A soft cake with tangy rhubarb and a sweet meringue topping, the perfect summer cake and a great way of using leftover egg whites.
What better summer cake than a sweet and tangy rhubarb cake topped with a luscious meringue layer? This is really one of my favorite cakes! I could almost say that this rhubarb meringue cake is the Romanian version of the German Rhubarb Meringue Pie, a pie which has been a staple in my kitchen for years now.
This time though I decided to make the Romanian rhubarb cake, a cake I used to love when I was very little. It is a cake that my great-grandmother used to make, it is only in her house that I have ever had it. I think she was the only one in our family that ever baked with rhubarb or with pumpkin, now that I think of it. Pumpkin was even less popular than rhubarb in our family during those times and my great-grandma was the only one who ever used those ingredients.
But beside the fact that it contains rhubarb, which might not have been so popular in Romania some decades ago, this meringue cake is rather typical for the Romanian way of baking. We have lots of fruit cakes made in a similar way, which is: a soft batter, covered with seasonal fruit or berries and topped with meringue. This would be almost the standard summer cake, I would say.
And this rhubarb meringue cake is my favorite version of those summer cakes. The meringue is so overly sweet, always, and that is why I prefer to have it on top of the very tangy rhubarb instead on top of some other sweet fruit. Or on top of red currants, they are also very sour and delicious when combined with a nice meringue.
A great thing about this recipe is the use of egg whites for the meringue. I have lots and lots of little freezer bags full of 3 or 4 or 5 egg whites in my freezer. I seem to be using egg yolks more often than egg whites, so the leftover egg whites are always an issue. I am not a fan of egg white omelet (I cringe only thinking about it), so I freeze them all. And from time to time, I take out a small bag, weigh the egg whites and use them to make meringue, either a meringue topping for a cake or pie similar to this one, or plain meringue to crumble on top of a dessert for instance.
If you are interested in more recipes with meringue, have a look at these ones:
Summer cakes are the theme for the next two weeks on Where Is My Spoon. A word of warning: I wrote all these posts in advance, we are on holiday in France at the moment… So no Romanian summer cakes for us to enjoy in Bretagne, but we had our share already while preparing all these blog posts. And there will be other delicacies I am sure we will be able to enjoy there. 🙂
This recipe is adapted from Delicious Romania.
Rhubarb Meringue CakePrint This
- Rhubarb cake:
- 750 g/ 26.5 oz rhubarb
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 200 g/ 7 oz butter, soft
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- 400 g/ 14.1 oz/ 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons Dr. Oetker baking powder
- 225 ml/ 7.6 fl.oz/ scant 1 cup milk
- Meringue topping:
- 4 egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 150 g/ 5.3 oz/ ¾ cup sugar
Clean and chop the rhubarb into slices about as thick as your finger. Mix the rhubarb with 2 tablespoons sugar and place in a colander. Let drain for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a deeper baking dish of approximately 32×32 cm/ 12.5×12.5 inch with baking paper.
Mix together the sugar and the soft butter in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between. Add the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt and mix again.
In another bowl mix together the flour and the baking powder. Give half of the flour to the egg butter mixture and incorporate. Add half of the milk and stir again. Add the remaining flour, incorporate, then add the remaining milk and mix until everything is combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
Pat the rhubarb slices dry with some paper towels. Top the cake with the rhubarb slices and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes.
During the last 10 minutes of the baking time start making the meringue topping.
Place the egg whites in a very clean mixing bowl. Start beating them until they begin to foam. Add the salt and the lemon juice and continue beating until soft peaks begin to form. Start adding the sugar gradually, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
Spread the meringue evenly over the cake, place back in the oven and continue baking for further 12 to 15 minutes or until the meringue is golden. Let the cake cool before you slice it.
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