May 29, 2011

strawberry rhubarb yogurt cake

With the bounty of rhubarb and strawberries I brought home from the farmers' market on Friday, it seemed only fitting to make a cake. 

There are so many tempting recipes out there for strawberry and rhubarb desserts -- from pudding cake to krack -- it was hard to settle on one. I was thoroughly overwhelmed, with about 10 tabs open in safari, toggling back and forth and comparing ingredients and photos, when I remembered this dependable yogurt cake. I've made it on a number of occasions and always with impressive results, just what I was looking for since I wanted a recipe I felt fairly confident could tolerate a number of tweaks (taking things a few shades darker, as usual) and still turn out well. 

I used whole spelt flour in place of white flour, golden coconut palm sugar in place of white sugar, and olive oil in place of canola. I also added orange and lemon zests to liven up the cake and provide a fresh, citrusy foundation for the sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb. 

With plenty of fruit left to play around with after getting the cake into the oven, I decided to make a coulis to serve alongside. So simple: just rhubarb simmered with fresh orange juice and a little palm sugar until it falls apart and gets all saucy, then blended with strawberries and a little more orange juice till it forms a silky, pourable sauce. Sweet and tart perfection.

I also froze a portion of the sauce after being hit by the following revelation: a spoonful of this stuff would make a fantastic dog-days-of-summer cocktail stirred into a glass of prosecco, or, if we're feeling really festive, blended with tequila and lime juice for a kicker of a margarita. That could make a 100-degree July-in-nyc day almost tolerable. {Well, that and a strong air conditioner; even one that sounds like a jackhammer crossed with a lawn mower.}

And finally, the piece de resistance: a slice of citrusy, fruit-studded, sweet-tart strawberry rhubarb cake with a melty scoop of vanilla Haagen Dazs and a drizzle of tangy strawberry-rhubarb coulis. Heavenly.

strawberry rhubarb yogurt cake
Adapted from Orangette

I was a bit overzealous in adding the strawberries and rhubarb to the cake batter, and the finished cake was a bit soggy on the bottom. Delicious, but soggy. I have halved the amounts in the recipe below.

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup unrefined sugar (I used coconut palm sugar; sucanat or rapadura would work as well)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used whole milk yogurt, but low fat or nonfat would work too)
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 1 Tbsp) (save juice for coulis, below)
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tsp)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole spelt flour 
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (purchased or ground in the food processor from about 1/2 cup [rounded] of whole almonds)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced rhubarb (1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered, depending on size

Heat oven to 350 F and grease a 9-inch round cake pan

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, yogurt, orange zest, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Add the flour and almond meal and mix until just combined. Add the olive oil and whisk until incorporated (the batter will separate at first but then come together again).

Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the rhubarb and strawberries evenly over the batter, then pour the remaining batter on top.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool the cake on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before transferring to a plate. Serve with strawberry rhubarb coulis and vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

strawberry rhubarb coulis
makes about 3 cups (freeze any leftover sauce for cocktails!)

  • 2 cups sliced rhubarb
  • 2 Tbsp coconut palm sugar
  • juice of one orange, divided (about 1/2 cup total)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved

Bring the rhubarb, sugar, half of the orange juice, and water to a boil in a covered saucepan. Lower heat and simmer until the rhubarb becomes very soft, 5 to 8 minutes.

Remove rhubarb mixture from heat. Transfer to a blender, add strawberries and remaining orange juice and puree until smooth and pourable. Thin with a little more orange juice or water if the sauce is too thick.


  1. I love your healthy additions to this lovely cake. I am adding this to my very short dessert list to make this summer. Thank you so much!

  2. Yum, what a healthy indulgence! Love all your substitutions for the usual suspects.

  3. Hi Nancy, I have made that same pudding cake, with success, and to the delight of many. Your version of the yogurt cake looks like a real winner too, only surpassed by that gorgeous coulis!

  4. thanks, Lentil B!

    Nancy - I might have to try the pudding cake next looks amazing. I had some of the coulis stirred into yogurt this morning. Yum!