Thursday, June 21, 2012

Of Rhubarb Snacking Cake, Food for a Man Party, and the Dreaded Summer Cold

In the last month, I have made 3 different coffee cakes.
My kitchen has looked like this a lot lately: computer out for following the recipe, camera out for taking pictures, mixer in use, flour and sugar canisters sitting out, cooking spray, (I use that to prep my pans for baking) a chair for whatever kid is helping me mix, pour, and taste, and generally a bit of a mess.

This one, (which I have made before and liked a lot), this one (for my dad for Father's Day because he loves blueberry buckle.  wasn't a huge fan of this recipe) and this one--the Rhubarb Snacking Cake, which I'll be telling you about today.
I made this cake for Aaron's birthday.
He loves rhubarb and so a rhubarb birthday dessert was on my must do list.
I didn't feel up to making pie, and besides seeming wrong for a man party, rhubarb cupcakes just don't sound good.
But this coffee cake of sorts sounded just right.
My girl Smitten Kitchen called it a snacking cake.
The kind of cake you could eat off a paper napkin, standing around in the backyard, on a warm summer afternoon.
Yes,  just right for a party of men standing around in the backyard making dioramas.
Rhubarb snacking cake it was!
If you've never worked with rhubarb, you won't know how tart it is.
It will pucker your lips like a lemon.
So this recipe calls for a lot of sugar.
I was a bit shocked when I poured the sugar over the rhubarb slices.
They were swimming in it.
But with the addition of the lemon juice and the already tart rhubarb, you need all that sugar.
In fact, if you like your desserts on the sweeter side, you'll want to add a bit more.
Even with all that sugar, the rhubarb part of the cake was still quite tart.
The cake batter has lemon zest in it and it is a pretty yellow color.
There also isn't a lot of it.
When you pour on the rhubarb, you'll feel like you have a lot more fruit than batter.
You do.
But don't worry it's good that way.

On top of the rhubarb, you'll pour your crumb topping.
The crumb topping is what makes it like coffee cake in my book.
And since I am a HUGE fan of crumb topping, I made a bit more than the recipe called for.
You really can't go wrong with crumb topping can you?
Once the cake comes out of the oven, you'll pull it out of the pan, and set it on a rack to cool.
You'll also have to taste it because you have never made it before and you'll be serving it to party guests in a few hours.
Am I the only one who always tries new recipes for guests?
It usually works out.
This was one of the times.
The cake turned out great.
I highly recommend that you make it--for a man party or just for yourself for breakfast this weekend.
It goes great with coffee and fresh fruit.
Speaking of coffee, when you are serving snacking cake to a bunch of men, you should offer coffee too, right?
But getting out my pretty tea cups didn't seem like the right match for the men folk.
Instead I set out a coffee station with some of our camping mugs as well as Aaron's favorite space mug and James' Boy Scout mug.
It's my favorite.
It shows a confident young scout and says, "Nice to see you at camp."
It's very Moonrise Kingdom--which we finally got to see last weekend and I am longing to talk /write about it.
I love it.  
The cup and the movie.
For the rest of the food, I served a lot of snacking food.
But I steered clear of Doritos and pretzels.
It was my belief that these guys wouldn't mind food a bit more interesting than that.
So I served these potatoes with a blue cheese dip from Trader Joe's.
Chips, salsa and guacamole from our very own avocados.
Homemade hummus, fresh veggies and pita chips.
Nuts, chocolate and dried fruit for a make your own trail mix kind of deal.
I feel sure there was more than that, but it's been a while and details are rather foggy.

Actually everything is rather foggy right now.
I've got the dreaded summer cold.
All I want is to take my kids to the beach today, but I'll be home trying to keep them entertained and myself from being too cranky.
I've got hot flashes, body aches, a sore throat, and random bouts of dizziness.
Plus the usual endless nose blowing.
It's a doozy.
Davy was sick with this all weekend--no wonder he was keeping me up all hours of the night.
I have so much more sympathy for him now that I know how badly he was feeling.

I had such grand plans for the week.
The big kids were all going to be at VBS every morning, Davy would nap and I'd conquer the world!
(my kids are all home with me all the time.  having 3 kids gone for 5 mornings in a row is unheard of in my universe.  and I am not ashamed to admit I was looking forward to it)
Or at least my very ambitious list of summer projects.
Instead, each day has ended up being something else entirely.
Davy didn't nap the first morning, the next morning the boys slept until 9, when VBS started, so we didn't go, the next Lilly wanted to stay home, and today it's all I can do to get off the couch.
Oh well.
Good thing we still have 2 and a half months left of this thing.
Lots more beach days to come.
And lots more Rhubarb snacking cake to be eaten off paper napkins in the backyard, on warm summer afternoons.
Happy summer!
Love from,
PS.  In case you missed it, here's the link to the Rhubarb Snacking Cake.  No sense in writing it again when the works already been done for me.  Thanks SK!


Lillian Simon Wujek said...

I love you Greta!

Lisa said...

Looks like a good cake to try ..never cooked with rhubarb before. Those potatoes looked scrumptious too. Hope you feel better soon.

meg + andy said...

bless your heart! glad to hear we're not the only ones that have "real life" interfere with dreamy summer plans! hope you're on the mend real quick!
love, meagan

mandi said...

That's the way kitchens should look all the time! Full of good food and a little helper to boot! Hope you feel better soon!