Best of Baking | Riesling Rhubarb Crisp Cake

With rhubarb season well on it's way, we're throwing it back this #tbt to this gorgeous cake recipe by Tessa Huff of Style Sweet CA and her cookbook, Layered, Baking, Building, and Styling Spectacular Cakes.  Tessa's book is still a favourite, and her Swiss Meringue Buttercream has become a staple in my baking repertoire!  This really is a gorgeous book (if you haven't happened upon it yet) which contains 150 recipes which also includes Tessa's gorgeous styling!  (Recipe below)!

Riesling Rhubarb Crisp Cake
by Tessa Huff from the cookbook, Layered

For the Riesling Cake
Butter or nonstick cooking spray, for the pans
3-1/4 cups (425g) cake flour, plus more for the pans
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 large egg whites
1-1/2 cups (360ml) sweet Riesling

Make the Riesling Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).  Grease and flower three 8-inch (20cm) cake pans and set aside.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.  Add the sugar and mix on medium-high until the butter is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
4. Turn the mixer to medium-low and gradually add the vanilla and egg whites until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the Riesling, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of the dry ingredients combined.
6. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

For the Rhubarb Strawberry Compote
1-3/4 cup (8 ounces / 225 g) fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 cup (4 ounces / 115 g) fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/4 inch (6mm) pieces
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Make the Rhubarb Strawberry Compote
7. Combine the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and cook them over medium high heat, stirring intermittently with a wooden spoon, until the juices start to bubble. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the fruit starts to break down. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

For the Rhubarb Buttercream
2 medium recipes
Vanilla Swiss Meringue (see below)
1/2 cup Rhubarb Strawberry Compote (see above)

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream (Medium Recipe)
Makes about 4-1/2 cups (1L); enough to frost a three-layer 8-inch (20cm) round cake or fill and frost a three-layer 6 inch (15cm) round cake.
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150ml) large egg whites
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place the egg whites and sugar in the bolw of a stand mixer. Whisk them together by hand to combine. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place it over medium high heat. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.

Whisking intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it registers 160F on a candy thermometer or is hot to the touch. Once hot, carefully fit the mixer bowl onto the stand mixer.

With the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes, until it holds medium-stiff peaks. When done, the outside of the mixer bowl should return to room temperature and no residual heat should be escaping the meringue out of the top of the bowl. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle.

With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, then the vanilla. Once incorporated, turn up the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the buttercream is silky smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

(Oat Crumble recipe after the jump)!

For the Oat Crumble
1/2 cup (45g) quick cooking oats
1/4 cup (25g) sliced almonds
1/4 cup (55g) firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Make the Oat Crumble
9. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
10. In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, brown sugar, flour, butter, honey, cinnamon, and salt with a wooden spoon until combined. The mixture should resemble clumps of sand. Sprinkle it over the lined baking sheet and bake stirring halfway through for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden bown. Let it cool and crumble the mixture into smaller pieces, if necessary.

For the Assembly
Gel food colouring (optional)
Remaining Vanilla Swiss Buttercream
Fresh strawberries for decorating (optional)
Remaining Rhubarb Strawberry Compote, for serving (optional)

Assemble the Cake
11.  Once the cakes have completely cooled, level them and choose which layer will be at the bottom. Place it on a cake plate or serving dish. Spread on 1 cup (240ml) of the rhubarb buttercream with an offset spatula. Sprinkle it with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the oat crumble. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat with the buttercream and remaining crumble, finishing with the final layer.
12. Add the gel food colouring, if using, to the remaining vanilla buttercream. Use it to frost the top and sides of the cake. Top with fresh strawberries, if using and serve with the remaining compote.

Decorate It
To create the ruffle design in the photo, fill a pastry bag fitted with a petal tip and buttercream. Starting at the top of the cake, pipe rows of continuous, horizontal ruffle swags around the cake. Invert the swag by keeping the narrow end of the petal tip facing upward. Start the second row slightly overlapping the bottom of the top row and continue around and down the cake. For a simpler finish, 1 large reicpe of buttercream will do.

Note: This cake will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days; it may also be frozen.

Layered, Baking, building, and styling spectacular cakes by Tessa Huff is available at the following stores:

Visit Tessa Huff of Style Sweet CA online at:

Twitter: @StyleSweetCA
Instagram: @stylesweetca

Jan Halvarson

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