Translated: Rhubarb Cake!!
But it’s more exciting if you take it into consideration of the German ‘kuchen’ time, which is essentially high tea or afternoon cake and coffee.
Many years ago now, my lovely friend Vanessa took me as her date to a wedding in Germany for her International Exchange friend that she met in Brazil. The bride housed us with an older couple (friends enough with the family) who spoke English in Buchen, Schleswig-Holstein (near the home of Gunter Grass, not far from Hamburg where we spent a couple of days, and easy to train to Lubeck, ‘marzipan capital’ where we visited) and they loved us. They stole us from the wedding party and stodgy garden parties to tour us around – we went and saw a giant canal bridge with an elevator, to a checkpoint between ‘East’ and ‘West’ Germany, we went to ‘an’ oldest pub in Europe (how many of those, are there? ha!) – they were lovely, we had such a good time. One day, we went to the stunning tiny town of Molln to shop around (and rub the foot of the statue of Till Eulenspiegel, notorious medieval trickster) and happened to be there during this miraculous time of day – around 3pm. Time for cake!
Huddled into the upstairs of a cafe easily built around the time of the trickster, black beams hung low around the stone work – we each ordered rich cake and coffee or tea and relaxed. Easily the best civilized tradition ever…this cake would be perfect for that kind of moment but is also super delicious for breakfast or dessert, or dinner, or snack…
1/2 cup Half & Half (or mix of heavy cream and water/milk/whey) or Buttermilk
1 tsp Lemon (unless using buttermilk or lemoned whey)
1 stick unsalted Butter, room temperature (if salted, use less salt in recipe)
1 cup Cane Sugar (plus 2-3 tsp more for sprinkling on top)
1 Large Egg, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 cups All-Purpose Flour (leaving out 1 Tbsp to toss with rhubarb)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
2 cups thinly chopped Rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×9 baking dish. Add lemon to half & half and set aside (unless using lemoned whey in the mix or buttermilk). Toss rhubarb with 1 Tbsp flour and set aside. In another bowl, whisk remaining flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside.
Cream the soft butter and sugar in a stand mixer, or with electric beaters, until fluffy and pale yellow. Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and blend in. Add all of the half and half, and blend in. Finally, add the rest of the flour and blend just until combined, don’t over mix. Fold in the rhubarb. Note: the batter is on the thick side, like cookie dough -no worries though – the cake is light.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top evenly with a little sugar. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the cake is turning golden and a toothpick in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it (moist crumbs are fine).
Let cool a bit before cutting into 9 squares (this is delicious warm or cool). Serve with Maple Whipped Cream!
Maple Whipped Cream
In a stand mixer or with beaters, whip 2 cups (1 pint) heavy or whipping cream, adding 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup (or fine cane sugar with 1 tsp Vanilla) until just stiff and whipped (be careful not to overwhip or it will separate and turn to butter). Voila!