Introduction: Lemon-Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Rhubarb is better than you think it is.

First, I suppose you will have to find it (or grow it, depending on your climate). I noticed the nearby grocery store had some stalks and wanted to find something to make with it other than a giant pie. I settled on coffee cake. Added bonus was that I could gift a coffee cake to my rhubarb aficionado friend.

Initially, I planned a lemon-raspberry-rhubarb coffee cake but at the last minute decided to sub in strawberries (I mean, it is a classic combination, strawberry rhubarb, sometimes you don't mess with tradition too much).

Step 1: Gather Ye Materials

What You Will Need:

Pantry Staples -

Sugar (1 3/4 cups), flour (3 cups), vegetable oil (2/3 cup), salt (a pinch), baking powder (1 tsp), vanilla extract (1 tsp), brown sugar (1 tsp), non-stick cooking spray

Refrigerated Items -

Egg (1), butter (1/2 cup), buttermilk (1 cup)

Fruits and Veggies -

Lemon (1), strawberries (about 5-6), rhubarb (3-4 stalks)

Kitchen Necessities -

Bowls (1 big, 1 medium), spatula thingy to stir (1), loaf pans (2), cutting board, knife, a liquid measuring cup, a set of dry measuring cups, a set of measuring spoons, OH AND AN OVEN. And oven mitts because ouch.

Step 2: Prepare the Battlespace

Spray your loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (F).

Step 3: Make Batter

Take your big bowl and put:

1 1/2 cups of sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup of buttermilk

1 egg

a pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

the juice of 1 lemon (3 Tbsp to 1/4 cup, based on preference if substituting with lemon juice)

1 Tbsp lemon zest (teeny bits o' grated lemon peel, or none if you are sans fresh lemon)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups of flour

Mix until mixed (shown).

Step 4: Optional Side Quest: Buttermilk

**Side Quest, ignore if you remembered to pick up buttermilk**

Realize you didn't buy buttermilk and then spend 20 minutes shaking heavy cream in a jar to make buttermilk. Completion of this quest will net you buttermilk AND some fresh butter. Go team (see pictures). To complete, pour a cup and a half of heavy cream in a jar and shake forever (appx 20 minutes). The heavy cream will first turn to whipped cream (about 10 minutes in), then start to clump, then separate. Pour through cheesecloth or in colander to get the buttermilk. What remains is just butter (enjoy however you see fit)

Step 5: Add Some Flavor

Dice up the rhubarb until you have about 1-1 1/2 cups.

Dice up some strawberries until you have about a cup.

Toss both in about 1/4 cup of sugar and fold concoction into batter.

Pour into loaf pans in roughly even amounts.

Step 6: Make Crumbly Topping

In your medium bowl, mix 1/2 cup of flour, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1 tsp of lemon zest together. Mash in butter with hands or fork until it looks mixed but crumbly (shown).

Sprinkle onto batter in roughly even amounts.

Put in the oven and bake for 60 minutes (until a test toothpick or knife comes out clean).

Step 7: Eat and Be Merry

With coffee, hence the name.

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