Friday, June 15, 2012

Best Rhubarb Cake Ever

Rhubarb Cake
When I lived in Stuttgart for a year, I loved the coffee houses with their seemingly endless selection of cakes and tortes.  I especially liked the long, two hour walk through the Rosenstein Park to Cafe Schlossgarten (Castle Garden) because all that walking sparked an appetite that could only be fulfilled by a piece of the many, many cakes that lined the counter.  One of my favorites was a sour cherry cake that had just the right amount of sugar to tart taste, a moist, butter cake texture, ground nuts, and those luscious cherries.  I always had it "mit sahne," with a dollop of softly beaten whipped cream.  I can taste it still.  That cake was the elevated, pastry chef's version, it seemed, to another cake, comparable in flavors, although not always quality, that every German woman seemed to make: Obst Kuchen.  That means fruit cake, but nothing like our American fruit cakes.  Instead it was a buttery, baking powder cake with whatever fresh fruit was in season.  It was not so rich that it couldn't be eaten for breakfast, the way I prefer it, but it did make one feel a bit decadent.

So, when I ended up with a giant bag of rhubarb last week, I immediately decided that I needed to find a European style rhubarb cake recipe, or at least some comparable fresh fruit cake recipe.  I could have fooled around creating a recipe, especially given some of the cookbooks I own, but I wanted it perfect the first time.  I googled Rhubarb Cake.  I was lucky to come across one almost right away.  Some things are just meant to be.  I found this recipe which sounded exactly right, French Rhubarb Cake.  I do not personally know the blogger of My Kitchen in the Rockies, but Kirsten's blog is one I'll be reading more frequently in the future.  I love German food and to hear her stories and read the recipes from her own family is a treasure worth having.

In Kirsten's Rhubarb Cake blog entry, she says that she adapted her recipe from one found in Bolli's Kitchen.  Kirsten reports that Bolli is a German woman who lives in France.  Her blog is both in German and French which is lucky for me because I still remember enough of both to read her blog.  I had to search a bit to find out more about the original recipe.  It turns out that it comes from a fresh apple cake recipe from the River Cafe in London, Torta di mele "River Cafe."  Both bloggers use it with any fresh fruit in season. The River Cafe recipe can be found here.

Although I thought my search was over, while browsing through my copy of Cakes: Good Cook Time-Life Books, I found a Rhubarb Cake recipe similar to the ones above.  It's from Hans Karl Adam who wrote Das Kuchbuch aus Schwaben (I chose this link because it shows the book cover).  I can't believe it!  In my own bookcase I have a recipe from a cake cookbook that features the kind of cake I remember most from where I lived in Stuttgart, the biggest city in Swabia.  Coming full circle, the recipe has once more been confirmed as a keeper. Like Kirsten in her Rocky Mountain kitchen and like Bolli in her German/French kitchen, I may make slight adaptations here and there but I know that the recipe will always bring back memories of my days in Stuttgart and those lovely, old coffee houses filled with the most beautiful and delicious cakes and tortes. 

1 comment:

Kirsten@My Kitchen in the Rockies said...

Hi Linda, Thanks for liking my rhubarb cake so much. I just baked my first rhubarb cake of the year the other day. It was one with meringue topping which is also on my blog. You should try that one. We like it even better than this recipe. Greetings from Colorado. Kirsten