Strawberry and Rhubarb — another one of those classic combinations. Now this cake is interesting in that it is a little bit different from ones that I usually make. First of all, it has more of a sheet cake thing going on (but not really). Not that I don’t make sheet cakes, but I usually do rounds. Secondly, there’s a filling baked into the cake. But third (thirdly?) and most important (importantly?), this is made using a different technique.
Here is how I usually make a cake: 1) sift together dry ingredients and set aside; 2) cream together the butter and sugar; 3) add your eggs one at a time; 4) gradually add your dry ingredients, alternating with milk or something like that. And that’s your batter. This is known as the creaming method, which is the most popular way to make a cake. This particular recipe is different in that you cut in the fat directly into the flour, like you were making some shortbread or pate brisee. Known as the rubbing-in, cutting-in, or one-bowl method, this technique gets you a very delicate cake, but it’s not as light and airy as when you use the creaming method. There’s lots of technical reasons why, but that could be discussed some other time. Anyhoo, here’s what you need:
- 3 c. rhubarb, cut into 1-in. pieces
- 1 qt. fresh strawberries, chopped
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/3 c. cornstarch
In a medium saucepan, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. This might not seem like a lot of liquid, but the rhubarb holds a lot which cooks out. Meanwhile mix together the sugar and cornstarch. Stir into the strawberry – rhubarb mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring until thickened. Set aside.
For the topping:
- 1/4 c. butter, melted
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
- 1/4 t. cinnamon
Mix together all four ingredients until everything resembles a crumblike texture. Set aside
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
- 1 c. honey
- 1 t. baking powder
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, diced
- 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 c. strawberries, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 in. baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut in the butter into the flour mixture until you get a coarse crumblike texture. I mixed this in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment for about 5 – 7 minutes.
4. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. Gently spread the strawberry – rhubarb filling over the top. Spoon the rest of the batter over the filling. Sprinkle the topping on top of the cake.
5. Bake for about 45 – 60 minutes, until done in the center. Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.