Orange Rhubarb Cake, Gluten and Dairy Free

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Nothing puts me in a better mood and energizes me more than springtime in Dallas.  Its’ brevity requires that I enjoy every morsel it has to offer.  The brisk mornings that morph into breezy just-warm-enough days, jewel-toned petunias thriving on my patio, and new produce appearing in the markets all make for one happy lady!  April’s display of perk asparagus, plump artichokes, and the arrestingly sleek and beautiful rhubarb make me giddy–a fresh palette from which to concoct healthy deliciousness!!

Oddly enough, I never cooked with rhubarb until a few years ago.  None of my clients had ever requested it and so it wasn’t really on my radar.   Recently, a dear client mentioned that she loves rhubarb, so I’ve been experimenting with it lately.  One word that I think describes rhubarb perfectly is “punchy”–its’ bright fuschia color and over-the-top mouth-puckering sourness (think Lemon-Head candy) provide a sensory “punch”, so to speak.   Rhubarb also provides a kick of nutritional benefits, as it is rich in calcium, lutein, lycopene and vitamin K.  When choosing rhubarb, go for the brightly colored and firm stalks.  If there are any leaves still attached they should be green and fresh.  To prepare for cooking, chop off the ends and the leaves (if any).    After chopping, toss with sugar to help soften and tame the sourness.

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This recipe is for a tasty snacking cake–something you could throw together quickly and enjoy with your family in the afternoon, as we did.   You can easily omit the glaze and simply dust with powdered sugar.  The perfume of the orange zest marries well with the “zing” of the tiny pieces of rhubarb.  Coconut oil and coconut yogurt provide healthy moistness.  At some point I am going to make this into a coffee cake, by adding a walnut streusel topping.  If you beat me to it, let me know how it turns out!

Recipe for Orange Rhubarb Cake:

1 1/2 c. Gluten-Free Flour Blend

2 t. baking powder

3/4 t. salt

1 c.  sugar

1 1/2 t. orange zest

1/2 c. coconut oil, melted

2 eggs

6 oz. So Delicious Coconut Yogurt (plain or vanilla)

1 t. vanilla

1/2 c. small (1/4″) diced rhubarb (1 medium stalk)

2 T. orange juice

2 T. sugar

Glaze ingredients:

1/2 c. orange juice

reserved rhubarb juice

1/2 c. powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray an 8″ square baking pan (I used a glass Pyrex) with coconut oil.  Combine chopped rhubarb, sugar and orange zest in a small bowl and set aside.  Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.  In bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine sugar and orange zest and mix for one minute.  Add coconut oil and continue to beat at medium speed for about 2 min.  Add eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla.  Add yogurt.  Spoon in the flour mixture.  Remove rhubarb from its juice and reserve liquid for glaze.  Fold rhubarb into the cake batter.  Spread batter evenly into cake pan.  Bake in the center of the oven for 30 min. or until springy to the touch.  Allow to cool.

For the glaze:

In a small saucepan, combine orange juice and reserved rhubarb juice.  Reduce down to approximately 3 T. of liquid.  Whisk in 1/2 c. of powdered sugar. Spread mixture over the cake evenly.

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