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This coffee cake is both sweet and tart, and in my opinion, has the perfect crumble on top.  Big, buttery, cinnamon-sugargy crumbs.   I think I might actually use this crumb topping for every crumb cake or crisp I make going forward.  Keeping in theme with me and  Betsy‘s seasonal potluck, I decided to make this coffee cake, which is actually a recipe I have already made several times.   Given that I generally don’t like a lot of sweets laying around the house, I made this the night before I was going into the office for a meeting.  Gave me a good opportunity to give it away, as well as a good opportunity to get some feedback!  Just in case you were wondering – the feedback was good. 🙂

Rhubarb Coffee Cake, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, melted
1 3/4 cups cake flour (I’ve used all purpose before and it still worked great)

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream (I substituted plain non-fat yogurt)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour (again, all-purpose works just fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.

2. To make crumbs in a large bowl, whisk sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then, add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will look and feel like a solid dough. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.

3. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.

4. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.

5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

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