Rhubarb is a herbaceous perennial plant grown from rhizomes. The celery-like stalks have a strong tart taste so it's best cooked with a little sugar added. I was lucky enough to have three large plants in our garden in Connecticut, along with a great patch of asparagus. One year, I harvested so much from those three plants that I was able to freeze about 10 quarts for later use and make a couple of dozen jars of Rhubarb Jelly, on top of the rhubarb/strawberry pies and breads that I made one season. I've tried to grow it here in the Pacific Northwest, but we just don't get enough sun or maybe it's just too wet. Anyway, I buy it in the farmer's market and appreciate the fact I can get it fresh.
The lemon velvet cake has a wonderful crumb to it and the tartness pairs well with the compote, not to mention it would be great on it's own. The bright yellow color speaks of Spring and all the newness the season brings. Yesterday, I watched a mama deer and two fawns romping in the grass and it brought back memories of our home in Connecticut. We had five acres, with a pond, and watching the wildlife that came to our home was breathtaking. This is life...and appreciating it with my baking.
Lemon Velvet Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
Zest of two lemons
6 T lemon juice (squeeze both lemons, reserve the remaining juice for the glaze)
2 1/4 cups Queen Guinevere Cake Flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Spray an 8-cup Bundt pan or a 9-inch round or square pan with a non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
In the Kitchen Aid, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter completely. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the zest and lemon juice and mix well. Note...at this point the batter will appear "curdled."
Measure the flour and mix with the baking powder, soda, and salt. Add to the batter and beat for 3 minutes until thoroughly combined. Spoon batter into the Bundt pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. Test with a skewer to make sure it's done. Allow to cool 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.
For the Glaze:
Mix 1 cup confectioners' sugar with the reserved juice. Add 1 tsp. light Karo syrup and mix well. Pour over warm cake.
While the cake cools, prepare the Rhubarb~Raspberry Compote.
1 pint fresh raspberries, washed and dried
6-7 stalks of rhubarb, washed, ends trimmed, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 to 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 T water
1 T cornstarch
1/4 tsp. cardamon
Prepare fruit. Place fruit and water into a 3-quart sauce pan with a lid and place over medium heat. Heat 3-5 minutes. Remove lid and stir. Mix the cornstarch with the sugar (I used 1/2 cup) and add to the fruit. Stir until slightly thickened. Turn off heat.
Transfer fruit to a serving dish and serve warm or cool over the cake.
Rhubarb is probably one of those fruits that you either love or dislike. I'm happy to say I LOVE IT. Enjoy!