Somehow I managed to move to Boston just in time for the worst winter in the history of ever (or at least that’s how it felt). The endless piles of snow along with the general scariness of a new city and moving even farther away from home have made me a reluctant Bostonian, but spring has arrived and the return of the sun may change my mind.
The last few weekends have been an unbroken string of absolutely gorgeous days—sunshine, blue skies, warm but not sweltering, the works. I can’t handle staying inside, so there have been a lot of bike rides and reading in the park and dinner on the balcony and whatever else I can do to get myself out.
One of these excursions landed me at the farmers market, where I had good intentions of stocking up on green things but got distracted and instead bought chocolate and pork. I did leave with one vegetable—this rhubarb, which I promptly turned into cake. Oops.
It’s hard to regret the decision, though, with a slice of this nearby. The lightly spiced cake with a swirl of tart rhubarb and plenty of cinnamon crumbs makes a perfect Sunday morning breakfast on the balcony with a cup of tea and a book.
(Except that as soon as I started gushing about the gorgeous sunshine, the apparently vindictive weather turned to pouring rain and flash flood warnings. Luckily coffee cake makes an equally nice breakfast inside while watching the storm.)
- RHUBARB SWIRL
- 2 c. rhubarb, chopped (about 1 pound)
- ⅓ c. sugar
- COFFEE CAKE
- 1 ¼ c. whole wheat flour
- ½ c. sugar
- 1 t. baking soda
- ½ t. baking powder
- ½ t. salt
- ¼ t. nutmeg
- 6 T. butter, melted
- ¾ c. buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 t. vanilla
- CRUMB TOPPING
- ¼ c. whole wheat flour
- ¼ c. sugar
- ¼ c. brown sugar
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 2 T. butter, room temperature, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the rhubarb and sugar and cook over medium heat until it boils. Turn down to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The rhubarb should mostly break down into a jam-like consistency and measure just over 1 cup. Set aside to cool.
- While the rhubarb cooks, stir together the dry ingredients for the cake in a large bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl and stir wets into dries until just combined.
- Mix the dry ingredients for the topping in a small bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture holds its shape when pinched.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Top with the rhubarb jam, and swirl gently with a knife. Drop the crumb topping evenly over the top of the cake.
- Bake the cake for 55-60 minutes, until edges are deep brown and a toothpick in the center brings up only cinnamon crumbs.