Don’t tell Marie Antoinette, but bread and cake have become a little indistinguishable around here these days. So be nice to your friends, call it bread, and let them eat cake — for breakfast.
Of course, Marie Antoinette never actually said that, and by some accounts was actually a pretty cool cat. Perception is a funny thing, and it’s all fun and games until someone brings the guillotine out. (Call that a dark turn if you must, but this exists, so I think I get a pass. (Also, there’s a knife for that, people!))
You’re not here for French history, though, so back to the cake. I’ve done a fair amount of rhubarb experimenting lately, and had nothing to show for it until now, because honestly, everything came out underwhelming. Underwhelming and, in the case of pickled rhubarb — so promising on a pork schnitzel sandwich — gross as hell.
A rhubarb mousse and a misguided pie later, I’m ready to admit that cooked rhubarb, by itself, tastes a little like dishwater. It needs help, whether from ginger and onion in a savory relish or sweet, fragrant strawberries in pie.
Naturally, the next step is finding help that isn’t the usual suspects. Coconut is tremendously well suited here, bringing a creaminess to balance out the bright ruby tartness.
Also! Another exciting thing: This is very close to being vegan. Adding a little more coconut cream and a lot more baking powder could probably get you there, but I haven’t tried it, so please don’t be mad if it turns into a hot mess. Mashed banana is also a fine egg substitute, but would obviously change up the flavor.
Veganized or not, I do hope you get to play with rhubarb before it leaves us for the season. And if you happen to have a bagel guillotine, rest assured I’m not judging you one bit. I have white food coloring (WTF for 400, Alex). I’ve used it, and probably will again… So I’m not one to talk.
Cheerio, and happy spring to YOU.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup coconut milk (canned, full-fat)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon natural coconut extract (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid state)
- 2 cups diced rhubarb
- 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a 9x5 loaf pan by greasing, lining with parchment paper, then greasing the parchment.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk together the coconut milk, eggs, extract and/or ginger, if using, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat coconut oil and sugar with a handheld mixer on medium speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Lower speed and add half of the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Add the egg/milk mixture followed by the rest of the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated both times. Fold in the rhubarb.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading all the way to the edges. Top with shredded coconut, pressing lightly into the batter. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven. Remove foil and bake for 35-40 minutes more, until toothpick inserted in the center comes clean (cover with foil again if coconut gets too brown). Cool for 15 minutes in the pan on a rack, then remove from pan and cool on rack completely before serving.