Rhubarb + Almond Pound Cake
Boy, 2018 has been off to a bit of a rough start for me. Started off the year getting real sick with the super flu bug going around this season which resulted in an ear infection and ruptured ear drum. It was weird and annoying to be mostly deaf in one ear for like a month but it eventually healed so I'm thankful for that. Then my car got stolen a few weeks ago. That really sucked. But it was found within the same day, with only minor damage and my insurance was actually really great throughout the whole ordeal of getting it towed/repaired/arranging the rental car and all that jazz so thankful for that, too. But to say the least, I was happy to say adios to Winter and use the start of Spring as an opportunity to start fresh!
I knew a few months ago I really wanted to make a rhubarb pound cake. So when I found the most beautiful organic and locally grown ruby-hued rhubarb at my local market, I quickly bought up an armful! Some I used for this Rhubarb Aperol Spritz (which you should make too) but most went to this pound cake. I did a lot of research before making this cake, too. What makes a pound cake a "pound cake"? There's of course the origin of the name "pound cake" itself where a pound of each of the ingredients (flour, butter, sugar, eggs) were used to make the cake. It's also all about that close-textured dense crumb as well. As there are typically no chemical leaveners in pound cake (like baking powder and baking soda), the rise of the cake is dependent on air being whipped into the eggs and sugar for like a long time. The result is a simultaneously fluffy and dense, almost silky-like texture. This cake is actually not too sweet, either and the little bites of sharp, tart rhubarb are so tasty. I would say this is a great little cake to whip up for a snack alongside morning coffee or tea or even just to snack on whenever!
Rhubarb + Almond Pound Cake
makes 1 9 x 3 inch loaf
1 c unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 c granulated sugar
1 t almond extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 c plus 1 T all-purpose flour
1/2 t Himalayan pink salt
1/4 t cream of tartar
1 c rhubarb, washed and leaves trimmed, chopped into about 1/4 inch cubes, plus 1 extra stalk, cut into 2 inch slices on the bias (optional)
raw turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Butter and flour a 9 x 3 inch loaf pan and set aside. In a small bowl, toss together the rhubarb with 1 tablespoon of flour and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the butter and sugar on high for a good 8 minutes, until light and fluffy. Keeping the mixer on high, add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. (Note: All this whipping is so important because it's what's going to leaven the cake. So put some good tunes on and dance it out while your mixer is going to town! Here's a playlist for ya.) Turn the mixer down to low and beat in the almond extract and salt. Add in the remaining 2 cups of flour and the cream of tartar and mix until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer and using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the rhubarb by hand. Add the batter to your prepared loaf pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula or back of a spoon. If using the additional rhubarb slices for the top, gently press them into the surface of the batter in whatever pattern you'd like. I went with a chevron pattern by cutting the pieces on the bias. Sprinkle the surface with raw sugar. Bake the cake for about 60 minutes, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Since all ovens are a little different, start checking the cake for doneness after about 40 minutes. Allow to cool fully on a wire rack before slicing then enjoy!