So here’s the thing. I love strawberry-rhubarb pie; but sometimes I’m fairly lazy. It’s not that I don’t love making pies and pastry, but if I can get the gist of a strawberry-rhubarb pie in a less finicky format, like a crisp, cobbler or cake, why not? Because really, half the reason for making strawberry-rhubarb pie is so that you can put vanilla ice cream on top of it, and this is as adequate a vehicle as any.
Initially I made this to have a little something to feed the roofers when they came down from their work, but in the end it was for me, to be applied liberally to my face as needed as a sort of strawberry-rhubarb salve. (They did get some, but their pieces were fairly chintzy in the end.)
Of course a cobbler is more of a biscuit-topped fruit dessert, but this isn’t far off… as it bakes, the fruit sinks down into the cake batter like a soft, overstuffed pillow. This is my favorite kind of cake recipe – the sort that can be made with any type of fruit that happens to be at its peak; this would be fabulous with peaches, nectarines, plums, or all kinds of berries, fresh or frozen… it brings out the best in any of them. Flavour the cake itself with grated orange or lemon zest, if you like, or add a shake of cinnamon. Omit the sugar scattered over top if the fruit you choose is sweet enough – rhubarb tends to need a little help.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler Cake
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups halved or quartered strawberries (depending on their size)
2-3 cups chopped rhubarb (about 2-3 stalks)
1/3-1/2 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined and starting to get fluffly. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each, then beat in the vanilla.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir by hand or beat on low speed just until combined; the batter will be thick. Spread into a 9³x13³ pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray, and scatter the fruit over top. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the cake is golden and the cakey parts springy to the touch.
Makes 1 big cake feeds lots