Rabarbara

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There is this own language every kid has. At the beginning nobody understands anything and the conversations between the child and the rest of the world is more a monologue than a dialogue. Sounds that no human being with a sense of language can recognize. It develops over time to words that sound familiar.. somehow. Eventually, these words are recognizable.. to the parents. For me this actually is quite a miracle. While everybody else just smiles, nods and looks confused, parents react to the incomprehensible syllables coming from their little ones. They even develop some sort of family-vocabulary that is only and exclusively understood by those, who spend 24 hours in the same house or at least visit often enough. Sooner or later though, all family members start to use a language understood even by the nice lady from the supermarket. However, some words and/or expressions stay within the family forever.
In my family one of these words is “Rabarbara”. When I was little, my mom used to make rhubarb cakes, stewed fruits and other rhubarb desserts. We all liked it, but the word “rabarbar” (polish for rhubarb) was too close to my mom’s name (Barbara) to distinguish the two. There is an “a” missing at the end and an additional “ra” at the beginning.. too much for a little brain of a child. Always remembering where the word ends, cutting the “a”.. no.. too much stress. “Rabarbara”.. perfect solution! It has the “ra” at the beginning AND the “a” at the end. Fits both! And it is still Rabarbara for me.. until today 🙂
When looking for a nice recipe for mother’s day, I discovered a really delicous cake on Dr.Oetker’s Webpage (as I mentioned in my last post), that connects these rhubarb-naming memories with my passion for baking and trying new recipes. It was a great looking rhubarb-strawberry cake with a little cream and two kinds of dough, topped with a layer of meringue. It is delicious and sort of easy, though it has some tricky parts due to the meringue top. Well, you can always make it without.. in any way, here is the recipe.

Rhubarb-Strawberry-Meringue-Cake:
(http://www.oetker.de/)

sponge cake:
3eggs
100g sugar
1package vanilla sugar
120g flour
1/2tsp baking powder
(this is the recipe provided by the webpage. I used my own recipe with 5 eggs, 5 tbsp sugar, 5 tbsp flour and 1 1/4 tsp baking powder. I always use this one, cause it is easy to remember – 1-1-1-1/4 – and never fails to perform well 😉 The preparation below is also my way.. I didn’t try the way Dr.Oetker suggests, that is why I am not posting it here)

meringue:
2 egg whites
100g sugar

pound cake:
60g butter
50g sugar
1 package vanilla sugar
pinch salt
1 egg
2 egg yolks
60g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

filling:
300g strawberries
375g rhubarb
75g sugar
75ml apple or cherry juice
40g corn starch
600g whip cream
1 package vanilla sugar

Preparation:

sponge cake:
1. beat the egg whites with the sugar and vanilla sugar
2. add the egg  yolks
3. add the flour and baking powder and quickly mix everything together
4. bake for 25-30 minutes at 180°C

for the meringue:
1. beat the egg whites until stiff
2. add sugar

for the pound cake:
1. beat the butter until light and fluffy
2. slowly add sugar, vanilla sugar and salt until well mixed
3. add egg and egg yolks one by one on high speed of the mixer
4. mix flour with baking powder and add to the batter on medium speed
5. fill batter into a round pan (26cm) (it will look as if it is too little, but it will turn out ok, so don’t worry 😉 ) and spread the beaten egg whites on top
6. bake for 30 minutes at 180°C

for the filling:
1. put approx. 8 strawberries aside for decoration
2. chop remaining strawberries
3. chop rhubarb (after rinsing and peeling of course 😉 )
4. stew the rhubarb with the sugar and 2 tbsp of juice for approx. 3 minutes
5. mix the remaining juice with the cornstarch
6. add to the rhubarb and boil it up
7. add strawberries
8. let cool
9. whip the cream with the vanilla sugar (if not done yet)

finish cake:
1. cut the sponge cake in two
2. fill the whipped cream into a pastry bag
3. make three circles of whipped cream onto the first layer of sponge cake
4. fill the spaces in between the cream with the rhubarb-strawberry filling
5. put second layer of sponge cake on top
6. fill the same way as on first layer
7. cover with pound cake-meringue layer (this is a little tricky, as it is very fragile and it is a little difficult to get it out of the pan in the first place. Don’t worry if the meringue breaks a little.. that is a characteristic of this pastry and after decorating, it will look just fine 😉 )
8. decorate with strawberries and whipped cream.. or whatever your heart desires 🙂

Done 🙂 Sounds like a lot of work, right? Well, it is not a half an hour cake, but it sounds worse than it is.. promise!
I served this cake last sunday and although my siblings were in a hurry and therefore our coffee and cake time was short, nothing was left of the cake (even though we had cupcakes and cakepops, too 😉 ). Everybody liked it and took some pieces home.
My mom – Rabarbara – was happy … about her kids spending some time with her on mother’s day, about the cake (though without pudding 😉 ) and also about the painting… and when she is happy, I am happy 🙂
Hope you and your mom’s had a great day, too or will have (those who live in countries where this day is celebrated later). Lots of love to all of you.. and now go and enjoy the cake 😉

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For those of you interested in paintings.. this was my mother’s day present:

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