Rhubarb Cake

I promised myself that I would start posting about real meals. No more desserts. That’s right, it’s time to get healthy. Unfortunately, that’s not how I’ve been raised. Whenever the ingredients for a dessert are available, they must be used ASAP. Which means I preheated the oven immediately when an abundance of rhubarb found itself onto my counter.

We don’t have many recipes from my dad’s side of the family, but not for lack of delicious food. When my parents would visit his grandparents, my mom often tried to get the recipes from my great-grandma. Unfortunately for my mother, Grandma Claire made meals by sight, “add more cheese until it looks like this, heat until it looks like this,” etc. So the following recipe is one of the few that has made it into this generation.It is from my dad’s other grandma, and focuses on rhubarb, a seasonal vegetable that often yields much more than we know what to do with. So, in the beautiful tradition of my family, we turn surplus into a cake.
The recipe itself was given to my dad with very litte instructions. As I prepared to make this cake, I realized that the piece of paper I was looking at listed only a few ingredients and came with some arrows. And no where did it even mention rhubarb. Apparently, I am just supposed to know how much I need. And, by gosh and by golly, it came pretty naturally. This cake runs in the family.
Grandma E’s Rhubarb Cake

This recipe is akin to regular coffee cake, but the rhubarb sets it apart. The tartness adds a completely new dimension to something that would otherwise just be okay. Don’t be afraid to add more rhubarb. I always think about it and regret not doing it. I believe each bite should be packed with that flavor.

1 cup milk
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
1½ cups brown sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups rhubarb, diced
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350oF.
Mix together the milk and vinegar. When fully combined, add soda. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, cream brown sugar and butter. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Stir the two mixtures together. Add flour and vanilla. Fold in rhubarb chunks.
Pour into an ungreased, 8×8 inch pan. Mix together granulated sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over batter (I normally only use about half).
Bake for 35-40 minutes.

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