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Rhubarb: Tart take on the cake

May 2nd, 2017 | Category: Cooking

by Brian Taylor

The delicious rhubarb always makes its way into our kitchens this time of year.rhubarb

Rhubarb is often prepared in as a fruit; it’s truly tart taste is eased with sugar, and baked into pies, cookies and other desserts. It can also be dehydrated or pickled, and made into a jam, compote, wine or sauce. A Norwegian friend recently shared his experience with rhubarb as a child, explaining that smaller, more tender stalks were covered in sugar and served as a treat. We should also give that a try!

The rhubarb plant has edible stalks (know as petioles) that resemble and feel like celery; the color may vary from the beautiful crimson red many of us look for, to the light pink and light green. I know some bakers and cooks prefer to use the red stalks for color, however the color does not define the taste. All colors taste tart.

As for the rhubarb leaves, do not eat them. The leaves have a toxic makeup that can poison humans. Most sellers remove the leaves, however if you buy rhubarb with leaves be sure to cut them off and discard them.

The rhubarb cake here is an old favorite. Great as a side dessert (get out the ice cream, whipped cream or a caramel sauce), it also makes for a quick morning breakfast on the go or after school or work snack.

If you have extra rhubarb left over, try making a compote or sauce and drizzle on top of ice cream. I like to take some equal parts sugar and water (about 1/4 cup each) and bring to a boil. Add small pieces of rhubarb, lessen the heat, and cook down for about 5-10 minutes. The rhubarb will become tender in the process, and the sauce will look chunky. When done to your liking, place a few spoonfuls on top, and enjoy.

Additionally, the Harvest of the Month recipe for radish salsa is included here. (To view the yearly calendar, visit the website at I didn’t think radishes could taste so good in this simple recipe, but this is a great side at dinner time or served with chips and veggies.

Enjoy the spring months and all the fresh food coming soon. Just think – one more month, and we’ll have berries!


Rhubarb Cake


2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour (or substitute 1 cup wheat flour)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups chopped rhubarb (if using frozen, then drain after defrosting if needed)

1 cup buttermilk (or one cup milk, mixed with one tablespoon vinegar)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until the texture is fluffy. Beat in the egg and mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another bowl and mix. Add to the creamed mixture, rotating with adding in the buttermilk. Mix until moistened; do not overbeat this batter. Add in the rhubarb. Using a greased square baking dish, add in the mixture.

For the topping (optional), mix the remainding ingredients and sprinkle over the top. Bake 45 minutes; check with a knife in center to be sure it’s baked through.


Harvest of the Month Recipe – Radish Salsa

Recipe from Mark Bittman; featured during Whatcom Farm to School’s Harvest of the Month



• 1 bunch of radishes

• ½ English cucumber

• 1 scallion

• 1 clove garlic

• 1 tablespoon minced fresh chili

pepper (like jalapeno or serrano), seeds removed – to taste

• 2 tablespoons lemon juice

• ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

• Salt and pepper



Wash and chop radishes, cucumber, scallion, chili, and cilantro.

Add to bowl with garlic and lemon juice.

Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Taste and add

more chili, lemon, or salt as needed.

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