Dan and I travelled through Europe, working on organic farms through an organization now called World Wide Workers on Organic Farms (back in the day it was Willing Workers on Organic Farms). We were extremely lucky to land at Tamarisk Farm in West Bexington, England, on what is known as the "Jurassic Coast" looking out over the channel and the chesil beach. The farm operated on the "hamper or basket system" - basically, a lovely name for a CSA, where your share of the harvest would be ready for you in a basket.
My world wide experiences were quite limited at the time. Josephine and Arthur Pearse shared a great deal of farming wisdom, were enormously generous and taught me much about kindness, family and love. Not to mention how to call one milking cow to me in a pasture and milk her without a stanchion or how NOT to waste roadkill.
This cake was my first encounter with rhubarb, and while I am sure I have changed the recipe over time, I think of Josephine each time I smell the cinnamon from the other room as it bakes.
Cooking note: She used, and I use, truly sour milk. The milk that Farmer Dan says is un-usable because it curdled in his coffee. You can use regular milk with a little vinegar or lemon juice added, buttermilk or kefir and all work well (and Food Safe might prefer this). I LOVE using Four Star Farms flour. Give it a try!
TAMARISK FARM RHUBARB CAKE
3 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1 cup sour milk
1/2 cup olive oil, butter or coconut oil
1 cup brown sugar or sucanat
2 cups whole wheat or whole spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp or more of cinnamon
turbinado sugar mixed with additional cinnamon (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Mix egg, oil, sour milk, brown sugar and rhubarb well. Add dry ingredients on top. Mix gently with spatula until dry ingredients are just incorporated. Pour into greased 9 x 13" pan (or make into muffins). Sprinkle turbinado sugar and cinnamon mix on top for a shiny, sweeter cake. Bake cake for approximately 30-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out without any flour on it (you may see a little soft rhubarb on toothpick and this is fine).