Strawberry and Chocolate Chunk Cake with Rhubarb Glaze
It’s May, and the trees are finally busting out with leaves, the tulips and daffodils are in full glory, and the magnolia blossoms are absolutely stunning. The air is getting warmer, and the sun feels so good as we get out and finally walk!! (without winter scarves) And we are in the midst of strawberry and rhubarb season. Sure, it will be a few more weeks until the strawberries are truly local (can’t wait) and the rhubarb may be forced (but I see leaves popping up in backyards already) so it’s just a matter of weeks till we are truly making our own here in Ontario. But the markets are brimming with both, and in the warmer climates of North America and Europe, they’ve been enjoying both strawberries and rhubarb for a little while now.
There is something so perfect about the pairing of these two. I can sing the praises over and over again (I’m sure I have, ad nauseum) I love the tartness of the rhubarb dancing with the sweetness of the strawberries. I’ve put it in pies, compotes, drinks, salads, salsas, smoothies, and now this cake.
This cake is actually the result of the acquisition of a new Nordic Ware bundt pan! When I saw this shape, I’m sure I grinned from ear to ear (sad that a bundt pan can do that to me, right?) And then I found out it was on sale. Bonus! Sold! I only have a few bundt pans. There are some avid collectors out there that have dozens! I bow to them. I don’t have the room, let alone the need to be bundt shape specific for occasions, holidays etc. But I most surely make up for it with other kitchen accoutrements, so I’m not off the hook!
So when the bundt pan was cleaned and sitting on the counter, it was just begging for me to bake something in it. Lemon cake? Chocolate cake? Vanilla? But wait, while the rhubarb is still around, and the strawberries are so juicy, shouldn’t I highlight these!? So, this cake was born. The recipe is a riff on the Strawberry Bundt Cake on the Simply Home Cooked website. I changed it up to include chocolate. Because chocolate would make Jim happy. And that’s always a good goal! Since I was adding chocolate chunks, and would be topping the cake with a rhubarb glaze to keep the classic pairing of strawberries and rhubarb intact, I omitted the lemon additions in the original recipe. I opted instead for a dash of rosewater. And the glaze: just stew some rhubarb, puree it up and add it to a tradtional icing sugar glaze.
The cake baked up amazingly. It is so moist. It calls for buttermilk in the original, but I substituted a combo of yogurt and kefir. And the chocolate chunks are the perfect texture contrast to the melty juicy strawberries. They actually look like confetti in the cake. And it smelled so amazing coming out of the oven. Since the original recipe is probably for a different sized bundt pan, I had extra batter, so I used it in small financier type molds. But you could make cupcakes out of any extra, depending on what size bundt pan you use. Just use your eye: ensure that you leave room for growing as it bakes, so that the inner tube stays exposed.
I hope you like this cake as much as we did: Jim has been doing a great job of whittling it away (which is a good thing, because if he didn’t, then I would!) And thankfully, we have many appreciative friends to share pieces with. That’s the challenge of baking when there are only two in the house: I love the creating aspect of it, but my hips don’t need the eating aspect!
By the way, while I glazed this with rhubarb, you could do a simple icing sugar glaze. Or you could even leave it ‘naked’. It really does look quite impressive in its simple state.
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp flour, divided
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup yogurt
- 1/4 cup kefir
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp rosewater
- 1 2/3 cups chopped fresh strawberries
- 2/3 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 75g rhubarb, diced (approx 3/4 cup)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar and 1 tbsp water
- 75g cream cheese, softened (approx 1/4 cup)
- 1 cup (150g) icing sugar, sifted
- 1/16 tsp (1/2 of a 1/8 tsp) rosewater
- Combine butter and sugar with a hand held mixer or in a standing mixer.
- Blend the eggs into the butter (1 egg at a time).
- Add vanilla and rosewater to the batter. Mix just to combine.
- Sift 2½ cups flour, baking powder, and salt into a separate bowl.
- Combine the yogurt and kefir, mix till smooth.
- Add a little bit of the sifted flour to the batter (about ½ cup at time). Then a little bit of yogurt mixture. Keep switching flour, then buttermilk, mixing in between.
- Fold in the chocolate chunks with a rubber spatula.
- Combine 1 tbsp flour with the chopped strawberries. Then fold the strawberries into the batter using a spatula.
- Pour the bather into a greased bundt cake pan. Bake at 340 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour (or until a tooth pick comes out clean after piercing the center of the cake). Once it's baked, remove the cake from the bundt pan and let it cool on a cooling rack.
- While the cake is baking and cooling, place rhubarb in a small saucepan on low heat with lemon zest, sugar and water. Stirring occasionally, simmer rhubarb until soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Puree mixture in a food processor or blender.
- Place cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add sifted icing sugar, rhubarb puree and the rosewater and beat until smooth. Adjust with additional lemon juice if it is too stiff. Pour over the top of cooled cake. Let set. Can be refrigerated overnight.
- Ensure that you leave enough room in the bundt pan for rising in the oven. If you find that the batter is more than your pan can handle, use the rest for cupcakes etc.
- If you don't have yogurt or kefir on hand, you can easily use the original 1 cup of buttermilk.