Does everyone get as excited as I do about the first rhubarb of the season? Apples are mealy shadows of their fall glory at this time of year and the appearance of rhubarb – stewed, roasted, or baked in pies or crisps – is a delicious relief. The season seems to last a little here, so there are weeks of it to look forward to, leading right into berry season.
These cakes have earned a place on that list – they’ll be making an appearance every year and may even show up at my parents’ annual Christmas dinner with their friends, as I chopped up a bunch of rhubarb to put in the freezer for them.
The rhubarb we used was from the garden of friends of my parents and it was the lushest looking rhubarb I’ve ever seen. The caramel for this cake, with its rich Canadian whiskey base (no bourbon to be had at my parents’ place), had just the right sweetness to balance the tartness of the rhubarb. It also soaked nicely into the butter cake, which was tender and substantial at the same time. We substituted Greek yogurt for the crème fraîche and it worked very well.
We made these in 4″ aluminum tins, as we couldn’t find the right size of cake molds, and the cakes unmolded nicely. I’d like a little more surface area for the caramel and rhubarb, so I think I’ll be investing in straight-sided 4″ cake molds when I find them.
I’d like to make these again before rhubarb season is over, perhaps in a gluten-free version, but I’ll also be roasting it and making a pie or crisp or two. I also think I’ll play around with this recipe a little. Pears would go nicely with the caramel and cake, for a start. I’m looking forward to seeing what variations the other bakers in the group come up with this round.