Madeline is quite focused on her Papa these days. We hear her little voice calling out 'Papa' from her crib when she wakes up in the morning; she sits riveted in her highchair in the middle of the kitchen to watch Paul cook; she babbles on early morning walks with Paul, trying out her new words of the day; Madeline bangs on the door when Paul is working, shouting 'book... Papa;' and she maintains a steady chant of 'Papa....home,' as we drive home after an overnight at her grandparents. My favorite though, is her own made up game of Marco-Polo with her father. Throughout the day, Madeline will frequently interrupt her playing, eating or reading to say; 'Papa?' with a questioning lilt. Paul will respond 'Yes, Madeline.' and she will give a small nod of satisfaction, and go back to her play.
This year our Father's Day celebrations will be spread over both this weekend and the next, as we plan to welcome our new baby next Friday. For me, celebrations bring to mind cakes, and given my dislike of baking, fool-proof is a requirement. This Rhubarb Strawberry Cake has a rustic moist vanilla base, with jammy pools of cooked strawberry and rhubarb dotted on top, and a sweet crunch of caramelized sugar. This cake is adapted only slightly from Martha Stewart.
Yield: 1 cake, serves 6-8
- 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons for on top
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 pound strawberries, stemmed and cut in half
- 1/2 cup rhubarb, cut into thin, 1/4 inch slices
- Heat the oven to 350. Grease a bundt pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes until pale and fluffy.
- Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat briefly to combine.
- Stir in the remaining dry ingredients with a spatula (flour, baking powder, salt). Stir briefly to ensure the batter is mixed well.
- Pour the batter into the bundt pan (it will be very thick) and smooth the top.
- Distribute the strawberries and rhubarb over the cake (cut side down for strawberries) and sprinkle over-top the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325 and continue baking for another 50-60 minutes. You are looking for a golden brown cake top, and the cake to be cooked through (a toothpick or knife should come out clean).
- The cake should cool in the bundt pan before you remove it from the pan, as it will be quite moist and delicate.