Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday: Variations on a Theme - Rhubarb, Part Deux

Please go to The Fairy Blogmother for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.

I love leafing through cooking magazines. I have to admit, I don't use many of the recipes anymore, but I like using them to improvise. In looking through this month's Gourmet, I found this lovely-looking recipe for
Raspberry Buttermilk Cake.

The only trouble was, there was way too much sugar and white flour for my tastes, and I had a few raspberries, but what I really needed to use was my rhubarb from last week's Tantre Farm share.

So since we all know that invention is a Mother, I decided to play with what was on hand and make my own variant. I had the bonus of having a couple of duck eggs from Our Family Farm that I needed wanted to use up. If you've never baked with duck eggs, you're missing a real treat. Yes, things do bake up higher and happier with the egg of the duck.

A little bit of change here; a little bit of change there, and I ended up with just what my tastebuds (and waistline) preferred: a less sweet, rhubarb-infused, pan cake with a slightly heftier texture. Once again, it got the D seal of approval.

Caveat: We don't like our desserts overly sweet at our house, so if you are a sugarholic, you might want to adjust accordingly.

Raspberry-Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake

Raspberry-Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake


1 cup raspberries
1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
2 TBS cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, minus 2 TBS
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 TBS butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tsp for sprinkling on top
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 extra large egg (or duck egg, if you have one!)
2/3 cup lowfat buttermilk


1. Preheat oven to 400. Place rack in the middle of the oven.
2. Pre-cook rhubarb for 1 minute in the microwave in a microwavable dish.
3. Whisk together dry ingredients. (For the flour mixture, measure the 2 TBS of cornmeal into a 1 cup measure, and then fill the rest of that cup with the whole wheat pastry flour).
4. With an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add egg and beat well.
5. On low speed, add in dry ingredients and buttermilk alternating (3 portions of flour/2 buttermilk). Mix until just combined. Do NOT overwork.
6. Pour into cake pan greased with cooking spray or a little canola oil.
7. Scatter rhubarb and raspberries on top and sprinkle whole thing with 1 tsp sugar.
8. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until set. Cool on rack for 10 minutes, and then turn out of pan and cool further. (Or if you're a chicken like me, just cool it in the pan).

Serves 12


Nutritional Info
Fat: 3.8g
Carbohydrates: 15.5g
Protein: 2.5g

As always, nutrition info supplied by the recipe calculator function at


Luisa Perkins said...

Yummy! I had been eyeing that same recipe myself, and I think I'll be able to harvest some of our own rhubarb this year.

Jen said...

This is a recipe, too, Luisa, where I think a little more texture is good, plus a little less sweetness - unless you really want the light, ethereal kind of cake, that I'm guessing the Gourmet version would be. Well, not too light in texture, but you know what I mean.

Susan @ SGCC said...

Love what you did with this cake! Using rhubarb was inspired! This is just the sort of treat that I'd really enjoy with my Sunday morning coffee. :)

Brillig said...

We always grew rhubarb in our garden when I was growing up. My parents definitely NEVER came up with something this intereting to do with it! It looks delish!

Jen said...

Susan - it's a wonderful cake to go with coffee, and best of all, a little goes a long way!

Thanks, Brillig! It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. ;-)

Acedog said...

I really must protest your continued posting of these wonderful recipies. My habit is to read your blog at work, and then I get a terrible craving for food. I'll never achieve that buff-seniors-beach-body at this rate!

Brittany | the Home Ground said...

Oh. My. Goodness. Jen, you've out done yourself. I just happen to have some rhubarb in my fridge for which I've been looking for a recipe. I must admit, I don't cook or bake much (though that's changing, especially with a new grill!) so I've not yet used one of your recipes. However, I will make this. If not today, then tomorrow. I've been inspired. Does that count for the other day's post?

anno said...

Wow! I think this looks delicious, and I don't even like rhubarb... definitely something to try with raspberries, or maybe even Michigan strawberries if they're still around when I'm (finally) able to enjoy this. Thanks so much!

