As I finish up the process of editing my cookbook, a handful of recipes had to hit the cutting room floor (my book was too long!). One was a real favorite of mine, but when my editor suggested the cut, I realized it meant I could share the recipe while this favorite fruit/veg of mine was in season.
I call any small cake a "snack cake" because Little Debbie shouldn't get all the fun...and cakes shouldn't only be for parties. These little wonders are easy enough to be made on a weekday, and can be served for breakfast as easily as for an afternoon snack. They're covered with rhubarb and the center is tender, moist, and crumby. They're a perfect spring cake!
Rhubarb Snack Cakes
Makes about 6 mini loaves, depending on the size of your mini pans (mine are 5 x 2 1/2 inches)
about 255 g / 3 large stalks rhubarb
113 g / ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
198 g / 1 cup granulated sugar
106 g / ½ cup light brown sugar
171 g / 3 large eggs
10 g / 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
211 g / 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
2 g / ½ teaspoon baking soda
2 g / ½ teaspoon salt
152 g / 2/3 cup sour cream
granulated sugar, as needed for finishing
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 6 mini loaf pans with butter or nonstick spray.
2. Cut the rhubarb to fit snugly inside the loaf pan, going across the shorter side. I cut mine 2 ½ inches wide, and I needed 6 pieces per pan – you want to cover the pan nearly all the way across, if possible.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes.
4. Add the eggs gradually, scraping well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt to combine. Add half of the flour mixture to the mixer and mix to combine.
6. Add the sour cream to the mixer and mix to combine. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.
7. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Top each with rhubarb strips – place snugly in the pan all the way across and press lightly into the batter.
8. Sprinkle the top of the rhubarb with a little bit of granulated sugar and bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. If the pans are ceramic or metal, let the cakes cool for 10-15 minutes inside the pans, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely. If the pans are disposable, cool the cakes completely in the pans.
Why it Works:
The rhubarb strips help weigh the batter down – it still rises, but it does so evenly and makes a gorgeous, all-rhubarb layer on the surface. The rhubarb gets super tender and so it’s easy to bite or get a fork through when it’s time to eat!
I freeze rhubarb in the spring so I can bake with it through the fall and winter. I usually just slice it so I can add it to all kinds of desserts. That still works in this cake – just toss it into the batter instead of arranging it on the surface, and you’ll have sweet/sour flecks throughout the cakes.