Rhubarb was one of the treasures in my Chow Locally CSA box a little while ago. I was pretty excited about it since rhubarb has been going around the blogosphere! I knew instantly what I wanted to make when I saw it. Smitten Kitchen’s Rhubarb Snacking Cake. Unfortunately, there wasn’t nearly enough rhubarb for the 1 1/4 lbs that was called for in the recipe. Fortunately, my boyfriend wasn’t too beat up about it since one of his favorite combinations is strawberry and rhubarb. 🙂
It’s a crumb cake with a lovely fruity layer and I’m so excited to share it with you. I wasn’t originally going to post the recipe here since it’s over at Smitten Kitchen, but I made enough changes to it to make it reasonable that I repost my version here. I mentioned before that I’m not one to forsake calories for flavor, but there are a few tricks you can use to cut some fat and calories without sacrificing flavor and texture. Adding applesauce instead of butter or oil is one of those tricks.
The recipe for the cake calls for 1 stick of butter, but I used 1/2 stick of butter and 1/4 c. of applesauce. I think that applesauce lends itself particularly well to uses in cakes, muffins, and quick breads, as it adds to the cakey texture of those things. It doesn’t do as well in brownies and cookies, for that same reason (I like my brownies dense and fudgy!). You can sub applesauce for the entire amount of butter or oil if you’re really looking to cut down on the fat, but you’d be able to tell the total absence of the butter or oil in both flavor and texture. I also use low fat sour cream, you really can’t tell the difference there, especially in baked goods. On a side note, I love baked goods with sour cream in them. They’re always moist and delicious (another reason I knew this cake was a winner)!
I also use a little bit of white whole wheat flour in the cake. You can skip this if you don’t have white whole wheat flour, I wouldn’t recommend using regular whole wheat flour as it would change the texture of the cake too much. You could also try whole wheat cake or pastry flour as it has a finer grain than the regular stuff.
One last change was adding oats to the crumb topping. I could tell you I did this for the fiber and whole grains and etc., but really I just think that all crumb toppings need a bit of oatmeal. 😉
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Cake
1/4 lb rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths on the diagonal
1 lb strawberries, trimmed and quarted (or cut into 6 pieces if they’re large)
1 c. granulated sugar, divided
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. applesauce
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. white whole wheat flour (optional, you can just use all all-purpose flour)
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh (or dried, if using dried add it with the flour mixture) ground ginger
1/3 c. low fat sour cream
3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. oats
1/4 c brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces, or 55 grams) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9” X 13” baking pan by coating it in butter or oil.
Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, and 1/3 c. of sugar in a large bowl and set aside (you don’t need as much sugar here since the strawberries help make up for the tart rhubarb)
In an electric mixer beat together the softened butter, sugar, fresh ginger, and lemon zest until fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, making sure the first is fully incorporated before adding the second. After the second egg is incorporated mix in the applesauce.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Continue, adding half of the sour cream, then second third of the flour mixture, then second half of the sour cream, and finally the remaining flour mixture, mixing between each addition until it’s just combined.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan. This is easier with an offset spatula but anything will do (I ended up using my finger ;)). Pour the strawberry rhubarb mixture over the cake batter.
In the bowl that you previously used for the cake mixture, add the dry ingredients for the crumb topping and mix until combined. Add the melted butter and mix until everything is coated in the butter.
Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the strawberry rhubarb mixture and bake for 50-60 minutes. The cake will be done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean with no cake batter stuck to it.
Cool completely before eating (I know, it’s hard, but worth it!)
Be Happy! 🙂