April 28, 2009

Land of Giant and Farmer's Markets

Michelle and I have a Monday night tradition-food and wine and tube. This last Monday it was time to use up some homemade tomato sauce that DP and I whipped up over the weekend using some amazing yellowfoot mushrooms from the Farmer's Market. The sauce turned out incredibly well and we served it over some delicate homemade spinach fettucine that was also purchased at the market. And I tell ya, if you're of the mindset that pasta is pasta is pasta, think again and try the fresh stuff....(drool)....

So, there was no way I was letting that sauce go to waste and I quickly thought of Chicken Parmesan for a fast and easy dinner. Served alongside were some roasted baby asparagus (also picked up at the Farmer's Market-god I love that place) served simply with garlic salt and lemon pepper. In all that eating haste I forgot to grab the camera, so you'll just have to trust us that it was damn delicious. What we DID manage to document was the BIG CRUMB COFFEE CAKE we made for dessert.

I snagged a few stalks of rhubarb at the good ol' FM thinking it was time to try my hand with them since I never had. I took this recipe from one of my flagship food blogs Smitten Kitchen. I can honestly say that I never fear when using a recipe from this blog; the woman has class. This turned out spectacular and my only regret was not getting enough fruit to load into it, which is my own damn fault. But, my oh my, the crumbs were GIGANTIC.

Big Crumb Coffeecake with Rhubarb
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Butter for greasing pan

For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed (I also threw in an apple because I was short on rhubarb)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1 3/4 cups cake flour (I used all-purpose)

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour (again, used all-purpose)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.

2. To make crumbs, in a large bowl, whisk together sugars, spices, salt and butter until smooth. Stir in flour with a spatula. It will look like a solid dough.

3. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.

4. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.

5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Monster crumbs
Fresh from the oven
In need of some vanilla ice cream


  1. Oh my gosh. I just ate a giant piece of this for breakfast and it was even more amazing than it was last night. Incredible.

  2. From here till forever I will love this Blog always and always. Man I love food and I know your taste in food is awesome. You did help me broaden my taste bud horizons quite nicely. We need decent farmers markets in this hell whole. :) I miss you!

  3. Rich flavors and exorbitant textures abound with this phenomenal recipe! More than just a warm and satisfying treat, this coffee cake recalls simpler times and reminds us that when we come together, united with dessert, nothing can conquer the power of love.