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In Season: Rhubarb


May 2017

The Ingredient:

The Recipe: Meyn’s Flour Mill Rhubarb Coffee Cake

The Chef: Mark Weber, director of culinary operations for Marcus Hotels & Resorts

Makes one 8-inch cake that serves 6-8 people.


1 teaspoon honey
2 ounces warm water, 110 degrees
2 teaspoons dry yeast
2 cups best quality all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 large pinch salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 ounces sour milk, plain yogurt or sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons molasses
1 ounce unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into ½-inch pieces

Fruit filling

4 ounces rhubarb, cut into ½-inch pieces
4 ounces strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Crumb topping

4 ounces unsalted butter
1¼ cups best quality all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Powdered sugar for dusting


For the cake:

Add the honey to the warm water in a small bowl, and stir to dissolve.

Sprinkle in the yeast and bloom until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Combine the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place the yeast mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the eggs, sour milk, vanilla and molasses. Mix briefly, for a few seconds.

Add the dry ingredient mixture all at once to the wet ingredients, and mix on medium speed until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.

Still on medium speed, add the butter pieces gradually one by one to work them into the dough. When all of the butter has been incorporated, knead the dough with the mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes. The dough will be somewhat sticky. Scrape the dough together in one ball and cover with a warm damp towel in a warm place to rise. The dough should look smooth and glossy.

Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size. Transfer the dough to a well-greased, 8-inch cake pan, and cover with the warm towel. Allow dough to rise until doubled in size again. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the filling:

While dough is rising, begin the fruit filling by placing the rhubarb, strawberries, vanilla and sugar in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon of the water. On low heat, gently begin to cook the fruit (covered) until the fruit begins to simmer. Mix the cornstarch with the remaining water — and a bit more, if needed — in a small bowl.

When the fruit has completely softened, about 3 minutes, stir in the cornstarch mixture and bring mixture to a boil while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and cool mixture completely. Set aside.

For the crumb topping:

To make the crumb topping, add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until large crumbs begin to form. Continue to cut in the butter until most of the crumb pieces are about ¼ inch in size.

Finishing touches and assembly:

To bake the cake, remove the damp towel from the dough and gently level the top by gently pressing down on it with fingertips.

Spread the fruit filling evenly across the top of the dough. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the fruit. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes. The crumb top should be golden brown, and an inserted knife should come out clean.

Garnish with a light dusting of powdered sugar.


This story ran in the May 2017 issue of: