This post written by the original Ebby.
Rain. Again. I have to say, dear Spring, that so far you have not impressed me. Tornadoes, wind, hail, rain, and cold. More clouds than sun. Don't you know that I endure six months of horrible weather and three more months of below average weather just to enjoy the remaining three? I live for THREE MONTHS! Three months when the sun is supposed to shine and warmth is supposed to radiate across my entire body, giving my pasty white skin a slightly darker pasty whitish hue. Well, Mother Nature, the time has come! Give me what I need! Or else I'll...I'll...move to Arizona! And that's not an empty threat!
Okay. I feel better.
Thank goodness there's rhubarb and her companion asparagus, two foods that brighten my mood each spring despite the weather. Every May I eat them until I can eat no more. I get my fill knowing it will be a year until we meet again.
Normally I have a problem with making a dish more than once a month. I like to mix things up to keep boredom at bay. But for some odd reason I usually don't get creative with asparagus, and never have. (Except for that one time I made some really good spring linguine.) I almost always steam it and sprinkle with salt. Time after time. After time. It may be boring, but it's good. It's also fast, and when I want asparagus I want it NOW!
By the way, no one has ever used the word "patient" when describing me. And I don't see that changing anytime soon.
But every once in awhile I do find the strength within myself to wait. Perfect summer days on the lake, the smell of lilacs, Sunday afternoon naps, Italian vacations; those are things that can't be rushed. (I'm still waiting for that Italian vacation!) Rhubarb falls into the "things worth waiting for" category as well. Lately I've found myself combing through cookbooks, compiling recipes that feature the vegetable.
Don't you think it's odd that rhubarb is a vegetable? I find it hard to believe. There aren't all that many vegetables that taste good coated in sugar. Or maybe there are. I obviously need to experiment more.
Anyway, this cake is full of spring flavors from fresh, tart rhubarb and juicy strawberries topped with a moist, sweet, fluffy layer of golden cake, just right for enjoying at a picnic. If sunny spring days ever show up, that is.
Here's what you do:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and butter an 8-inch baking dish.
Chop 3 cups worth of rhubarb and add to a saucepan along with 1/4 cup water, 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch and 1/3 cup sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for three minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of chopped strawberries.
Whisk together 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk one egg, 1/2 cup milk, 8 tablespoons melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.
Reserve 1/2 cup fruit mixture and add remainder to baking dish. Pour the batter over the fruit, spreading it evenly. Spoon the reserved 1/2 cup fruit mixture over the batter.
Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Then really test your patience by waiting at least five minutes for it to cool slightly.
While you wait, get out some ice cream and let it soften. Try to refrain from eating half the container.
Spoon a big scoop over a piece of warm cake and let it melt a little so the cream soaks into the top. Yum!