Rhubarb & Blueberry Crumble Cakes

Blueberry Crumble in Tulip Cup by Dena T Bray©

Hello All:

Despite the sunshine yesterday morning, I felt dark inside. For no particular reason, a cloud was hanging over my head. I didn’t understand it. I’d had time to linger over coffee and the Sunday paper. I ate a leisurely breakfast with my husband. And the light was perfect—rich blues and vibrant golds filtered through soft clouds onto our breakfast patio behind the house. Everything looked and seemed perfect for the photoshoot I was imagining to capture images for this post.

Sunlit Blueberries by Dena T Bray©
Rhubarb & Blueberry Crumble Cakes on Parchment

But perfection alluded me, and things didn’t go as planned. By the time I got everything together―props, camera gear, the prettiest of the little cakes to photograph―the light had shifted from soft to hard and the photos I had imagined just didn’t happen. The cakes themselves were an untraditional shape, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t photograph them the way I wanted. It was time to stop.

When I have something in mind to accomplish, it is hard for me to let go even when conditions are just not right for success. So, I had to push myself away from my work and out the door for my daily walk—a ritual I cherish. Perhaps my neighbors think I am crazy or perhaps they have grown accustomed to seeing me on the same stretch of road daily, no matter what the weather. But for me, these walks are both a comfort and a way to energize myself. I know where I am going, know every inch of the meandering road, so I can be free to let my thoughts go where they may. On these walks, I unleash my spirit.

By the time I headed home, a bright orange poppy fell off its stem into the field of wildflowers next to the Appalachian Trail. It leapt out at me, as if to say take me home along with a few stalks of yellow buttercups and a white iris. With all this beauty right in hand, I could finally feel the joy I’d longed for. And I could begin again at creating the images I wanted for this post.

Poppie in Air by Dena T Bray©
Crumble in Bowl with Spoon by Dena T Bray©

These Rhubarb and Blueberry Crumble Cakes also didn’t go as planned. Based on a recipe for a traditional blueberry muffin, I watched them puff up in the oven as expected, then suddenly deflate and spill over the side of the muffin tins. Once removed from their paper wrappings, they crumbled into my bowl, having a texture more like a cross between a pudding and cake. Not perfect, but you know what? I wouldn’t have wanted them any other way. They are especially delicious and wonderful to eat with a healthy portion of more fresh blueberries on top and a cup of hot coffee in the morning. They are in their own way, perfect.

I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.

Dena

Blueberry Crumble Cake by Dena T Bray©

RHUBARB AND BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE CAKES

Yield: 12 Cakes

Ingredients:

For the topping:

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup pine nuts or almonds, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces

For the batter:

  • ½ cup frozen wild blueberries
  • ½ cup tender stalks rhubarb, rinsed, trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup dark molasses
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup buttermilk

For Serving:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed 2 cups vanilla yogurt (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with tulip cups or traditional cupcake cups.
  3. To prepare the topping, place all the ingredients in a small bowl. Working with your fingertips, break the butter into small pieces and blend all the ingredients together. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  4. To prepare the batter, place the blueberries and rhubarb in a small bowl. Add the 1 tablespoon of flour and toss to coat the fruit evenly. Place in the refrigerator while you mix  the rest of the batter.
  5. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, molasses and honey. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and buttermilk. Stir to combine. Add the dry ingredients and stir in just until they are combined. Pour in the reserved fruit and gently stir into the batter.
  6. Divide the batter evenly in the prepared muffin tin. Top evenly with the reserved, chilled topping mixture.
  7. Place in oven and bake until the cakes are puffed and the tops golden, about 35 to 45 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool ever so slightly.
  9. Peel off the cupcake cups and transfer the cakes to serving bowls. Serve warm, with more blueberries and vanilla yogurt, if you like.
  10. Enjoy.

Notes:

  1. This recipe was inspired by a Blueberry Muffin recipe which appeared recently on Lottie and Doof. His recipe was taken from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook.
  2. These cakes are extremely moist and crumbly. Don't be alarmed if they spill over the top of the muffin cups and fall apart when you remove the cupcake liners.  It is best to serve them in a bowl with a spoon.
  3. If you are not using them right away, store in an airtight container. Reheat before serving.
  4. For breakfast, consider serving them with more fresh fruit, hot tea or coffee, and some scrambled eggs.

White Flowers in Basket by Dena T Bray©