You guys, I am really, really excited about this post! A couple of months ago, I got an email asking if I was interested in learning more about a new cookbook called The Lost Kitchen: Recipes and a Good Life found in Freedom, Maine. The title caught my attention so I read on, and quickly realized that this sounded like one of the coolest cookbooks, ever. They sent over a copy and I’m so excited to share a recipe from it today: rhubarb spoon cake. It’s so ridiculously good and easy to make, too!
First, a little more about this book…Food & Wine did a good piece on the chef, Erin French, and how she’s overcome many challenges to get where she is today. Her restaurant is somewhere I could only dream to dine (this is why) so I’ll settle for the book for now. The recipes are mostly unfussy and straightforward–there’s everything from potato salad and Maine Shrimp Rolls, to four different types of mayo, cocktails for each season, and 11-minute lobster, and more intricate concoctions like Tea-Brined Duck Breast with Fried Potato & Warm Lentil Salad and Black Bass with Summer Beans & Bee Balm Bread Salad. One of my favorite parts of the book is that Erin incorporates a lot about Maine and it’s relationship with food, as well as talks about a lot of cooking essentials–think, how to work with a cast iron skillet, and mastering versatile techniques like making homemade custard and whipped cream. Essentially, I’d absolutely recommend this book for anyone who has a love for New England cooking, Maine, or just really good, flavorful food that you can make at home. It’s unpretentious and just really beautiful through and through!
Now, onto the spoon cake…J and I made this Saturday night for dessert. One of my oldest friends came over (she just moved to DC…yay!) and it was a total hit. It also makes for great leftovers–it was breakfast this morning. Just make sure and don’t do what we did…leave it in the cast iron skillet overnight. Apparently you’re not supposed to do that when you cook with a skillet. #newbies.
Rhubarb Spoon Cake
Serves 8; recipe via The Lost Kitchen
– 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
– 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– ½ cup sugar
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 1 large egg
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– ½ cup whole milk
– ¼ cup sour cream
– Rhubarb compote (recipe follows)
– Whipped cream (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, with butter and flour, shaking out any excess flour. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, milk, sour cream, and melted butter. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated.
Pour about two-thirds of the compote into the greased skillet and spread evenly. Pour the cake batter over it, spread evenly, then dollop the remaining compote over the top. Use a butter knife to swirl together the batter and compote.
Bake until a cake tester or knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. I like to serve this warm, directly from the skillet, with a big spoon and a bowl of whipped cream to dollop on top.
For the rhubarb compote:
– 3 cups rhubarb cut into 1-inch pieces (about eight stalks–I used a little more since we bought extra)
– ⅔ cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
– 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
– 2 teaspoons cornstarch
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until the rhubarb becomes tender and sauce-like, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. This will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Makes approximately 3 cups.
For the whipped cream:
I hate to admit that we used store-bought (time was of the essence) but I fully plan on making this fresh batch soon. It’s probably 1000x better!
– 1 pint heavy cream
– 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a stand mixer or working by hand with a whisk, preferably with a chilled bowl, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla on high speed until soft peaks form. Makes 2 cups.
*This is the cast iron skillet we have! It was our first time using it and so far, so good.