rhubarb coffee cake

As is typical for any spring/summer weekend in Seattle before July 5th, it has been pissing down rain for days now. Mother Nature cares not that it’s a 3 day weekend or that people in other parts of the country are enjoying BBQ’s and sunshine on this holiday.

Which means that I was left with inside projects. I’ve been meaning to purge the pantry for sometime now. There were things in there from 2011! I do not fully understand how that is possible, since i HAVE purged it since then. I blame gremlins. Or my children. Which I realize is redundant.

In any case, 1 screwdriver of the liquid variety, a couple of hours and multiple trips to the compost/recyling bins later, and the pantry was back in shape. As a reward, I made this cake.

It is a coffee cake slightly adapted from a recipe in The Family Baker. She suggests you can use nearly any fruit, but I like it best with tart apples or, in this case, rhubarb diced small. For berries, I prefer a cornmeal coffee cake, but knock yourself out if berries are your thing. I think the sweet of the cake plays nicely with the tart of the rhubarb, and the cinnamon/sugar topping makes a crispy, spicy contrast to the tender interior. Even better, it’s a cinch to mix up.


(slightly adapted from The Family Baker by Susan G. Purdy)


2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine for topping.


2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb (or tart apples, or berries of your choice)

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 salt

2 eggs

1 stick butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ square baking dish.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. (Or if you are lazy like me, just add them all to the top of the mixed wet ingredients, next.)

Whisk butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Add fruit and mix gently. Spread in pan. Sprinkle topping evenly.

Bake about 35 min or until done. Let cool if you are the patient type, but I will tell you, it’s pretty divine served warm. I’d even gild the lily with some vanilla ice cream for a dessert.


almost but not quite

I am a shy person.

This will come as a shock to some people, I am sure. But they will be the ones who don’t know me well, who don’t see the effort it takes to go outside myself.

Some people mistake shy for aloof or intimidating. Really, it is just another layer of defense. 

Sometimes, while in a group of people at a party or just people-watching, a feeling comes over me so close and tight it seems like a bubble. That no one else can see into or through, a little piece of time that I could almost fly through to another place or time. Away from this group or situation, into some peace or quiet place, a chance to regroup and recharge.

I try to grab that bubble, but I’ve never managed to hold it tight enough. I close my eyes for the smallest second, listen to nothing, but find myself in exactly the same place.

Such a comfort that bubble would be. Someday, I’ll grab it in just the right spot.