Since I’m not really a baker, and most of my clients aren’t really gluten-free, I’m always looking to others for great ideas on seasonal cakes and pies that are sure to impress even the oldest, most crotchety of guests.
Back in the Spring, someone hired me to cater a pre-Mother’s Day lunch for his aging mother and a few of her lady friends. Having spent the first year of my private chef-ing career cooking for an 83-year-old woman every week, I know a thing or two about this crowd, their dietary restrictions, and their love of dessert, even if it violates said dietary restrictions. I could always predict which menu options Henny would chose, and I made this proposal with her in mind, knowing full-well that I would be making Rhubarb Yogurt Cake.
I discovered the cake recipe from one of my favorite blogger bakers, The Naptime Chef. It’s perhaps a little less seasonally relevant now, than it was back in April and May. But I had to share it with you nonetheless. If you can’t find rhubarb at the Farmer’s Market (I noticed it at one or two stalls recently), try mixing in some blueberries or raspberries instead. I didn’t want to deliver a pacman cake to the old ladies, so I’m going on batter alone, and the perfection that resulted when I un-sprung my springform pan: the texture was just want you want for a light fruity cake. And even if you’re not 85, it sometimes feels better to take a break from all the other fats in our lives and add a little yogurt to the mix.
In addition to the cake, the best thing that happened to me during the course of this event was Forest Hills. It’s a well-manicured Chicago suburb in the middle of Queens (Sorry, Scarsdale. For some reason Lake Forest came to mind). And by in the middle of Queens, I mean, a five minute walk from the E train, left at the projects, and you’re standing in a row of matching Tudors with sprinkler systems on full blast. My favorite part of New York is how neighborhoods pop up out of no where and make no sense. Forest Hills, you take the cake!
Rhubarb Yogurt Cake
Adapted from The Naptime Chef, via Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard. I sliced my rhubarb a little thinner than what the recipe called for. It looks beautiful on the top, but I might try it a little thicker next time so you really get the rhubarb punch in each bite.
1 cup plain full-fat yogurt, well-stirred
1cup granulated sugar
1 large pinch sea salt
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup rhubarb, chopped into ½-inch pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly oil a 10-inch round spring-form cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl whisk the yogurt, sugar, salt, and almond extract until smooth. Pour the oil into the batter slowly, whisking until smooth. Add the eggs and whisk the batter again until smooth.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl and fold it into the wet batter until just combined. Pour the batter into the cake pan and scatter the chopped rhubarb on top.
4. Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and the top springs back lightly when touched. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then lift it out with the parchment paper and allow it to cool on a wire rack.