Everything in Perfect Proportion: Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble Cake

The last time I visited my hair stylist, I wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather so I walked to and from the salon in downtown Bethesda (I live in upper Northwest DC, so it's only a few miles away). On the way home, I popped into the Montgomery Farm Women's Cooperative Market, which I have passed roughly a million times before in the car but for some reason I never took the time to stop and go inside. One of the vendors was selling gorgeous slim stalks of bright red rhubarb that I could not resist. After I brought the rhubarb home, I flipped through a few cookbooks and decided to make Helen Goh and Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe for Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble Cake from Sweet.

The instructions tell you to use a springform pan (or a deep pan with a removable base) that is lined with parchment. Normally when a recipe tells me to line a round pan with parchment paper, I put a parchment circle in the bottom and call it a day. But the photo in the cookbook shows a pan that also has parchment paper around the circumference of the cake, so I lined the sides of the pan as well.

This cake has three components -- a vanilla cake batter, a strawberry-rhubarb fruit layer, and a brown sugar-coconut crumble. To make the cake, you cream room temperature butter with powdered sugar; add eggs and vanilla; and incorporated the sifted dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt). You spread the batter evenly in the cake pan, and then top it with the fruit layer, which is a 50-50 mix of rhubarb and strawberries, brown sugar, tapioca flour, lemon juice, vanilla bean seeds, and salt. Finally, you sprinkle on a crumble made from melted butter, brown sugar, flour, shredded coconut, and salt.
This cake was lovely. The proportions of cake to fruit to crumble were perfect, and the fruit was juicy and bright without being too wet or making the cake soggy. I loved the coconut in the crumble, which was buttery and substantial. Also, the cake held together well and sliced cleanly, so it was easy to serve and eat. If I have one complaint, it's that I couldn't make out the separate flavors of the strawberries and rhubarb -- but I had to use supermarket strawberries for the cake, which were pretty flavorless. Still, my tasters gave the cake rave reviews and I was delighted with how it came out.

Recipe: "Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble Cake" from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, recipe available here on BuzzFeed.

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