Friday, June 2, 2017

This Time of Year

When I was growing up, every year in May, Mom went on a rhubarb cake frenzy. Her sister, her boss, several friends and even herself all had birthdays in May. A friend of hers, who raised corn and gladiolas (probably other stuff, but those are the things I remember), also grew rhubarb plants. So every May, she would fork over paper grocery bags full of rhubarb, which Mom baked into nontraditional birthday cakes for everyone she knew.

At the time, I didn’t like rhubarb cake. I didn’t like raisins, walnuts, or oatmeal either. I still can’t tolerate a bowl of cooked oatmeal – it’s like eating phlegm – but at least I’ll eat me some oatmeal cookies now. I’ve expanded my tastes and textures (except when it comes to phlegm), so have grown fond of rhubarb cake.

Here’s Ma’s recipe, as I copied it from her hand-written index card.

Rhubarb Cake
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
¾ cup milk
1 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp soda
2 cups raw rhubarb
Mix as for cake. Put in 9 x 12 pan
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup chopped nuts
Pat on topping. Bake 350 for 40 minutes

 For those of you who want exact measures, I use ½ teaspoon salt. Mom had an old yellow coffee cup with a broken handle that she kept on her stove filled with salt. Whenever she was cooking or baking, she’d dip a kitchen spoon in the salt and add a random amount to whatever she was making. It always worked. And the cinnamon? At least a teaspoon, coz you can’t have too much cinnamon. Also, the pan needs to be greased. I also cut back on the brown and white sugar in the topping to a third cup. It’s good with more, but messy coz it’s too thick to bake into the cake.


One last thought on rhubarb cake. When we were camping one time, Mom took a rhubarb cake along to eat. She stored it in the camper’s oven when we were traveling, but forgot it when we got home. A couple weeks later, looking for that metal cake pan, she remembered where she’d left it. I don’t remember what was left of the cake as being a moldy, dried up mess. What I do remember though, after we scraped it out, was that the acid from the rhubarb had eaten holes in the metal pan. Just a word to the wise. 

1 comment:

Denise said...

I do not like anything Rhubarb but I do like oatmeal, walnuts & raisins.