Lately, I started seeing a lot of rhubarb in the markets and then in dessert dishes at restaurants and bakeries around town.

Rhubarb is always a mystery to me because it’s one of the few vegetables that make their way straight to a sweet dish more often than a savory one. And with its pretty pink color, rhubarb makes any dish look sophisticated and beautiful.

I called this post “rhubarb via Oregon” not because the rhubarb came from Oregon (I got it locally in Oakland) but because I used a recipe from the “Dishing Up Oregon” cookbook that I got from my sister for Christmas. (My sister recently moved back to Portland and one of her ways of enticing me to visit was this cookbook of seasonal dishes from Oregon chefs.)

This rhubarb buckle recipe comes from Pastry Chef Steve Bouton of Belly restaurant. What makes it unique is that he used candied ginger bits in the crumb that tops the buckle, creating a brilliant subtle flavor-mixture of the tart rhubarb and sweet tangy ginger. This recipe was simple to follow and my buckle turned out ahhhhh-mazing. I like the simplicity of this recipe so much that I’m looking forward to peach season because peach and ginger are another classic combination that I’m looking forward to try.

I’ve reprinted Bouton’s recipe below because I love it so much I think you all should make it (especially for this holiday weekend, perfect for a brunch or picnic at the beach). Enjoy!

A slice of my finished rhubarb buckle

Rhubarb Buckle with Candied Ginger Crumb Recipe
Excerpted from “Dishing Up Oregon” (Storey Publishing, 2011)

Makes 1 (9-inch) cake

Candied Ginger Crumb:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
2 T unsalted butter, melted

Rhubarb Buckle:
Cooking spray
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 t ground ginger
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 T buttermilk
3/4 lb. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 2 cups)

Make the candied ginger crumb: Mix the flour, sugar, and candied ginger together in a small bowl. Mix in the melted butter with a fork until crumbly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch round baking pan with cooking spray.

Make the buckle: Whisk the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.

Add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the buttermilk, on medium speed until just combined. Gently fold in the rhubarb with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle the candied ginger crumb evenly over the top. Bake the cake until the top is golden and firm, about 45 minutes. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes before serving.

Rhubarb stalks are like celery mixed with swiss chard

I ended up using just three stalks of rhubarb cut into 1/2-inch slices

Bits of candied ginger adds a surprise in the crumb

Mixing up the candied ginger crumb

Buckle dough after I folded in the rhubarb

My buckle before it went into the oven

And here it is right out of the oven with a beautiful golden rounded top (which unfortunately falls after it cools, but it still tasted great)

15 Responses to Baking With Rhubarb via Oregon

  1. hungry dog says:

    I’m going to make this this weekend! I’ve never made a buckle before…for some reason I always thought it was like a crumble, not a cake. In any case, this sounds fantastic. The candied ginger is a great touch. Thanks for posting this!

    • Ben Ben says:

      Oy, I never can remember what defines a buckle or crumble or coffee cake! Must be something about the topping. All I know is I like them all! 😉

  2. Sandy says:

    Boy do I love rhubarb but I’ve never thought to pair it with candied ginger! Love this recipe and it looks pretty easy to incorporate with other fruits and ingredients!

    • Ben Ben says:

      Yes, perfect for summer with the different fruits to choose from. I can see folding in cherries or apricot or nectarines! The possibilities are endless right now.

  3. bethh says:

    woo hoo! I know what I’m bringing to a BBQ on Monday. Thanks for posting this, it looks amazing. I’m tempted to make some strawberries in sugar to put on top or beside it – I’m a sucker for strawberry/rhubarb. Thoughts?

    • Ben Ben says:

      Strawberries sound like a nice addition. I’m kind of thinking folding them in with less rhubarb might be better than putting them in the crumb topping. Only because I think the juices from the strawberries would affect a bit of the crunch of the crumble. But it might look pretty cool on the other end. Let me know what you end up doing!

  4. Foodhoe says:

    Why is it called a buckle I wonder? Looks alot like coffee cake I like the inclusion of ginger, sounds really delicious

    • Ben Ben says:

      I know, it’s so confusing. I read on the Web that it gets its name because it “buckles and cracks” while baking. Mine actually only “buckled” after I took it out of the oven, but it didn’t crack. It really is just like a coffee cake, but I think coffee cake doesn’t have fruit inside the dough.

  5. Carolyn Jung says:

    You had me at candied ginger crumble! LOL You know how I love my ginger. 😉

  6. Row says:

    Looks very yummy! I have the candied ginger, now all I need to do is find some rhubarb! 🙂

  7. Hi! Found your site via Carolyn Jung’s blog. Fantasticoooo blog and pics. I want summer, so I can make this recipe. Happy NY!

    • Ben Ben says:

      Welcome Jenny! Summer provides a lot of options to make this, but in the winter if you can get your hands on some nice pears and cranberry, I’ve made this same recipe using cranberry-pears, which turned out just as great!

  8. Steve Bouton says:

    Hi, this is Steve Bouton, and thank you for liking this recipe so much! It is truly superb. To give proper credit, it is originally from a cookbook called Rustic Fruit Desserts. They are called “buckles” or “grunts” because of the way they collapse and let air out after being taken out of the oven.

    • Ben Ben says:

      Hi Chef, thanks for the explanation of the name. This is one of my go-to recipes whenever I want to make coffee cake. Still one of my favorites!