I made this rhubarb almond cake a while ago, and I was hesitating whether this was the right time to post the recipe, given that rhubarb is not in season, at least where I live. I decided that this was perfect timing: with Thanksgiving next week, pie and cake are words that are dancing in my head, and this rhubarb almond cake is so versatile, you could swap the fruit and obtain the same wonderful result. The traditional ones, pumpkin, apple, and pecan pies, will be on many tables next Thursday, but alongside those, I always like to have something different. My friend Shelby makes coconut cream pie, and I absolutely love it. This rhubarb almond cake could become a pear almond cake, or a plum almond cake, and be a new addition to your Thanksgiving menu. I love it with rhubarb, so if you can find it, by all means, make it! Rhubarb gives the cake a certain tartness that I love, much like I think plums would.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and with it, the whirlwind of holiday baking and preparation. I’ve always had the feeling, ever since I became a mom, that this was the week when I stand at the starting point of a race, an obstacle course where the obstacles are the to-do items on my list. Every tick mark is an accomplishment, and by December 26, I look back, collapse on the sofa, and say I made it. But don’t get me wrong! This is a happy and fulfilling race, fun, and exciting, and very merry, and I thrive on it. It’s one of the peaks of the ebb and flow of the yearly calendar, with periods of going full throttle, and periods when one lives in slow motion, working on long-term projects and savoring the ho-hum of the passing days. Last year my husband’s family from Canada spent the holidays with us, and this year it will be my family from Spain’s turn. I’m looking forward to the noise, the “coziness”, the long, big meals, with their sobremesa (lingering at the table after the meal), and the overall craziness, even if during the weeks prior I’ll be going over to-do lists, shopping lists, Christmas lists, events-to-attend lists, and general preparations. This is what life’s about! More updates to come…
On another note, today I was a guest at the Cort in the Morning! radio show. Cort and I talked food, and Thanksgiving, and listened to music, and had a good time (he even brought me veggies from her garden!) If you missed the show, you can catch it again Saturday November 18 at 11:00AM EST on WHNH 101.3FM or download the free app WHNHLP
RHUBARB ALMOND CAKE
Pastel de Ruibarbo y Almendra
1 cup granulated sugar
8 Tbs butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 tsp orange blossom water (optional)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
4 or 5 stalks rhubarb
1/3 cup slivered almonds
About 1 tablespoon raw sugar
Icing sugar for decorating
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch spring-form pan and set aside.
Cut the rhubarb stalks into 1-inch long pieces, then slice each piece transversally into 1/4 thick slices.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until well mixed. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add in the cream, vanilla extract, almond extract and orange blossom water (if using). Sift the flours with the baking soda and baking powder and gradually add to the wet mix. Add the salt and beat until creamy and fluffy.
Spread about half of the batter in the greased pan and level with an off-set spatula. Starting from the center of the pan, layer the rhubarb pieces in concentric circles. Spread the remaining batter evenly over the layer of rhubarb and level with the spatula. Layer the remaining rhubarb pieces in concentric circles. Sprinkle evenly with the slivered almonds, then with the raw sugar.
Bake for about 60 minutes (I start checking at 50 minutes, because all ovens have variations). Remove from the oven when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes minutes before removing spring-form. If desired, dust with icing sugar before serving.