Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Rhubarb Yogurt Cake

This is one of my favorite afternoon "come over and have a slice" cakes. Back when I went through mountains of dairy it was also a good way to use up any leftover yogurt. Now that I've cut back on dairy I now have to purposefully buy yogurt just to make this cake. I freeze rhubarb (pre-cut into 1/2 inch pieces) just so I can throw this cake together in late summer, or early winter, or whenever my spirits need a spring-time kick.

A note about rhubarb. If you have very large, mature stalks then you might need to peel them. You will know if you need to peel them or not if, when you are slicing them into 1/2 inch slices the peel starts to come off on its own. If this happens, then just peel it off like you would on a celery stalk. (They are the same family, after all.)

This recipe is also delicious with 1 teaspoon of vanilla substituted for the almond.  I personally love the almond note, but my husband prefers it with vanilla. I've also substituted in 1/2 cup of cornmeal for some of the flour with great success. (Although it makes the texture more muffin-like.) Lastly, if you like, you can half the sugar, and pour the batter into cupcake tins and - viola - you have rhubarb muffins - perfect for breakfast and brunch.

One last note. Please use full-fat yogurt. First of all, you shouldn't be consuming non-fat dairy anyway because all the vitamins in milk are fat-soluble, which means, you need to eat the fat in order to actually get any nutrients from it, and second of all, there is a time and a place for low-fat baking, but that time and place is not this blog and not this cake! (Besides a little fat will keep you fuller longer. If you need a nutritional enemy, then please feel free to cut back on the SUGAR! Because that's the pound-gaining culprit.)

Rhubarb Yogurt  Cake

makes 1 10-inch round cake or 1 9-inch square cake
adapted from Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard, via the Naptime Chef

1 cup plain full-fat yogurt
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose or white spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped rhubarb (1/2 inch pieces)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly oil a 10-inch round cake pan  or a 9-inch square cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a large bowl whisk the yogurt, sugar, salt, and almond extract until smooth. Pour the oil into the batter slowly, whisking until smooth. Add the eggs and whisk the batter again until smooth.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl and fold it into the wet batter until just combined. Pour the batter into the cake pan and scatter the chopped rhubarb on top.

Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and the top springs back lightly when touched.

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