There is a special season that only lasts a few weeks every year, and I’m not talking about summer in Chicago. That old adage, “If you blink you will miss it” has never been more appropriate than when talking about rhubarb season.

April showers bring May flowers and pretty red stalks of crisp Rhubarb. So many people think they don’t like this fruit-disguised vegetable; often it’s their own preconceived notions or the reminisce of some disgusting goo made by a distant aunt that slithered away on its own accord, just like in the movie Better Off Dead.

This is nothing like that, and the only place the cake is going is in your belly. Strawberry and rhubarb are a natural combination; the striking part of the dish comes when that tart, sweet flavor meets the tangy buttermilk ice cream. It turned out so much better than planned that I offered to make it the very next weekend for another party.

It was a good week snacking on this ice cream and cake combination until a trip to the store turned up an empty rhubarb shelf. Rhubarb hunting I went. The next store and the next were all out. The season came and went in less than 2 weeks! Looking back I should be happy I was able to bag any.

Call your local grocer and farmers market and beg them to hold their last bundle of rhubarb for you. Make this cake then write to tell my how much you can’t wait till next year’s Fat and Happy crop.

Rhubarb Strawberry Coffee Cake with Buttermilk Ice Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chilled butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
  • 2-4 tablespoons Crunchy Oat Topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the bundt pan by spraying generously with Pam. Sprinkle the crunchy oat topping on the bottom of the pan if using.

Whisk together the egg, buttermilk and vanilla and set aside. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry cutter or use your finger to break up the butter until small crumbs form. Pour in the liquid mixture and stir to combine just until everything is moistened. The dough will be quite thick.

Spoon out half of the dough into the base of the pan. You will need to spread it out with the back of a spoon. Add a good layer of the rhubarb strawberry sauce. Use about half of the sauce in the cake and save the other half for drizzling on the ice cream. Top with the remaining dough, spreading as well as you can over the sauce layer.

Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean — roughly 1 hour but this will really depend on your oven. Allow to cool slightly. Turn the cake out onto a platter. Serve with a scoop of the buttermilk ice cream and a spoonful of the rhubarb sauce.

**This makes a small bundt cake. If you’re using a regular size bundt pan, double the recipe.

Rhubarb Strawberry Sauce

  • 4 cups of cleaned and chopped Rhubarb
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons port wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch of salt

Add all the ingredients in a medium-size saucepan, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes until the rhubarb is softened. Cook longer if you want all the fruit to meld together or a little less if you want the fruit to hold its shape.

No Cook Tangy Buttermilk Ice Cream

  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cream

Using a hand held blender, mix together the lemon juice and the sugar until the sugar is dissolved. This should take just a minute. Add in the buttermilk and yogurt and mix again to combine.

Add the cream and whip on high to achieve a little volume. Pour into an ice cream maker and process as directed.

Serve with the rhubarb cake and sauce above. Allow the ice cream to sit out for about 5 minutes to soften if it has been in the freezer for more than a couple of hours.

Crunchy Oat Topping

This crunchy oat topping was left over from the cumin-scented apple and cheese pie amuse bouche recipe; it worked great for just a little extra crunch on this cake.

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/8 cup crumbled pecans
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter

In a small non-stick pan, toast the oats and pecans over low heat. Toss often and watch them closely. Just before they begin to brown, add in the butter and sugar. Toss well. Continue to toast for just a minute or two longer until to oats and pecans become golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: Once in awhile I mention a dish is “Dave Approved; recipes only receive that ranking when he (representing the unofficial male population) loves a dish that wasn’t appealing to him based on the ingredients. This definitely has Dave’s seal of approval.

For more recipes, go to Monique’s blog:

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