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September 12, 2008

Craig's Rhubarb Coconut Lipstick-On-A-Pig Cake

I know what you're thinking - this cake is yummy. I promise. It doesn't look like much, know but it is really good! I made this cake as my way of saying thank you for a job well done to Craig, our summer intern.  He told that his favorite desserts are anything that involve rhubarb and I was free to surprise him. When he said that, I screamed "Yikes!" inside my head. Rhubarb? Really?

I have only made one rhubarb recipe in my life and wasn't impressed. I recalled having to use orange juice and strawberries in the recipe and that's all I remember tasting. What was so great about rhubarb anyway? When I did a quick search for rhubarb recipes, everything was a crumble, cobbler, or buckle. Boring! I wanted to find something unique and eventually found this Rhubarb Cake. The picture didn't do it much justice but the reviews it had received got my attention. I decided I'd try it but without the crumb-top layer. Instead I would use a broiled coconut frosting that one of the reviewers had said she used with success.

The cake part came out great and it made the whole house smell like a bakery as it baked. However, that was when its beauty faded. After I broiled the coconut frosting and took it out of the oven, I screamed "Yikes!" again, but this time out loud! The cake looked atrocious. I didn't want to give Craig an ugly cake but it was late and I was all out of rhubarb. Besides I had a feeling it would taste really good in spite of its looks.

When I woke up the next morning, I decided to cut off the edges of the cake and top it with homemade whipped cream to try and hide its wrinkled coconuty crust. It did help to soften its unfortunate appearance, and also added just the right amount of additional moisture. But you know what? It was still kinda ugly. I guess you can put whipped cream on an ugly cake, but it's still an ugly cake.

Rhubarb Coconut Lipstick-On-A-Pig Cake
Yield: I cut the slices on the smaller side and was able to get about 20 slices.
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

3 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup non-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 cup flaked, unsweetened coconut (optional)
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds (optional)

Coconut Glaze
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Frosting - Optional
1 cup whipping cream, extra cold
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon of cream of tarter

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan or use Pam with Flour (my fav). In a small bowl, toss together finely chopped rhubarb with 1/2 cup sugar and set aside. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside.
white fluffy butter and sugarIn a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until white and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, scraping the bowl as needed. Drain the rhubarb, saving a few tablespoons of the liquid and fold them both into the batter. Stir in the coconut and chopped almonds. Pour batter into prepared pan.Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let it cool about 30 minutes.
After the cake has cooled, move the oven rack as high as it can go and turn on your oven's broiler. Note: If you want to serve this cake outside of the pan, then invert the cooled cake onto a cooling rack (so it's upside-down) and then flip it again onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment/waxed paper so that it's right-side-up BEFORE you go to the next step.
Mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, cream, coconut, and vanilla. Spread it evenly on the cake and brown lightly under the broiler. Keep an eye on it. It will bubble and boil up a bit and happens in a flash. - about 1-2 minutes. Keep the door open while you do this. Let it cool in the fridge for at least an hour, overnight is even better.

When you're ready to serve the cake, make the whipped cream by whipping the cream on your mixer's highest setting until you get soft peaks. Add the sugar and cream of tarter. Mix again for about 30 minutes and then the vanilla.

Spread the cream on top of the cake, cut, and serve.


  1. This cake was great. The rhubarb gave it an acid tang, the unsweetened coconut had lots of flavor, and the whipped cream added just the right combination of moisture and sweetness.

  2. mmm that looks good! i am sometimes underwhelmed by rhubarb, too, but other times it is suprisingly delicious! the icing sounds delish, too!


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