A soft, sweet and tangy rhubarb meringue cake, a typical Romanian dessert or cake.
RHUBARB CAKE WITH MERINGUE
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.
ROMANIAN DESSERT RECIPE
In Romanian we make lots of fruit cakes in a similar way, which is: a soft batter, covered with seasonal fruit or berries and topped with meringue. This would be the standard summer cake, I would say.
And I have made countless versions of it. With berries like raspberries or blueberries, with mirabelles, with sweet or even better sour cherries, with peaches and so on. Always delicious!
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 nice red currant and meringue cake is famous in Germany, everybody seems to make it. And it tastes divine!
INGREDIENTS FOR THE RHUBARB MERINGUE CAKE
The rhubarb season starts in April and ends sometimes in June, so if you would like to make this rhubarb meringue cake, now is the time!
Use fresh rhubarb stalks from the garden or the supermarket. Don’t bother to peel them, just clean the stalks properly and remove the lower whitish part.
Also definitely discard the rhubarb leaves, they are poisonous!
According to Wikipedia “rhubarb leaves contain poisonous substances, including oxalic acid, which is present in many plants. Humans have been poisoned after ingesting the leaves, a particular problem during World War I when the leaves were mistakenly recommended as a food source in Britain”.
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 topping for other cakes like this Lemon Meringue Pie or this other typical Romanian dessert – the Meringue Brownies.
Or I use the egg whites to make plain meringue to crumble on top of a dessert like these amazing strawberry meringue cups.
But, of course, if you don’t just happen to have some frozen egg whites to make meringue in your freezer, you will have to use fresh eggs and then you will have 4 leftover egg yolks. What to do with them?
HOW TO MAKE ROMANIAN RHUBARB MERINGUE CAKE
Clean the rhubarb. Remove the whitish lower end and the leaves. Discard them. Again: rhubarb leaves are poisonous, don’t eat them!
Cut the rhubarb into slices as thick as your finger. Mix the rhubarb with 2 tablespoons sugar and place in a colander. Let drain for about 30 minutes. This will help with removing the excess moisture, so that your rhubarb meringue cake will not become soggy.
- To make the batter, 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.
- Start making the meringue topping during the last 10 minutes of the baking time.
- Place the egg whites in a very clean mixing bowl. Using a very clean mixing bowl and very clean beaters is crucial, if there is any trace of fat on them the egg whites will not become stiff.
- Start beating the egg whites 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 the rhubarb meringue cake 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.
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 the Normandy, 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. 🙂
The recipe for the rhubarb meringue cake is adapted from Delicious Romania.
Rhubarb Meringue Cake – Romanian Desserts
- Deeper baking dish (about 32x32 cm/ 12.5x12.5 inches)
- Rhubarb cake:
- 750 g rhubarb 27 oz (Note 2)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 250 g granulated sugar 8.8 oz/ 1 ¼ cups
- 200 g unsalted butter 7 oz/ ¾ cup + 1 ½ tablespoons, soft
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- 400 g all-purpose flour 14 oz/ 3 1/3 cups
- 2 ½ teaspoons Dr. Oetker baking powder
- 225 ml milk 7.6 fl.oz/ scant 1 cup
- Meringue topping:
- 4 egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 150 g sugar 5.3 oz/ ¾ cup
- Prepare rhubarb: Clean and chop into slices about as thick as your finger. Mix the rhubarb with 2 tablespoons of sugar and place in a colander. Let drain for about 30 minutes. This will help remove the excess moisture.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a with baking paper.
- Wet ingredients: Mix 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.
- Make the batter: In another bowl, mix the flour and the baking powder. Add half of the flour to the egg butter mixture and incorporate. Add half of the milk and stir again. Add the remaining flour, integrate, then add the remaining milk and mix until everything is combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
- Top the cake: Pat the rhubarb slices dry with some paper towels. Then, top the cake with rhubarb slices.
- 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 spotless mixing bowl. Use very clean beaters as well. Start beating the egg whites until they begin to foam. Add the salt and the lemon juice and continue beating until soft peaks start to form. Next, begin adding the sugar gradually, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
- Bake: Spread the meringue evenly over the cake, place back in the oven and continue baking for a further 12 to 15 minutes or until the meringue is golden. Let the cake cool before you slice it.
- Always use a digital kitchen scale in baking; it ensures the best results (Amazon affiliate link).
- It is difficult to say how many stalks of rhubarb you will need, as they come in different sizes, some very thin, some huge.