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Cranberry (or Rhubarb) Ripple Coffee Cake

This is the recipe for Rhubarb Ripple Coffee Cake – I used cranberry sauce in place of rhubarb puree, because it’s January and that’s what I had.

Cranberry coffecake, made in January 2011


Rhubarb coffecake, made in spring ’08

1 1/3 cups rhubarb puree* or cranberry sauce (I used the last of the Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, that had been in the freezer, drained)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (3/4 cup )
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
grated zest of one orange
pinch of salt
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C, gas mark 4), and grease a 9-inch springform pan, or cake pan.
Mix the flour and sugar, and cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly and mealy, using a mixer, pastry blender or your hands. Set aside a half cup of the crumbs for topping. Stir the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, orange zest and salt into the remaining flour/sugar/butter crumb mixture. Mix the egg, vanilla, almond extract, and buttermilk in a spouted measuring cup, pour into the dry ingredients, and stir to make a soft batter.
Spread a thin layer of batter over the bottom and slightly up the sides of the baking pan. Spread the rhubarb or cranberry sauce on top of batter. Spoon or dollop remaining batter over the filling layer, and smooth it out as best as possible. Sprinkle on reserved crumb topping.
Bake for 40 – 50 minutes until puffed and firm in the middle.

Makes 8 to 10 servings – but three of us (including one teenaged boy) ate almost half a cake for breakfast one Sunday morning.

Basic rhubarb puree

3 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb (start with about a pound)
3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 TBLS cornstarch – NOTE: this much cornstarch makes a very thick puree, so that the coffee cake will not be soggy. For rhubarb sauce, reduce or omit the cornstarch.
Optional additions – orange, lemon, or lime juice or zest; you can put in strips of citrus peel while the puree cooks and fish them out after, for a subtle citrus flavor; ditto for cinnamon stick or vanilla bean or slices of fresh ginger; mix in vanilla or almond extract after the puree is cooked

In the microwave: Toss the rhubarb, sugar, and cornstarch together in a microwave safe covered dish (like a glass, 2-qt. covered casserole). Microwave on high for about 5 minutes, stir, and then microwave for about another 5 minutes until the fruit is completely soft. Stir until you have a fairly smooth puree.

On the stove: Combine all ingredients in a 1 1/2 qt, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, and cook on low heat, covered, for about 5 minutes, until the fruit starts releasing juice. Continue to cook for another 5 – 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the sauce is smooth and thick.

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