I posted a photo of this Polish Rhubarb Crumb Cake – Ciasto z rabarbarem i kruszonką on my Instagram account before I wrote up the recipe. I have never had so many people request a recipe on IG! It was equally popular when I took a tray of cake to our weekly staff meeting at the church.
Many of the folks requesting the recipe mentioned having a rhubarb patch and an abundance of the colorful red stalks. That sounds like such an interesting predicament that I had a look to see if it would grow here in USDA Hardiness Zone 9, no luck!
I’ll have to keep buying mine at the supermarket and making only a reasonable number of rhubarb dishes rather than feeding the entire neighborhood with rhubarb coffee cake.
If you want to grow rhubarb, you should know that the leaves are poisonous. Historically, rhubarb stalks and roots have been used for medicine. It was one of the first Chinese medicines to make its way to the West.
Rhubarb looks like a red version of a green celery stalk. It has a very sour, tart taste. Mix it with a little sugar, and the sweet and tart taste is wonderfully fruity, even though we would classify rhubarb as a vegetable.
Rhubard was not something commonly used as I was growing up in Arizona. I saw it so much more living in Poland.
So many of my Polish and European friends were baking with it. Cafes and coffee shops were advertising rhubarb cake. I did try my hand at making a rhubarb sauce.
The rhubarb sauce is from years ago. The photo makes me shudder; I’d like to think my photography has improved.
This Polish Rhubarb Crumb Cake – Ciasto z rabarbarem i kruszonką is based on one I found at Mały Cukierenka, a beautiful Polish food blog. I think the name means little sweets. As you would expect of a Polish dessert, it’s only lightly sweet.
The original recipe called for ground hazelnuts or almonds in the cake. I had pecans on hand, so that’s what I used. I think you could use whatever you have in the pantry.
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If you have or can find some rhubarb, bake a couple of Polish Rhubarb Crumb Cake – Ciasto z rabarbarem i kruszonką. Cut a slice, take a photo with a Polish pottery coffee cup, pop it up on Instagram. People will notice; be sure to tag me!
Polish Rhubarb Crumb Cake – Ciasto z rabarbarem i kruszonką, lightly sweet and with tart rhubarb
4 stalks rhubarb (roughly 3 cups)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup flour
for crumb topping:
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cups light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
for the cake:
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup butter, room temp
2 cups nuts
3 tablespoons flour
Preheat oven to 350° F
Prepare two 8-inch pans, grease with butter and line bottom with parchment paper
for the filling:
Trim ends of rhubarb and slice into 1/2 inch pieces, toss with powdered sugar and 1/4 cup flour, set aside. The rhubarb will release juices while you prepare the other components
for the crumb:
Combine butter, brown sugar, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, teaspoon vanilla, and a pinch of salt
for the cake:
Combine the sour cream, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla
In another bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and a pinch salt
Work in butter and add wet ingredients
In a food processor, process nuts with 3 tablespoons flour until fine, add to the cake batter, stirring until uniformly combined
Spread batter in prepared pans, top with rhubarb mixture, and crumble crumb topping over the rhubarb
Bake 50 – 55 minutes (internal temp 210° F), cool before serving