Rhubarb and Spring go hand in hand, like peas in a pod. Rhubarb looks like celery with a sunburn … red on the outside, green on the in.
I've never been one to crave rhubarb unless it was that Strawberry Rhubarb Pie my friend, Shelli, used to make. I'm not sure if that was because of the rhubarb or the strawberries, frankly. Or maybe it was simply because Shelli made it and shared it with us. But I love making seasonal food and food from my memories. This cake is one such recipe. My mom got the recipe from Madame Weyer when we lived in Sens, France and in fact, when I asked her to send it to me because I couldn't find my copy, I found myself fortunate to be able to read both French AND English since the recipe is interspersed with both languages! It is also written in metric measures as well as US measures.
The recipe calls for enough rhubarb to take up ½ -¾-inch of space on top of the batter. I wasn't sure how much that would be, but I cut four stalks of rhubarb in half, then chopped it. I probably ended up with about 1 ½-2 cups.
Since the measures were in both terms, I thought it would be a great opportunity to see the difference in weights. Although my dry measuring cups also have metric measures on them, they are all milliliters, not grams. The recipe calls for ½ cup of sugar, which should be about 100 grams …
… and it is! However, two hundred grams of flour is NOT 1 cup (which would have made sense if I was measuring sugar, right?!)
Flour is lighter than sugar, apparently, because I had to use 1 ⅓ cup + 1 Tablespoon to equal 200 grams.
Oh my … the things you learn in the kitchen. This is probably the most precise cake I've ever made since I measured it all according to weight!
Separate the four eggs and use only the yolks in the cake batter. The whites will be whipped for the top of the cake.
Listen up for another math lesson … 10 Tablespoons of milk equals about ½ cup. Now you know.
After the batter is mixed, put it in a spring-form pan and spread it out.
Then top it with chopped rhubarb.
Bake it for 45 minutes at 350°F. About 6 minutes before that time is up, start whipping your egg whites, gradually adding about 1 cup of sugar (kind of sprinkle it in a little at a time—NO POURING!)
I remember this cake tasting quite good, but more than that I remember the MOUNTAINS of meringue it had on it! The recipe is simply called Rhubarb Cake, but could easily be called Rhubarbe Meringue Cake!
Pull your gorgeous cake from the oven, admire it a little …
… then put the meringue on top. It will be very stiff! I like leaving it a bit looking like an ocean during a storm, but if you'd rather smooth it out or make some design on top, feel free. It's your kitchen – do what you want!
Slide it carefully back into the oven and bake it for 20 more minutes. Turn the oven off, slightly open the oven door, and leave the cake in the oven to cool. This will protect the meringue from crashing, especially if you have a draft in your kitchen from leaving the window open and enjoying the Spring breeze. J
This meringue will be the part that Aly likes the best. She loves meringue!
Let the cake cool in the oven a bit, then take it out and carefully remove the ring of the spring-form pan.
Ahh … Isn't that a beauty?! I can hardly wait for a taste of what is a good memory for me.
(Be sure to let the cake cool at least to room temperature before eating it. It's best eaten cold!)
I've rewritten the recipe so you can better follow it, but I've left the metric measures where the original had indicated them.