There’s nothing better than baking with flavors that celebrate the season. With spring in full swing, there were two flavors that immediately came to mind when baking: strawberry and rhubarb.
Pound cake is perfect for any occasion – or no occasion at all – at any time of the year, and when combined with flavors of the season, it borders on perfection. When I was working on the recipe for this pound cake, I knew I had to incorporate some spring and summer tastes into the batter.
Strawberry and rhubarb. Like Bert and Ernie, Thelma and Louise, Batman and Robin, they are a dynamic duo that can’t be beat. They compliment and enhance each other. They unite in undeniable harmony. And when combined as a swirled glaze in chunks of pound cake – well, it’s a well orchestrated symphony for your taste buds.
For this cake, I served it up in bites. Why? First, pound cake is decadent and rich. It’s best not gobbled down but savored slowly and in small portions. Secondly, this cake served as a bite allows for the addition of extra strawberry rhubarb glaze to be applied for added flavor. I like to apply my glaze in a fashion that emulates a Jackson Pollack painting – chaotically and in excess.
I’m growing strawberries in my garden, and with the quarts of berries that we’ve already harvested, culinary inspiration naturally took hold. Instead of buying a glaze from the grocery encased in plastic, I made my own glaze for this cake that incorporated plump strawberries and tangy rhubarb. Glazes are incredibly easy to make and well worth skipping the store-bought stuff, and when making your own, the flavor combinations are endless. Sure, strawberry glaze is easy to locate at your neighborhood store, but have you ever seen strawberry rhubarb glaze?
Fruity glaze, cream cheese, lots of butter – sounds like my kind of dessert.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pound Cake Bites
Serves approximately 90 bites with glaze
- One cup fresh strawberries, cleaned
- One cup fresh rhubarb, cleaned
- 1/3 cup plus one tablespoon cornstarch
- 5 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Three sticks of butter, room temperature
- One 8-oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
- 6 large eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- First, make your glaze. Slice strawberries and rhubarb into small pieces and place in your food processor. Blend until smooth.
- In a small bowl, combine two cups of sugar and all the cornstarch. Ensure that they are fully incorporated. Then, transfer to a medium saucepan and add the water and fruit mixture. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Reduce heat slightly and cook until the mixture is thick, approximately five minutes. Once thickened, remove from heat and transfer to the container of your choice.
- Allow the glaze to cool completely to room temperature, approximately one hour. Once completely cooled, you can either refrigerate for use later or proceed with your pound cake. If refrigerated, allow the glaze to return to room temperature before incorporating in the recipe.
- Next, let’s move on to the cake. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease two standard size loaf pans and set aside.
- Using your standing mixer and paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is fluffy and creamy. This should be done on a medium-high speed. Add the three cups of sugar – one cup at a time – and blend until fluffy and light. Think yellow clouds. Add vanilla extract.
- Tear the cream cheese into pieces and add to the mixture, blending on medium until creamy and fully incorporated. Then, add each egg one at a time on low speed until just blended.
- Add a third of the batter to each of the two loaf pans. Then, using a teaspoon, apply ample spoons full of glaze to each pan. Think of a traffic light. One. Two. Three. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, swirl the glaze into the batter, creating a marbled look. Then, pour the second third of batter into each pan and repeat. Finishing by topping each pan with the remaining batter evenly distributed between the two.
- Place both pans in the oven and bake for one hour and 30 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted in the center and cleanly removed.
- Remove cakes from the the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Then, remove to a cooling rack for a minimum of one hour. Once cooled, slice each cake and cut the slices into small squares. Leave the outer crust on the pieces or remove – your choice!
- Arrange the cake bites onto a piece of parchment paper. Place remaining glaze in a fine tipped bottle and apply additional glaze as desired to the bites. Use toothpicks to serve if desired. Store any leftover bites in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
This recipe yields far more glaze than you will need for this recipe. I always make extra and keep it in the refrigerator for topping ice cream or making super sweet pops with!
When in doubt, keep baking. Pound cake is notorious for fooling you and not fully baking. Don’t burn it, but trust your instincts.