You know that moment when the rhubarb plant begins to bud in the late spring and there’s this anticipation of just how long it will be until it’s harvest time. The time when the leaves unravel and expand, while hidden under their canopy are long stalks of bright pink, deep crimson and earthy green. That excitement of a year-long wait to enjoy a slice of homemade rhubarb pie, a bowl of rhubarb soup, a hot rhubarb crumble, a fresh stalk dipped in sugar, a tangy pickled rhubarb slice or even a glass of rhubarb wine.
Yeah. I think you know what I mean. Rhubarb arrived in Norway in the 1700s; cultivated mostly for medical purposes. Yet, during the 1800s, rhubarb began to make its mark in the home kitchen as sugar became more available. A favorite pastime in Norway – one of childhood memories – is to take a fresh stalk straight from the stem, dip it into a glass of white sugar and eat it raw.
If eating a raw stalk of rhubarb isn’t your thing, perhaps a simple cake with rhubarb cooked on top is.
This is a nod to all those old, Norwegian cookbooks and newspapers, which feature rhubarb cake on their weekly menus. Nothing fancy or anything that requires an extra step or two. No layers of cream or custard or crumble on top (although I know all these things must be amazing). No, this is merely a simple and incredibly soft cake.
When you bite into it, you get the delicate cake with a bit of tang from the rhubarb and then a delightful crunch with the sugar and almonds on top. It’s a perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea. So simple, and yet so good.
Simple Norwegian Rhubarb Cake (Rabrabrakake)
- 5oz (150g) butter
- ¾ cup (150g) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cup (200g) flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ cup (1 dl) whole milk
- 250 g (2 cups) fresh rhubarb, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 2 Tb sugar
- 2 Tb sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Grease an 8in/20cm round cake tin (springform works nicely).
Beat the sugar and butter together. Add the eggs and continue to mix. Add the flour, baking powder and whole milk and blend together. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
Cut the rhubarb into about ½in/1cm pieces. Place the pieces on top of the dough, arranging them so they are not overlapping, but making a nice pattern. Press the rhubarb pieces into the dough slightly. Sprinkle with 2 Tb sugar and 2 Tb of sliced almonds.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing from the cake tin.
Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.