This is my favorite time of year, after the cold desolate winter is over and spring explodes with life and color. And produce is fresh and plentiful! In my opinion there is nothing better than fresh fruit in its season. Wait, maybe there is something better- fresh fruit that you can pick from your very own backyard. Lucky for me, our house came with a backyard full of perennial fruits, vegetables and herbs. In the far back against the shed is the rhubarb, which has already grown unbelievably large. Since we have so much of it, I’ve been looking at a lot of varying recipes that call for rhubarb. Consider yourself warned, you’re going to see a lot of rhubarb here in the next few months.

Fresh rhurbarb from the garden
Rhurbarb filling

To start off, I made this Sour cream coffee cake with rhubarb filling and a big crumb topping. I’d had my eye on it for a while and jumped at the chance to make it as soon as the rhubarb was ready. I thought it turned out really well. It was delicious, no doubt, but wasn’t too sweet for breakfast, which is what I was concerned about. It was exactly what I would expect from a coffee cake.

Big crumb coffee cake with rhubarb

The only thing I’d change for next time is I think I’d almost double the amount of rhubarb, or maybe add strawberries. The ratio of fruit to cake was a little off. Still, this recipe is a keeper and I think I may even play around with other fruit fillings such as peaches, pears, and berries.

Coffee cake with rhubarb filling

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Rhubarb Filling and Crumb Topping
Makes 9 large pieces of cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces

For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumb topping:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1 3/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 8 x 8 square cake pan.

For the cake, mix together the sour cream, whole egg, egg yolk, and vanilla in a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and one spoonful of the sour cream mixture. Mix until flour is moistened, about 30 seconds. Add the rest of the sour cream mixture in two additions, mixing well after each addition. Pour cake batter into prepared cake pan.

For the rhubarb filling, cut rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss with cornstarch and spices. Spoon over the cake batter.

For the crumb topping, stir together the sugars, spices, salt and butter until smooth. Stir in flour with a spatula. It will look like a solid dough. Break it apart with your fingers into large “crumbs”. Sprinkle over cake. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before serving.

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