Vegan Double Rhubarb Dream Loaf
- 1⁄2 cup vegan butter or margarine 113 g
- 1 cup rhubarb butter + a few spoonfuls 200 + 50 g; can also use any type of jam or fruit preserves
- 2 cups pastry flour 240 g; see Notes about substitution
- 1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder 6 g
- 1⁄2 tsp baking soda 3 g
- 1⁄2 tsp fine salt 3 g
- 1 cup chopped rhubarb 150; can use fresh or thawed from frozen (drained)
- Beat margarine and rhubarb butter in a stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment) on high speed for 1–2 minutes or until smooth and creamy.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and rhubarb) and beat on low speed for 30 seconds or until just incorporated. If necessary, scrape down the paddle and sides halfway through with a spatula.
- Grease a loaf pan or line with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Add half the loaf batter to the pan, and spread evenly with spatula.
- Layer a few big spoonfuls of rhubarb butter onto the batter and spread in an even layer.
- Add the remaining batter to the loaf pan and smooth top with spatula.
- Bake in middle rack of oven at 350 °F for 50–60 minutes or until top looks crumbly and dark brown in places.
- Let cool for 10 minutes, then slice and serve hot, or let cool completely and enjoy cold!
I used rhubarb butter because it was what I had on hand, but you can replace it with whatever jam or fruit spread you have lying around. Apple butter or peach butter would be amazing, too. (Scroll down for more rhubarb butter uses if you have a jar you’re trying to get through like me.)
About the pastry flour: pastry flour, also known as cake flour has lower protein (gluten) content. This makes it better for cakes and other desserts, where the goal is a more delicate crumb, because you’re less likely to over-mix. You can use all purpose flour, but just make sure to mix it as little as possible, on the lowest mixer speed possible (or do it by hand). If you over-work the batter, the cake will turn out dense and gummy.
Use up Your Fruit Butter!
I’ve been racking my brains these past two weeks thinking of ways to use up my rhubarb butter. Up to now it had functioned exclusively as a condiment—on toast, in PB&J, etc.—which is not at all an efficient way to consume a whole jar of the stuff.
Then I thought back to my early baking days when I was obsessed with “healthy baking,” which mainly consisted of substituting applesauce in place of butter for every recipe. (Pretty sure Kevin still has flashbacks whenever the word “applesauce” comes up.)
Anyway, I haven’t tried the ol’ applesauce trick in a long time (mainly because, well, it fucking sucks when all the fat in a recipe is replaced by pureed apples), but I thought I might revisit the concept, this time using rhubarb butter instead of applesauce. It has “butter” in the name, so it’s gotta be an upgrade right?!
Rhubarb Butter Acts as a Sweetener and a Binder
I happened on a Land O’Lakes recipe for rhubarb streusel bread, which I decided to use as a base. My rhubarb butter was pretty sweet, so I substituted it one-on-one (by weight) for the sugar. If your rhubarb butter uses less sugar than is called for in this recipe or if you’d prefer a sweeter loaf, you can add some sugar. Personally, 200 g of rhubarb butter provided all the sweetness needed in my loaf.
Also, the original recipe calls for two eggs, which I think act as a binder. I figured the rhubarb butter could do that job almost as well, so I left out the eggs. Yep: the other ingredients hold the cake together fine. (It will be fragile and fall-apart-y when it’s fresh out of the oven. Give it ten minutes to cool and it becomes quite sturdy enough to slice and slather with butter and whatnot.)
Fresh or Frozen Rhubarb?
Rhubarb season is over, but many of you probably have rhubarb in your freezers from earlier this summer. This recipe is great because it works with both frozen or fresh rhubarb. I used up the last of my fresh rhubarb in the rhubarb kataifi squares I made last week, so I defrosted some from frozen. Chopped rhubarb releases a lot of water when thawed, which you can drain away. (But don’t squeeze the rhubarb—you do want it to retain some moisture.)
Also, you can be pretty laissez faire about the exact amount of rhubarb you use. The recipe calls for 1 cup (125–150 g fresh or frozen), but you could add another 1⁄2 cup or so. On the other hand if you don’t have quite enough rhubarb for one cup, that’s fine, too. I would add some other fruit if you have it on hand: berries, peaches, cherries, whatever. I’ve yet to find a fruit that doesn’t work well with rhubarb tbh.
Nutrition and Cost Information
This loaf costs CAD$3.89 in ingredients and yields 10 thick slices, totaling 2,141 cal (or 214 cal each).