It all began with a knock on the door. Our daughter answered and I heard a small voice say, "Can you give this to your mom?" It was a bag of freshly cut rhubarb from our landlord and his family.
I set it in a prominent place on the kitchen counter so it would stare at me impatiently each time I walked in, demanding to be used. How very summertime in Alaska, I thought to myself. I've found that bags of rhubarb inevitably show up.
When Saturday morning rolled around, I got into the kitchen and made this rhubarb almond coffee cake. The batter alone was to die for, with intoxicating streaks of orange zest and just the right amount of cardamom. It was so gorgeous when it came out of the oven, steam rising up from where it had been sliced. My wife and I both devoured a piece with an audible chorus of "mmmms." But the kids wouldn't eat it. They wouldn't even try it, because of the rhubarb. Not wanting the rest of this perfect, warm coffee cake to go to waste, I put slices on plates and we went around the neighborhood, passing it out to the neighbors. At one house, they were about to have a book club gathering, so I sent my daughter back with three more slices for everyone.
That night, I received an email from one of the members of the book club, requesting the recipe for the rhubarb coffee cake. She declared the recipe, "super delicious" and said she had tried several rhubarb coffee cake recipes and it was "by far the best." So, for our landlord and his family, and the book club around the corner, this one's for you.
Rhubarb almond coffee cake
1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 orange, zested
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup almond flour (aka almond meal)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 heaping cups sliced rhubarb (cut into 1 inch slices)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch springform pan with non-stick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper as well. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream 1 cup of the sugar and the butter together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the speed down on the mixer and add the eggs one at a time, followed by the sour cream, orange zest, vanilla, and almond extract.
In another bowl, stir together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients gradually, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed, until everything is combined. The dough will be thick and sticky.
Using an offset spatula, spread half of the batter evenly into the prepared springform pan. Distribute half of the rhubarb over top of the batter in a single layer. Spread the remaining batter over the rhubarb. Distribute the remaining rhubarb on top of the cake. Sprinkle with almonds, then sprinkle everything with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Bake until browned and set in the center, about 60-70 minutes. Allow the cake to stand on a cooling rack on the counter for at least 10 minutes before releasing from the springform pan. Dust the cake with powdered sugar, then slice and serve warm. Recipe adapted from Floating Kitchen.
Maya Wilson lives in Kenai and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Her new book, "The Alaska from Scratch Cookbook," is available now. Have a food question or recipe request? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your inquiry may appear in a future column.