Although once commonly known as “pie plant,” rhubarb is versatile enough to be baked into other sweets, including these charming little cakes. Diced fruit is not only stirred into the batter, it is also simmered with water and sugar, then spooned over the whipped cream on top. MAKES 8
FOR THE CAKES
- 1/2 cup (1stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 cups diced (1/4 inch) rhubarb (about 8 ounces)
FOR THE TOPPINGS
- 1vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1cup water
- 1cup sugar
- 1cup diced (1/4 inch) rhubarb (about 4 ounces)
- Whipped Cream, for serving
- Make the cakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter eight 4-by-2 1/2-inch mini loaf pans, line with parchment, and butter parchment. In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Stir in rhubarb.
- Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool completely. (Cakes can be stored at room temperature in airtight containers up to 3 days.)
- Make the toppings: Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, scrape vanilla seeds into a saucepan, reserving pod for another use. Add the water and sugar; bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in rhubarb. Let cool. Remove rhubarb with a slotted spoon, and reserve. Return liquid to a simmer; cook until reduced by half, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool slightly; return rhubarb to syrup and let cool to room temperature. (Rhubarb and syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1week. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
- To serve, spoon a generous amount of whipped cream over each cake, and top with rhubarb and syrup.