Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cake of the Week: Ginger Vanilla Pound Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

It's been a crazy week, but just pretend with me for a moment that it's Tuesday right now. Yay Tuesday! Because that only means one thing...Cake of the Week! (Ok, now you can skip to being relieved that it's Friday!)Have you noticed the superabundance of strawberries and rhubarb recently? I feel like I've never seen so much rhubarb before! So, in honor of all things in season, I decided to bake something rhubarby...Rhubarb is a curious vegetable (actually, the US classifies it as a fruit for tax reasons. Weird!). The leaves of the rhubarb plant are toxic, but the stalks are edible. It's very tart, which is why it tends to be paired with sweet strawberries. What a fabulous combination, strawberries and rhubarb are match made in heaven, if you ask me!

Though strawberry rhubarb pie is a delicious classic, I'm not too fond of the crust-making process. But cake, now that's more my thing. I decided to go for a pound cake, and to spice things up a bit, I made it a
ginger pound cake. Then I topped it with strawberry rhubarb sauce (technically it's a compote, but I've been told that "compote" is too close to "compost" and just doesn't do justice to the yummiliciousness that this boiled mixture really is).This was my first rhubarb cooking adventure. Even though the rhubarb seems tough, it actually cooks pretty quickly. I guess it just depends on the texture you're going for. Mine ended up almost jam-ish, but in the future I think I'll cook it less so the rhubarb retains some bite. You could also cook half the rhubarb, and then add the other half later in the cooking process to get different textures in your finished sauce (and the same principles go for the strawberries).

Also, I only put one teaspoon of ginger in my pound cake, but it was too mild. Next time I'll do two.Anywho, take advantage of the rhubarb and strawberry season while it lasts!

Ginger Vanilla Pound Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

For the cake:
2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups sifted flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
3 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating with milk and vanilla. Do not overmix. Pour batter into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 325° for about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

For the Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce:

1/2 lb strawberries
1 lb rhubarb
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon corn starth
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Dice rhubarb and strawberries into similar sized 1/2 inch pieces. Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10-20 minutes (depending on what texture you want). Remove from heat and cool at least 2 hours. Store sealed in the refrigerator.

I hope you're all oohing and aahhing over Photoman's pictures like I am. I can't help but try to squeeze as many as possible into this post. Because I remember the cake tasting good, but hot damn! It looks absolutely fantabulous!

If you're not inspired to try cooking with rhubarb after seeing these pictures, well, you're far beyond my help!