When your college best friend moves to Chicago and becomes part of a traveling puppet company, the least you can do is make the whole lot of them dinner when they and their giant van come rolling through Brooklyn. The play, which was a beautiful, shadow-puppet-filled ode to eccentric friendships, impossible ambitions, and unexpected loneliness, filled me with admiration for this roving band of puppeteers and their realized vision. They had ravenous appetites, but I guess hours in a van with bell pepper and beef jerky sandwiches *ew* can do that you. We had a delicious and quickly cobbled together meal of pasta, homemade sauce, CSA salad, focaccia, and beer.
This recipe is not at all related to that meal.
Except for, too-long after the fact, I discovered a forgotten bowl of strawberries in the nether region of the fridge that had been intended for dessert that night. It was discovered when I had already embarked upon a late-night rhubarb cake endeavor, to find I was half-a-cup short on fruit. And then, lo and behold, somehow Fridge God came through with these miraculously still-intact berries, who were begging me to hang out with their edgier counterparts. And obviously I acquiesced, since the smell of buttery rhubarb and strawberries having a juice cleanse in a sauna at midnight thirty is the stuff of which dreams are made.
…as are, apparently, giant spiders in a forgotten mansion haunting the prince of England, who is courting my sister…
….or, if you’re Daniel, an amputated hand of a salsa dancing acquaintance…
Mostly Rhubarb Cake
barely adapted from The Seaside Baker
1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tbsp for top of rhubarb
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp buttermilk, but I used Mexican sour cream because that’s what was in the fridge, and it totally worked!
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups diced rhubarb and strawberries, mostly rhubarb
zest from 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together diced rhubarb, strawberries, and lemon zest. Let sit.
Mix eggs and 2/3 cup of sugar with a fork until frothy. Add melted butter, vanilla, and buttermilk. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt and mix to combine.
Cut out a parchment paper circle to fit either a 8 or 9 inch cake pan (use whatever you have!). Pour batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle fruit over the top. Then sprinkle 2 tbsp sugar evenly atop the fruit. Don’t scrimp on or skip this step! The sugar helps the fruit becomes all jammy and delicious during baking.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Eat warm and swoon.
I baked this cake on a Monday night. Came back Wednesday morning and found an empty pan in the drain board and this in the fridge:
Awww how sweet, the roommates saved me the last piece!