Rhubarb Almond Cake

Rhubarb Almond Cake
This cake tastes even better than it sounds. I turned to this recipe because I had rhubarb on hand, but didn’t want to go to the trouble of a pie, and it turned out just as pretty as the magazine picture, and tasted just summer-perfect. I’ve been waiting so long to have a rhubarb plant and it’s so wonderful picking it. Aaah, summer. This recipe comes from the April 2015 Bon Appetit.

Rhubarb Almond Cake

  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 c. plus 3 T. sugar, plus more for pan
  • 1 lb. rhubarb stalks, trimmed
  • 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. blanched almonds
  • 1 t. baking powder (3/4 t. if at high altitude)
  • 3/4 t. kosher salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 c. plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter tart pan and sprinkle with sugar, tapping out excess. Slice rhubarb in half lengthwise (quarter if very large). Set 8 of the prettiest pieces aside for the top of the cake; chop remaining rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces. Pulse flour, almonds, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until almonds are finely ground (texture should be sandy).

Place 1 cup butter and 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; reserve pod for another use. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to blend first egg before adding second. Beat until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients, followed by yogurt. Beat, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed, just to combine (batter will be thick). Fold in chopped rhubarb and scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth batter and arrange reserved rhubarb over top; sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons sugar.

Place tart pan on a large rimmed baking sheet (to catch any rogue juices) and bake, rotating once, until cake is golden brown and rhubarb on top is soft and beginning to brown, 70–80 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cake cool before removing from pan.

Do ahead: Cake can be baked 3 days ahead. Keep tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Green Peas, Mint, & Ricotta Pasta

Fregola from epi
This dish, from Bon Appetit back in April, looked so pretty, I couldn’t wait to try it. I have to say, it cooked up looking quite a bit less brothy than this image shows, but it was simple and delicious, and has ingredients I almost always have on hand. These are the type of dishes I like to keep in my pocket, so I can pull them together whenever I need. I also loved the little bit of mint in this dish. So bright & springy, as well as great to use a little more mint from my garden.

Green Peas, Mint & Ricotta Pasta

  • 1 1/4 c. fregola, or other short pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 T. olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 oz. bacon (about 3 slices), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • 2 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. shelled fresh peas (from about 1 pound pods) or frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 T. chopped fresh mint, plus leaves for serving
  • 4 oz. ricotta

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until very al dente, 6–8 minutes. Drain pasta (do not rinse), reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium and cook bacon, stirring often, until bacon is brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until skillet is almost dry, about 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Add fregola and cook, stirring often, until pasta is just al dente and broth is thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add peas and chopped mint and cook, stirring, until peas are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add pasta cooking liquid as needed to adjust consistency.

Serve topped with ricotta, mint, and cracked pepper and drizzled with oil.