custardish lurking at the bottom of the dish--it's more that the cake makes it's own fruity sauce.

1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb stalks
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (mine is salted), melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat the oven to 400°F. Butter an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish.

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

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl.
Whisk together the egg, milk, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl, then whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.

Reserve 1/2 cup or so of the fruit mixture, then pour the remainder to the baking dish, tilting to spread it out, and then glop the batter over it, spreading as evenly as you can without disrupting the fruit too much. Drizzle the reserved fruit mixture over the batter. Bake in the middle of the oven until a wooden pick inserted into center of cake portion comes out clean (I just press the top with my fingertip and take it out when it feels springy), 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes (or up to a few hours) before serving. Serve with, ideally, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

I'm running out the door! I don't have time for photo captions.

But then the photos just seem so plain and boring without them.

And what if you weren't able to figure out on your own that this was rhubarb in a pot?

And that this showed the strawberries added in?






  1. Yum! Have fun in Maine. I wish I had a witty blog name to add...maybe by the time you come back.

  2. Teafortwo11:46 AM

    Have a great time in Maine. I used to live there a long time ago. We went back last year and my friend Julie made me Whoopie Pies and Lobster Rolls for lunch. I love Julie! And there's that fantastic Stonewall Kitchen outlet in York.

    It's funny, I just bought some rhubarb for a dish for tonight's dinner. Isn't the rhubarb season quickly coming to an end? I think it's too hot here to grow it.

  3. We have a saying that you can eat rhubarb in any month without an R in it. :)
    Maybe that just makes sense in Ontario?

  4. Catherine, I made your baba ghanoush (sp?) recipe again, you should repost for newbies, I LOVE it, but I am the only one that eats it although love to take it places and its a big hit- BUT, what to do with the rest of the big jar of tahini, any other fav recipes for this besides hummus-y things which my kids avoid like poison (sigh)?

  5. shari4:29 PM

    just made this cake last night and it was great! easy to make and the family loved it. now i need to try it with blueberries & blackberries: just have to figure out how much I should decrease the sugar? any ideas....

  6. Anonymous10:51 PM

    Kimberly, you can use Tahini to make hot or cold sesame noodles or use the dressing on a green salad with some chicken and mandarin oranges. There are other salad dressings that use tahini also. You can make a dip that is just tahini, water and garlic whipped together. I think there is a recipe in one of the Moosewood books you can google and find it and others. My daughter doesn't digest pnut butter well but she can tolerate tahini in its place.

  7. The cake portion of this came out not very drizzly. Because I opted to use my tart cherries and raspberries from berry picking last weekend, the fruit bit was pretty runny. It smells wonderful and tastes delicious but is no near as pretty as yours!

  8. so... my original dish of this is already gone. I have to make more so that our guest tonight can have some. W-O-W!!

  9. Anonymous7:45 AM

    Another fabulous recipe. Made this for dessert last night and could've eaten the whole thing myself.

  10. In my opinion this is a great recipe, not very difficult, but nice and for sure delicious. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  11. kathy o10:18 PM

    Yay Maine! I live here in the mid-coast. Hope you are enjoying the same great weather we've been having for a few days now!

    This dessert is great! Made it last night and was lucky enough to gather both the rhubarb and the strawberries from the garden. Mmmmmm!!!

  12. I'm a little late on this, but I have to tell you I loved your dill pickle popcorn. I never would have thought of putting vinegar in popcorn, but it was so good!

    Blog name ideas:
    -Life, and How to Cook It
    -Catherine's BBQ: stories about Ben, Birdy, & the Quest for a deilicous life.

  13. made this again with blueberries & blackberries and didn't change the sugar content. was awesome. a little runny, but that was probably b/c we only waited 30 minutes before we dove in!! now I'm on a quest to try it with peaches. yum

  14. Tina G4:35 PM

    I actually made this! (I'd rather scoop kitty litter than bake, so that's why the exclamation point)It was so yummy, thanks Catherine. My mom was impressed : )

  15. This looks so wonderfully good that I'm having a hard time not abandoning my family and going out for the ingredients right this very second. My gruff old farmer grandpa used to make a mouth-wateringly good strawberry-rhubarb pie which made us all want to hop up and hug him, if it wouldn't have embarrassed him into an early grave. Is it wrong to say I now associate you with my grandpa? If you forget about the, you know, age difference, gender difference, and education difference, it's really a compliment, I swear.

  16. P.S. I have no blog names for you. My own blog is named sort of lamely (why am I all Dr. Seuss-y today?), and I always freeze up when it comes to titles of any sort. But you're welcome to call youself Fred, after my grandpa, which really makes no sense at all.

  17. Anonymous2:02 PM

    This is amazing! Made it and ate it already. The kids love it too. We're going to make it again next week as the birthday cake for our two-year-old. "Strawbee cake! Strawbee cake!" she is hollering.

    Shouldn't be an issue to make a double batch, right?

  18. That looks divine! Sadly, strawberry season is over where I live...I may need to bookmark this page for next year.

  19. So even though this post is a year old, I finally just made this cake last night using blueberries (because we had a bunch that were going to start going bad if I didn't do something with them ASAP). I have a child with a dairy allergy, so subbed coconut oil and hazelnut milk for the dairy. The batter was definitely thinner than what you picture, and it poured instead of glooped out of the bowl. I also used some almond extract in the blueberry compote, because YUM.

    After a harrowing baking time where I kept checking the oven since it looked like it was going to overflow the baking dish, it was definitely a winner with all parties involved. The first thing my toddler asked for when he woke up this morning was "barr tate!" (Berry Cake)