Monday, June 06, 2005

Rhubarb and Ginger Loaf Cake

When I saw some brightly colored stalks of rhubarb at the market, I simply couldn't resist buying a few. This was an odd impluse, because I have never, ever cooked or even eaten rhubarb in anything other than a jam. Incidentally, I am currently in possession of an amazing Raspberry-Rhubarb preserves from Mt Valley Orchard. Not only is this variety amazing, but they make 80 or so other varieties of preserves (some with no sugar added) which they sell at SF Bay Area farmer's markets. They don't have a website, but you can e-mail them for a list of all their products, which they will ship. I'm not sure if I've ever had preserves or jams that are as good.
But I digress.
I chopped up some rhubarb and tasted a piece. It tasted like a tart, slightly lemony apple. But what to do with it? I recalled that chika made a recipe for rhubarb ginger bread, but was unimpressed with the results. Maki also recently made up some muffins. I decided that I wanted a sweet loaf that would be more of a cake than a light bread. I also wanted the cake to be as light as possible to play up the beautiful color of the rhubarb, so I used only egg whites. I added some lemon zest to boost the flavor a bit, too.
The final result is a sweet, white, moist loaf cake that has lots of candied ginger and rhubarb sprinkled throughout. It's nice toasted for breakfast and plain with tea in the afternoon or after dinner. The lemon flavor stands out slightly more on the second day, but it is very subtle overall. Well wrapped, the loaf will keep for several days. Since there is little fat in the recipe, it makes a good, everyday sort of cake. A very good everyday sort of cake, actually.

Rhubarb and Ginger Loaf Cake
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white sugar
2 tbsp melted butter (or oil)
2 egg whites
3/4 cup milk (I used skim)
3 tbsp candied ginger, chopped
1 - 1 1/4 cup rhubarb, chopped (1-2 stalks)
1 tbsp cane sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a loaf pan.
Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
Lightly whisk butter, egg whites and milk in a medium bowl.
Pour into flour mixture and stir until mostly combined. Stir in ginger and rhubarb until entire batter is just combined.
Pour into prepared loaf pan (sprinkle with optional sugar, if desired) and bake for 45-50 minutes, until tester comes out clean.
Turn out to cool on rack after cooling for 10 minutes in the pan.