Slowly but surely, spring seems to be creeping into Minnesota which only means one thing: bring on the spring produce! Okay, maybe it also means it’s time for patio sitting, walks around the lakes, leisurely bike rides, and lots and lots of yard work, but in my mind, it’s all about the food.
It’s also a nostalgic time for me, as it brings back memories of picking peas, asparagus, green onions, and rhubarb from my grandma’s garden. I remember thinking it was so funny how asparagus just grew straight up from the ground, how fun it was to snap the ends off the peas, and how delicious new potatoes were boiled, straight from the garden.
I also remember really not understanding the appeal of rhubarb. I think it stems from one of my older cousins having me take a bite of it raw, which is quite sour, and after that I didn’t have any interest in rhubarb crisp or cake.
Of course I came around and sometime in high school I tried my grandma’s rhubarb cake and life was never the same. I’ll be a rhubarb lover until the end of time. My grandma’s rhubarb cake recipe was quite simple, which of course is what made it so dang good and let the rhubarb be the star of the show.
I like to keep my rhubarb cake pretty simple too, but this time I went ahead and changed one minor detail: I browned the butter.
If you’ve never browned butter, you are in for a major treat. The process of browning it (which really just involves letting it melt over the stove and cooking it until it develops little brown specs in it and you are overcome with a nutty buttery smell…OMG) gives the butter a toasted flavor that, in my opinion, takes baked goods from great to incredible.
That is exactly the case in this brown butter rhubarb cake. Even Marc, my chocolate and peanut butter dessert loving husband, was blown away at how much he loved this rhubarb-studded cake.
We ate this for dessert with a scoop of ice cream but since it’s topped with a crumb topping, it could even be pulled off for breakfast as a coffee cake. Isn’t it great how adding more butter and sugar to something suddenly qualifies it as breakfast?