Month: June 2009

Rhubarb Crumb Coffee Cake

I have a confession: I do not like overly sweet foods. This may come as a surprise considering that my blog is decidcated to all things sugar and sweet. But it’s true. I can rarely finish a piece of cake and the thought of eating an entire S’more, with all that marshmallow sweetness, makes me a little uneasy. I just can’t do it. For most desserts, I take a bite or two, enjoy them to the fullest, and call it quits. As a result, I tend to gravitate toward things that are tart. Rhubarb is one of those perfect foods. Rhubarb also brings back good memories of summertime when I was a kid – rhubarb pie and all.

I found this recipe for rhubarb coffee cake on Smitten Kitchen. I went to the Madison Farmer’s Market this weekend and bought some fresh rhubarb. Mmmmmmm. And since I aim to bring a little geekery to your lives, did you know that the leaves of the rhubarb plant are toxic? And that the color of the stalk, which ranges from green to red, is not related to its suitability for cooking. Though I will admit, the red is prettier.

Rhubarb Crumb Coffee Cake
Recipe credit: Smitten Kitchen, adapted from New York Times 6/6/07
Print Recipe

For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 3/4 cups cake flour (I used all-purpose flour, it works fine)

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour (I used all-purpose)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.
2. To make crumbs, in a large bowl, whisk together sugars, spices, salt and butter until smooth. Stir in flour with a spatula. It will look like a solid dough.
3. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.
4. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.
5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Makes 6-8 servings. Also try this recipe with cherries or blueberries if rhubarb isn’t in season!

Mint-Filled Brownie Cupcakes

I bought Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book the day it was released. Yes, I was THAT excited. An entire book of Martha Stewart cupcake recipes. Say what you will about the woman, she and her team always produce consistently GREAT recipes. I couldn’t decide what to bake first, so I had a friend make that executive decision. He chose the mint-filled brownie cupcakes. Good choice, even though I’m not a huge mint fan. The cupcakes are filled with York Peppermint Patties – yum!!

Mint-Filled Brownie Cupcakes
Recipe credit: Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
Print Recipe

8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa, sifted (I didn’t have fancy cocoa…so I used Hershey’s special dark and it worked out fine!)
12 York Peppermint Patties, unwrapped

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. Place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set (not in) a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally just until melted – 4-5min.
2. Remove bowl from heat. Whisk in sugar and salt until mixture is smooth; whisk eggs to combine. Gently whisk in flour and cocoa just until smooth (do not overmix).
3. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of batter into each lined cup. Place 1 peppermint patty on top, gently pressing into batter. Top with two tablespoons batter, covering patty completely. Bake, rotating tin halfway through, until a cake tester inserted halfway in centers (above mint patty) comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached (about 35 minutes). Transfer tin to a wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored for up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Cookbook Shop

I spent this past weekend in New York City. One of the places I insisted we visit was Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks. It’s a tiny little shop in Greenwich Village that sells nothing but cookbooks. It was HEAVEN. I could have spent the entire day at the shop, but since Mike was with me, I tried to browse quickly! I bought an Oreo cookbook (you all know how Oreos are my guilty pleasure) – a bazillion different recipes using Oreo cookies. Yum.

So if you ever find yourself in NYC, visit this shop! It’s so charming!
Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, 163 W 10th Street, NY