Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: The rhubarb is ready

Rhubarb is in the garden and at the market and the tangy fruit is perfect as the centrepoint of a sweet dessert

Nothing heralds spring like fresh rhubarb made into fruit sauces, pies, squares, cakes, juices and so much more. It’s ready and available in home gardens and markets now.

I have two recipes today that the whole family will love. The first is perfect to serve alongside coffee or as a brunch dessert. If you prefer a nut-free cake, substitute oats for the walnuts. The second recipe is easily put together and so good.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

with Crunchy Maple Oatmeal Topping

Topping:

1/2 cup regular large flake rolled oats

1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. maple syrup

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup cold butter

Cake:

1 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1 cup sour cream

2 tsp. maple syrup

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2-1/2 cups chopped rhubarb (5 to 6 stalks)

Icing sugar

Topping: In bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, walnuts, flour, maple syrup and cinnamon. Cut in cold butter until crumbly. Evenly press onto bottom of well-greased 9-inch Bundt pan.

Cake: In large bowl, cream together brown sugar and butter. Mix in egg, sour cream and maple syrup.

In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; stir into butter mixture until just combined. Stir in rhubarb, being careful not to over-mix. Drop evenly over topping. Bake in 350 F oven for 45 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool. Run knife around outside edge of cake to invert onto cake platter. Dust with icing sugar.

Sour Cream Rhubarb Squares

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1-1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup soft butter

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

2 heaping cups cut-up rhubarb

In small bowl, mix together white sugar, nuts, melted butter and cinnamon. Set aside. Cream together brown sugar, butter and egg in large bowl. In another bowl, stir together flour, soda and salt. Beat into brown sugar mixture. Beat in sour cream. Stir in rhubarb. Spread evenly in greased and floured 9×13 inch cake pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon mixture. Bake at 350 degrees 45 to 50 minutes. Excellent served warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, or as is.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every Wednesday and one Sunday per month.

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