I flew west last week for an impromptu visit. Stepping both feet in California was like taking a breath of fresh air. Spending time under the sun or under tall trees. Enjoying home-cooked meals with family. The trip was just what I needed to soothe the stresses of everyday life.
During my visit, Karl and I drove north of San Francisco to hike Point Reyes. The hike was beautiful. The loop had parts that were directly adjacent to the beach. We veered off our well-defined trail to wet our hands in the ocean and poke mysterious objects/animals washed up on the shore.
Because we had gone too far down the beach, we had to climb up a small, rocky hill to get back to our trail. That was the easy part. At the top of the hill, there was about 20 feet of tall, grassy land between us and our trail that we had to walk across. Karl immediately suggested he go ahead first. He knew I was hesitant to cross this field because of my fear of snakes lurking in such grassy land. I heard his suggestion, but it was too late. My sympathetic nervous system was activated and I booked it across the field. I never ran so fast in my life. The only thing I could think about was getting back on the trail, where I could see my feet again. I was literally one foot away from the hiking trail when I stepped in a hole and came crashing down. I had twisted my left foot and couldn’t get myself back up. After several minutes of uttering “ow” repeatedly, I was able to walk and finish the hike with a little limp. When asked “why are you limping”, I just told everyone, “the snakes got to me”. And that was the truth!
Sprig and Flours turned one last week! I cannot believe I have been blogging for one year now. It feels like only yesterday I was working on this carrot cake. The learning never stops, and the joys blogging brings to me are endless as well. As a birthday present to S&F, Karl created this beautiful recipe index for the blog. This blog would have never started without the help, encouragement, and love from Karl.
During these gorgeous spring days, I dream of strawberries and rhubarb. Since it’s a birthday, cake was in order. Baking, frosting, and decorating this strawberry rhubarb cake was so much fun. It has been so long (too long!) since I made a cake.
Rhubarb, tart in nature and tough in its rawest form, pairs so nicely with strawberries in desserts – this cake is the perfect example. To start, I created a strawberry rhubarb compote, then pureed it so that it could be easily incorporated into the batter and frosting. The cake was moist, dense, and delicious. The frosting that blankets it was heavenly.
- 1½ cups fresh strawberries, chopped
- ½ cup rhubarb, chopped
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons strawberry-flavored gelatin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup strawberry rhubarb compote (see recipe above)
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups +3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 3 tablespoons strawberry rhubarb compote (see recipe above)
- 2 teaspoons gold sprinkles (optional)
- baby's breath stems (optional)
- ½ whole strawberry (optional)
- In a medium saucepan, cook the strawberries, rhubarb, and the sugar over medium heat for 10 minutes, until it thickens. Stir occasionally.
- Pour into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Cover and cool at room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease two 8'' round baking pans with butter then dust with flour. Line the bottom of baking pans with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk and baking soda, the set aside.
- With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and eggs, one egg at a time. Continue to mix until incorporated. Stop once or twice to scrape down the sides. Mix in the strawberry gelatin and salt, then add the buttermilk mixture and strawberry rhubarb compote. Slowly add the cornstarch and flour, and mix until just incorporated (do not overmix).
- Evenly distribute the batter into the two prepared cake pans. Wrap the cake pans with baking strips for leveled cakes (optional).
- Bake for 28-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
- With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugar together, on medium-low speed until the sugar is mostly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high, and mix for 5 minutes, until smooth and fluffy. Slowly add the strawberry rhubarb compote and milk, mix for another 3 minutes. Stop once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Frost over cooled cakes.
- Add gold sprinkles along the rim of the cake. Arrange baby's breath stems around the plate of the cake. Place the halved strawberry on the center of the cake.