What is it about rhubarb? I'm sure not everyone loves it, but it seems that those of us who do are obsessed with it.
Like duck and cardoons, if I see rhubarb on a menu, I want it. Even if it's in an odd form, like last week at the Slow Club when I ordered pan-roasted black cod with a rhubarb and red onion puree. Turns out that was a bit of a misstep, but like a trooper, I ate it. You can take me anywhere! (Incidentally, I had decided against a dish with duck and cardoons--because it also contained lentils, which I avidly dislike. Side dishes are often the determining factor, no?)
Anyway, I saw this recipe for an almond-rhubarb snack cake in the San Francisco Chronicle years ago. It belonged to Flo Braker, who for reasons I cannot fathom, has not changed her name to Flo BAKER, which would make much more sense. I was lured by three factors: 1) Rhubarb and almond sounded dynamite together. 2) It called for using my springform pan, which I love. 3) The phrase "snack cake" is cute. So I cut the recipe out and stuffed it in my to-make file where it sat for years, untouched.
Last fall, though, I bought Flo's Baking for all Occasions and was thrilled to note that it contained the snack cake recipe. And finally, I got around to making it yesterday.
The cake turned out lovely, moist and tender from the buttermilk, with an intoxicating aroma of almond and vanilla. Which reminds me, I found an error in the recipe. In the ingredients, Flo lists sliced almonds under both the "cake" and the "topping", but in the directions, she only refers to almonds for the topping. I opted to leave the almonds out of the cake. I don't like nuts in cake, but on top is fine.
The topping, which is made of almonds, butter, flour, sugar, and a little cream, all heated together to form a thick syrup, then drizzled over the cake and topped with the almonds, adds a crunchy and delicious layer to the cake.
The cake could take a little more rhubarb. It calls for one cup, and while I had more rhubarb at my disposal, over-rhubarbing seemed risky. But in the end, I would have liked to see more rhubarb running through the cake, as its color is one of the fruit's best features. As it is, the rhubarb pieces seemed few and far between and looked more like a melancholy lavender than rosy pink, which didn't make for the best photos. Ergo, no inside shots of the cake.
Want the recipe? Email me and I'll scan and send it to you. Sorry, I can't type all these recipes out. I have the time, just not the inclination.
Also, thanks for your nice comments on my last post. I am doing fine, and I'm pretty sure that the changes I see coming are going to be good, although it's hard to say. The unknown is, well, unknown, after all. I've never been one of those people who says, "Everything always works out for the best." I'm a little unsure how you could be a full-grown adult and believe that; I think you must have lived a life without anything sad happening to you. However, I do believe that you can always try to make the best of a situation, or learn something from it. Maybe not right away, but eventually. I mean, you have to think that, right?
Don't say I never gave you words to live by.