I tried to make this cake, a very old family recipe that originated in New England and then brought across the US in about 1860 when part of the Chase family headed West to the “badlands” of Noth Dakota.
Those of you who read Savvy Cook’s blog regularly may have seen my less than successful first attempt at baking this cake: the result was a dark brown cake, which tasted good, but with oozing centre of raw batter.
.... but still tasty
I probably did not “translate” the American measurements very well into metric, so below I give you the original recipe and my conversion.
Along with the addition of some cinnamon + vanilla (a dash of nutmeg or mixed spice could work well too) I also suggest that you put the rhubarb in the bottom of the tin instead of mixing it into the batter. Reason for this is that the rhubarb sinks to the bottom anyway, and this way you avoid the sides of the cake being punctuated with holes caused by softened chunks of rhubarb.
Do give it a go, whilst rhubarb is around.
It works well as a coffee cake, but could equally be served lukewarm as a pudding perhaps with a ball of good quality vanilla ice cream and/or some rhubarb compote.
Makes 2 x 1 kg loaf cake tins or 2 x 30cm spring forms, greased and lined with baking parchment
North Dakota rhubarb cakes ready to go into the oven
You will need:
2 cups (500ml) of buttermilk
3 cups (600g) of caster sugar
2 tsp of baking powder
4 cups (480g) of plain flour
4 cups (500g) of rhubarb, cut into 1cm slices
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of vanilla essence
25g of light brown muscovado sugar to sprinkle
Fresh from the oven!
This is what you do:
1. pre-heat the oven to 180C
2. using a handheld mixer, mix the eggs with the sugar until pale + creamy
3. add the buttermilk (or a mixture of 400ml of semi-skimmed milk + 100ml of plain yoghurt) + vanilla essence
4. sift in the flour + baking powder + cinnamon
5. carefully mix with a spatula until all the ingredients are combined
6. divide the rhubarb over the 2 loaftins
7. pour the cake batter over the rhubarb and bake for 50 minutes or until the cake feels firm to the touch
Let the cake cool in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack.
Let them eat cake...