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Rhubarb is one of my favorite fleeting vegetables of spring—in season in New York from roughly the end of May to mid- (or sometimes late-) June, it briefly crosses over with strawberry season, inspiring countless james, pies, and cobblers (my post last year for a strawberry-rhubarb pie). Well, it’s not quite strawberry season yet but the rhubarb was out yesterday in all its pink-red-and-green glory. What’s a girl to make?

It seemed each person I passed as I approached the farmer’s market was toting a bagful of just-picked rhubarb. (I should’ve asked what they were planning to make!) I was cruising Smitten Kitchen blog for ideas and came across a recipe for a rhubarb “snacking” cake: a layer of cake batter under a layer of rhubarb under a layer of crumb. Moist and not too sweet. And no strawberries required.

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Rhubarb Crumb Cake

I tweaked Deb’s recipe by reducing the sugar; substituting greek yogurt for sour cream; and reducing the flour in the crumb. And I had leftovers of the rhubarb mixture so I sautéed for five to ten minutes and plan to use it on top of plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
Note: I found the cake needed the full sixty minutes for the crumb on top to brown.

Cake
1 1/4 lb rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 c sugar, divided in 2
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/3 c plain greek yogurt

Crumb
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking pan with butter. (Optional: you can line the pan with parchment paper.) Stir together the rhubarb, lemon juice, and 1/2 c sugar and set aside. Beat the butter, remaining sugar, and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger together. Add half of this mixture to the batter, just until combined. Continue, adding half the yogurt, the second half of the flour mixture, and the remaining yogurt, mixing between each addition until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly over the prepared pan. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the batter in a single layer.

To make the crumb: Whisk the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon together, then stir in the melted butter until crumb-size pieces form. Spread evenly over the rhubarb layer. Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes and the crumb is golden on top. Cool completely.

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