Rhubarb-Elderflower Pound Cake

This pound cake makes me want to sing all about Spring! from the mountaintops. It transports me and makes me feel like I’m an extra in the closing scene of The Sound of Music. I make as much rhubarb-elderflower jam as possible during the few short weeks rhubarb is in season in New York, so I can schmear and goo to my heart’s desire and never worry about saying auf Wiedersehen to rhubarb or worrying when we’ll meet again.

125g (1 stick (8T) + 1T ) unsalted butter, melted

125g (1⁄2 cup + 1 T) buttermilk

85g (1⁄3 cup + 2 T) grapeseed or other neutral oil

12g (1T) vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

250g (11⁄4 cups) sugar

60g (1⁄4 cup, packed) light brown sugar

245g (2 cups) cake flour

4g (1 tsp) baking powder

4.5g (1 tsp) kosher salt

1 recipe rhubarb-elderflower goo (below)

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 1-pound loaf pan.

  2. Whisk the melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, whole eggs, and egg yolk together in a large bowl.

  3. Whisk both sugars, the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a separate large bowl.

  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir to combine. Use a whisk to break up the lumps if needed.

  5. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake until the cake rises and puffs, 60 to 70 minutes. At 60 minutes, tap the top of the cake with your fingertips: The cake should bounce back firmly and the center should not be jiggly at all. If it doesn’t pass this test, leave the cake in the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

  6. Let the cake cool in the pan for 45 minutes, then run a small butter knife or offset spatula between the edge of the cake and the pan to help release it. Invert the pan onto a wire rack to fully release the cake.

  7. Use a spoon or offset spatula to smear the rhubarb-elderflower goo all over the top of the cake. Don’t feel like you must use all of the goo; save some to serve on the side.

  8. The cake will keep in the refrigerator, wrapped, for up to 1 week. Let the refrigerated cake sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

rhubarb-elderflower goo

makes about 330g (1 cup)

25g (2T) unsalted butter

60g ( 2 ounces) cream cheese 110g (1 cup)) confectioners’ sugar

1g ( 1⁄4 tsp) kosher salt

2g ( 1⁄2 tsp) vanilla extract 135g ( 1⁄2 cup) rhubarb-elderflower

  1. Heat the butter and the cream cheese together in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until the cream cheese has softened and the butter has melted.

  2. Put the cream cheese mixture in a medium bowl and stir in the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and vanilla extract.

  3. Whisk in the rhubarb-elderflower jam. Continue to whisk everything together until you have a smooth, gooey glaze. Use immediately.

rhubarb-elderflower jam

makes about 265g (1 cup)

280g (10 ounces) fresh rhubarb

100g ( 1⁄2 cup) sugar

2g ( 1⁄2 tsp) pectin NH

0.5g (1⁄8 tsp) kosher salt

20g ( 1T+ 11⁄2 tsp ) lemon juice 25g (1T+ 11⁄2 tsp) elderflower syrup *

  1. Wash the rhubarb and slice each stalk crosswise into 1⁄4-inch chunks.

  2. Whisk together the sugar, pectin, and salt in a medium pot or saucepan. Add the rhubarb and toss everything together until the rhubarb is well coated. Slowly stir in the lemon juice and bring the mixture to a full, rolling boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and cook at a simmer to activate the pectin. Continue cooking until the jam coats the back of a spoon and everything has reduced to 1 cup, about 25 minutes.

  3. Remove the jam from the heat and whisk in the elderflower syrup. Let cool completely before using it. (You need only 135g [1⁄2 cup] of the jam for the rhubarb-elderflower goo, so save the remaining jam to serve with the cake or with toast!) The jam can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

*Fear not, you are just a few clicks and a day away from elderflower syrup showing up at your doorstep. We love d’Arbo or Belvoir. This jam should not be made without it—it makes it special, I’m talking next level. Leftover elderflower syrup (if you don’t go crazy making huge batches of jam) is an incredible flavor agent in any mock(cock)tail.