Fresh Rhubarb Cake with Cardamom Syrup


by Heather Harris Brady

Longtime readers will doubtless remember my rhubarb epiphany mentioned last year, but I couldn’t very well do that pie again. So, with a big, crispy bunch of rhubarb in hand I decided to dream up something else.


Dorie Greenspan did a fig cake with a sauce reduction so I borrowed that idea and came up with this cake. If you’re new to brown butter you can find instructions under the link.

Fresh Rhubarb Cake, Makes one 8″ square cake

1 c. water
2/3 c. sugar
1 lb. rhubarb, cleaned and diced
1 T. lemon juice
1 ripe pear (optional)
3 green cardamom pods
1 stick butter, browned and cooled
¾ c. brown sugar
¼ c. white sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
2 t. baking powder
1-3/4 c. flour
½ c. plain yogurt
½ t. coriander
½ t. cardamom
½ c. crumbs (bread, cookie or cake)

Combine the first two ingredients in a saucepan and bring them to a boil.


Add the rhubarb and cook about five minutes, just until it starts to get tender. Dice the pear, toss it with the lemon juice then stir into the rhubarb mixture and set it aside.

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the sugars into the browned butter, then stir in the eggs and vanilla.


Stir the flour and baking powder together. Stir half of it into the batter, then stir in the yogurt, followed by the remaining flour and the spices. You should have a thick, creamy batter.

Grease an 8” square pan and spoon in the batter. Top it with the fruit, draining as much of the lovely pink poaching liquid as possible.


Bake for about 20 minutes, or until nearly baked through. At that point sprinkle the crumbs and cinnamon on top, return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the center is firm.

While the cake is baking add the cardamom pods to the poaching liquid and boil quickly until reduced by half.



Remove the pods and set the sauce aside.



Serve the cake warm with a spoonful of sauce over the top.


Store leftovers covered at room temperature. Since the cake is made with browned butter, the flavor is actually better the second day.

One year ago: Quick Cuban Black Bean Soup


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