This has been a week for appliances and household items to take a shit. Our air conditioning broke during a heat wave (of course). Now we find out we need a new furnace and heat pump. Our new washing machine began to leak and created a nice little flood in our laundry room (on the upside, the floor has never been cleaner!). Our way too expensive, professional quality steam iron decided to leak water through the cord (that seems a bit unsafe). Our clock stopped working. Our thermostat broke. After turning on the outdoor hose bibs for gardening, we realized that this is the year for them to start leaking incessantly (they’ll need to be replaced).
Oh, and now that I think of it … one of our window blinds broke the other day. On the same day that my daughter fell off a swing and broke her arm. WTF? I’m starting to scare myself.
So, when I recently saw a puddle of murky water in the refrigerator, I was pretty sure that it was the next thing to go. But alas, it was just a puddle from some decomposing rhubarb that I hadn’t used up — because I never use up my rhubarb. I guess I just don’t see the point of eating something that requires five cups of sugar just to make it palatable. I cook it down, make rhubarb applesauce or the occasional strawberry-rhubarb pie or crisp, but there’s always a never ending supply. And then even more in the freezer from last summer.
I decided to take a tried and true, delicious recipe, Aunt Cherry’s Oatmeal Cake, and see what some rhubarb would do to it. It was very good, but not surprisingly, because nothing could really mess up Aunt Cherry’s cake. It is a sticky, oozy mess of a dessert that you can eat for breakfast. And the rhubarb version makes a delicious dessert with some whipped cream or ice cream, but I also served it as rhubarb coffee cake for breakfast with guests.
I’d like nothing more than to bake one right now, but I must go down a rabbit hole into customer service and extended warranty and “we’ll be there between 2 and midnight” hell. Oh, just a moment. This is shocking. I just went to enter a warranty claim for my washing machine and guess what? The system is down.
Aunt Cherry’s Rhubarb Cake
Makes one 9 inch by 13 inch cake
1 cup oats (I used old fashioned)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2-3 cups of diced rhubarb
1 cup pumpkin seeds (or other chopped nuts), toasted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup of milk
6 T butter, melted
1 t vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut (not sweetened)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together dry cake ingredients: oats, white sugar, brown sugar, whole wheat pastry flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Make sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar.
3. Add boiling water to dry ingredients. Using an electric mixer, beat in softened butter (1 stick). When incorporated, beat in eggs one at a time. The batter will be thin. Pour into greased 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking pan. Stir in diced rhubarb.
4. In a small bowl, mix together topping ingredients: pumpkin seeds, brown sugar, white sugar, milk, melted butter, vanilla, and coconut. Drop in small dollops all over the unbaked cake batter.
5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Remove and cool on a rack.