Momisodes said...

That looks and sounds wonderful. I had no idea about the duck eggs. I may have to try that trick.

Michele said...

Hi Jen! I wanted to make sure you saw the answer to the question you posted. I answered it in the comments section but just in case you forget to check back....

Hi Jen! Thanks for leaving a comment. To answer your question, I was always taught to fry in a light oil like canola. It has a very high smoke point which means it can get very hot before smoking and setting off your alarm and burning your food. Eggplant especially needs to be fried in very hot light oil such as canola because it is like a sponge. It will absorb all the oil immediately and turn into a greasy mess. Extra virgin olive oil is great to use when you are really going to taste it in a dish. This is why it's great for salads, for dipping bread, for pasta with garlic and oil. In all those things you are really going to taste the oil, you don't want to waste expensive EVOO on something that is fried and you won't even taste it. Hope that helps!

Proud Italian Cook said...

OOOOH Jen, So moist and delicious looking!

Virtualsprite said...

Oh, this looks so good! I can't wait until raspberries are in season here so I can try this. I'm always looking for new ways to use my (overly)abundant rhubarb.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I have grown rhubarb everywhere I have lived, carrying plants from place to place to replant. When I moved into the condo of course all is lost, but I can still find rhubarb at the farmers market and in delicious desserts like this.

Goofball said...

I think you must have some Dutch blood in often recipes with buttermilk ;)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

yum, yum, yum,

I love rhubarb.

Jen said...

Acedog - bring some fruit to work. ;-)

Yes, Brittany, it counts. This recipe is an easy one and works with any summer fruit.

Anno, I think since we're right at the beginning of strawberry season, this should still work. Also, you can by strawberries, freeze them, and plop them in frozen and this will still work. Just don't defrost them first.

Momisodes - the duck egg thing is amazing.

Michele - thanks so much for wandering over here and answering my question!

Proud Italian - this one came out well - thanks!

Virtual - I was amazed how well this worked for the rhubarb. I actually liked the rhubarb in it better than the raspberries.

Val - Rhubarb is one of those things, like zucchini, that is just amazing in terms of its production. Luckily for me, D could eat rhubarb all the time.

Goofball - low fat buttermilk gives a richness and sweetness to baked goods without adding in all the fat and calories of butter. Since I try to bake in a healthy fashion, this makes a big difference for me. I can retain the "mouthfeel" without having my arteries turn to marble.

Jen said...

NYC - you snuck in as I was commenting on the comments! Is there rhubarb in Italy? I do love rhubarb. I'd trade it for fresh figs any day, though.

glamah16 said...

Thats looking really good and a lovely summer dessert. Im not a recipe preson much myself. Love to just create.

Lucy..♥ said...

Awww rhubarb, pure joy!! This looks absolutely great! Rhubarb & any berries, yum!

Jen, Thanks for stopping by ;-)... I'll be back ;-)

Meg said...

Looks great. Rhubarb truly seems to be the under-appreciated fruit, doesn't it?

Thistlemoon said...

WOW, I have never cooked or baked with duck eggs - but I really want to!!!! If I ever see them I am going to get them, Jen! Thanks for mentioning them!

Jen said...

Glamah, that's the thing - I might read them just to play around. But some recipes and books, I love - such as Luisa's Comfortably Yum and Dorie Greenspan's Baking at Home.

Lucy - thanks for stopping by! I agree, that rhubarb and berries are a great combination.

It does seem that way, Meg. I don't understand it, though, as it's so wonderfully sour.

Jenn - check around your farmer's market - you may be surprised. We actually have two vendors who have duck eggs.

peter said...

I like my pies and tarts on the less-sweet side too; I have a feeling that your desserts would be right up my alley. Sugar is such a crutch.

Jen said...

I agree, Peter. If there's too much sugar, you just can't taste the other flavors. Especially with fruit, I want the fruit to be the star.