Update, 1 Jun ’20: This is a great “team cake” to make with a friend or partner, because each person can do two of the four components in parallel. Less prep time = earlier cake eating time! Below, I’ve added new pictures and also made a few clarifications in the recipe.
Let me just say that the Germans know how to do cake. They unapologetically make moist, delicious creations and don’t shy away from using lots of butter and sugar. Once in a while, I am totally okay with that. F had been telling me about his Rhabarbarkuchen (rhubarb cake) for ages; finally, in the height of the season a month or so ago, we bought some rhubarb, stocked up on Quark, and spent an evening making the cake.
Ohmygoodness is this a good cake (see first two sentences, above). A moist and flavorful revelation in my mouth. There’s a cake layer, a pudding-like layer (that’s the Quarkcreme part), lots of rhubarb, and a sweet-buttery-crunchy streusel topping. Just wow. This cake is totally worth the effort it takes to whip up three different layers. Be patient while it bakes and you’ll be rewarded. It’s great as an afternoon snack with coffee or tea and is also totally okay to eat for breakfast or brunch — just add a dollop of yogurt.
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Rhabarberkuchen mit Quarkcreme und Streuseln (Rhubarb Cake) (adapted/translated from Chefkoch.de; makes a huge sheet cake, enough to feed a small army)
- 1.3kg (4-6 stalks) rhubarb, cut into 2cm/1in chunks
- Quarkcreme/Pudding layer:
- 500g low-fat quark (try Greek yogurt if you can’t find quark in your supermarket)
- 300g whipping cream
- 1.5 packs (55-56g) vanilla instant pudding powder
- zest of 1 lemon
- 75g sugar (granulated or caster)
- 125g sugar
- 150g not-super-cold-but-firmer-than-room-temperature butter, cut into small cubes
- 200g white/AP/plain flour (it’s all the same thing!)
- Cake layer:
- 250g white/AP/plain flour (it’s all the same thing!)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 200g sugar
- 200g butter, softened at room temperature
- 4 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 150C.
- Wash and cut the rhubarb into 2cm/1in chunks. Set aside.
- Make the Quarkcreme: Put all the necessary ingredients (see above) in a large bowl and whisk or beat with an electric mixer to combine.
- Make the streusel: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and sugar together. Work in the butter with your hands or a pastry cutter, until everything is well-combined and only a little crumbly.
- Make the cake batter: In a large bowl, whisk the baking powder and flour together. Add the sugar and butter and beat with an electric mixer until evenly distributed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. The batter will be quite thick.
- Assemble cake: Spread the batter evenly into the bottom of a large sheet pan. Spread the Quarkcreme evenly on top. Scatter the rhubarb pieces evenly over the top, then sprinkle the streusel over everything.
- Bake the cake for 45-55 minutes or until the streusel turns golden and the Quarkcreme seems set (you may have to cover it with foil partway through). Let cool for an hour or two before serving.