Rhubarb “Big Crumb” Coffeecake

Rhubarb is an alarmingly sour vegetable passed off as a fruit, but requiring a huge mound of sugar to effect the transformation. Crumb cake is a huge mound of sugar disguised as a cake, but demanding a bracing counterpoint to allay its cloying sweetness. In this cake, the two strike a perfect balance. The extra-large crumbs are made by pinching off marbles of brown sugar dough by hand. It takes a bit more time than pulsing the ingredients in a food processor, but the result is worth the extra effort.

Ingredients

  • Butter, for greasing pan

For the rhubarb filling:

  • ½ pound rhubarb, trimmed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumbs:

  • cup dark brown sugar
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 ¾ cups cake flour

For the cake:

  • cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

      711 calories; 31 grams fat; 19 grams saturated fat; 1 gram trans fat; 8 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 100 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 49 grams sugars; 7 grams protein; 139 milligrams cholesterol; 310 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

6 to 8 servings

Preparation

  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.

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