Rhubarb is one of those plants that seems to jump for joy with abundance: when you have rhubarb, you have a lot of it (I’m thinking here of zucchini, too, and the old joke about the only time you have to lock your car in town is August, because if you don’t, someone will put a zucchini in it.)
But I digress! Rhubarb is a fair source of potassium, contributes minor amounts of vitamins, and is low in sodium. The crisp, sour stalks are loaded with vitamin C and dietary fiber. And here’s a delicious recipe for a moist, rich cake that you can serve one of two ways:
For the cake
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh rhubarb, diced
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly butter a baking pan and dust with flour. In a medium-size bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, beat well. In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla. Into a third bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well. Beat in half the buttermilk/vanilla. Add another 1/3 of the flour, then the rest of the buttermilk/vanilla, ending with the remaining flour. Stir in the rhubarb. Spread in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
If you like, cut warm cake into wedges and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then drizzle with a simple vanilla sauce:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter
In a 1-quart saucepan, combine all sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil; simmer for about ten minutes.
Or, let cake cool, then cut it in half (it’s a very forgiving cake) to make a layer cake. Spread strawberry jam, then whipped cream, for the filling. Reassemble cake and frost with more whipped cream, then top with a light dusting of sugar, or flaked coconut. (This was how I made it for the boys’ birthday–it’s a very pretty, festive cake).