Rustic Rhubarb Cake
- Filling: 1 pound trimmed rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- Dough: 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg, separated
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- Place your oven rack in the middle position, then preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate with butter and set aside.
- For the filling: Combine the rhubarb, sugar, and orange zest in a bowl. Set aside while you prepare the dough.
- For the dough: In a small bowl, whisk together the orange zest, buttermilk, and egg yolk (keep the whites for brushing to the top of the cake). Set this bowl aside.
- In large bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt; stir well to combine the ingredients. Add the butter and cut it in with a pastry blender or two until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and egg mixture from the small bowl and stir until just combined. Do not overwork the dough or the cake may turn out tough. Gather the dough into a large ball, then cut in half.
- On a lightly floured work surface, pat one half of the dough into a flat disk, then gently roll it out into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Add the rhubarb mixture, including any juices. Pat the remaining piece of dough into a flat disk, and roll it into a 12-inch circle. Place the dough on top of the rhubarb filling. Use a knife to cut the edges of the top and bottom pastry so it is even with edge of the pie plate. Press the edges together to seal the dough. You can either discard the extra dough, or use it to create garnish for the top of the cake.
- Cut 3 to 4 slits in the top dough to allow steam to escape during baking. Add 1 teaspoon of cold water to the reserved egg white and whisk lightly. Brush the egg over the top crust, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Place the cake in the oven and bake until the top is golden and the rhubarb is tender, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. Cut the cake into wedges and serve warm. It is delicious with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
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