Spring has sprung so much that it’s beginning to feel like summer. It was 87 degrees here in Portland today, and while my baby tomato sprouts seem to be enjoying the heat, I must say I didn’t enjoy the reminder of what it’s like to sleep in a former attic with no air conditioning. Jeremy and I are going to get one of those air humidifier cooler things to see if that helps, but I’m hoping that the temperature goes down again, though, if not for our sake than at least for my spring produce that’s baking under the hot glaring sun (I’m looking at you, peas).
I was soooo excited to be able to harvest some rhubarb from the garden for the first time this year (if you’re on SnapChat you can follow along with my gardening frenzy @evakosmasflores). I’ve had my rhubarb plant for the past two summers, but they always say to wait a year or two and let it get established before you start picking it. So, I waited very patiently, and then when I saw the GIANT leaves (seriously, each leaf is as big as two of my heads) and thick magenta stalks, I knew that it was strong enough to take a little pulling. I decided to whip up a rhubarb cake with my new produce addition, it’s wonderfully fragrant and dense and has a slightly nutty flavor from the almond meal. I made a little vanilla syrup and poured it over the cake right after it came out from the oven, which made it even more moist and super soft in texture (amazing!) It’s one of those desserts that tastes as good as they look, which in this case is saying something.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a roughly 12 x 9-inch sheet pan , line the bottom with parchment paper, and set it aside.
For the cake, mix together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt in a large bowl until combined. Set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add both yolks at once and beat until smooth. Add the honey and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Add half of the flour mixture and mix until partially incorporated, then add half of the milk and mix until smooth. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until nearly incorporated, then add the remaining milk and mix until completely smooth.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Lay the rhubarb stalks long-ways in the pan on top of the cake batter. Place the pan in the oven and bake until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.
While the cake is baking, prepare the vanilla syrup. In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and set aside to cool.
As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, pour the syrup over it. Allow the cake to cool completely, then then sprinkle with the sliced almonds and powdered sugar. Serve immediately.