Ruby’s Rhubarb Crunch Cake

Ruby’s Rhubarb Crunch Cake
Everyone, I want you to meet Ruby.  Well, meet this sweet picture of Ruby.  She, unfortunately, left this Earth to be with her creator over a year ago, but when you make a mark on people’s lives, as she did mine, you live on forever.  
Ruby lived across the street from my Grandmother forever.  Her kids played with my Mom and Aunt when they were growing up.  Our families were so close that her granddaughter, Hilary, and I used to say we were cousins when we were young.  I guess we are related by many branches on the family tree, but we were as close as first cousins growing up.  The other day I was digging through my personal cookbook that has little pockets at each section, when I came across a hand written recipe, by Ruby, for “Rhubarb Crunch Cake” stuffed in one of the pockets.  When I unfolded it and saw her handwriting the memories of her came flooding back.  I recalled being a very young girl, maybe 5 or 6, and standing on a stool in Ruby’s kitchen watching her cook.  She was most famous for her amazing ravioli’s, but her culinary awesomeness didn’t stop there.  Anything from her kitchen was sure to be out of this world and I knew I had to make her Rhubarb Crunch Cake and share it here with all of you.  The only thing missing was a picture of this wonderful woman.  So I contacted my “cousin” Hilary to see if she had one.  Low and behold the picture above was in my inbox.  Seeing her smile and her perfect black hair brought back the strangest memory ever.  The smell of her house.  I have no idea why that was the first sense, but it was and I was filled with joy.  That’s what I hope for my children and their children is to remember the smell of my home when I’m no longer here to create it.  What a fabulous memory.  What a fabulous woman.  I miss you Ruby and I know that you are looking down and smiling looking beautiful as ever and laughing with your infectious laugh.  Here’s a hunk of Rhubarb Cake just for you!

You need 3 cups worth of fresh Rhubarb cut small.  Go raid the neighbors house (or 2 of them) if you need more.

Umm, yes I might be speaking from experience.

Thanks Anjel and Ron for your rhubarb kindness!

Dice it up.  Small is what you want so the rhubarb “melts” into the cake and doesn’t leave woody chunks.  That’s no bueno.

Toss the rhubarb in a bowl and add a 3 oz package of strawberry gelatin (I used sugar-free Jell-O brand)

Add 2-3 cups of fresh strawberries chopped.  And stir together.  Set aside.
Note: I used part fresh and part thawed frozen berries.  Do as I say, not as I do.  It made the cake VERY moist and almost mushy.  So stick with fresh only.  Got it?  Good.

Moving on….

In the bowl of your mixer add 2 sticks of room temperature butter (1 cup).  Cream until light and fluffy.

Add in 1 1/4 cups white sugar and cream some more.

Ever wonder why it’s called “cream”?  Isn’t it already cream?

Sorry

Add 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 cup of milk and beat it until incorporated. (notice I didn’t say “cream”?)

Add 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the butter mixture and mix until just incorporated.

Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish and pour in half of the batter mixture.  
Top with half of the rhubarb/strawberry mixture and then repeat with remaining batter and rhubarb.

In a small bowl mix together 3/4 cup of dark brown sugar, 3 tablespoons white sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 3/4 cup chopped nuts of choice.

Note 2: I don’t like nuts in my baked goods….so I omitted that part of this recipe.  So if you’re looking for them in the next picture, sorry.  No can do!

Top the cake with the nut & brown sugar topping.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until the center is done and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Slice and EAT!  Delicious!  Even with my mess up on the strawberries and omission of the nuts, this cake was very good.  You definitely want to give it a shot.

Ruby’s Rhubarb Crunch Cake
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Ingredients
Cake
3 cups fresh rhubarb, cut small
2-3 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
1 3 oz package of strawberry gelatin
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Topping
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped nuts (of choice)

Instructions
1 Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside.
2 In a large bowl, mix together the rhubarb, strawberries and strawberry gelatin.  Set aside.
3 In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and cream until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and cream until combined.  Add the eggs, vanilla and milk and mix to incorporate well.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until just combined.
4 In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the topping and set aside.
5 Spread half of the cake batter in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Top with half of the rhubarb mixture and then repeat with remaining batter and rhubarb.  Sprinkle the top with the topping mixture.
6 Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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