Food and Food: Home Cookin'10 May 2009 06:36 pm

Mike’s sister Kim has been away for nearly a year, WWOOFing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms; you work on a farm, in return for room and board) in Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia. Shortly before she left, she made the plunge and took on the vegan lifestyle. To welcome her home, Mike made a huge vegan spread, and I made a vegan cake.

Predictably, there were a lot of lentils. Lots.  The dishes were mostly Indian, except for two lentil dishes which were Ethiopian. Dishes included brown mustard seed cauliflower, okra curry, kik alicha and a variation on misir wot. To accompany, fresh roti.

Okra is SO delicious! We used fresh, but if you find it hard to get, frozen is okay.


Mmmm, fresh roti.


I bought some rhubarb stalks last week, maybe thinking I would make rhubarb strawberry muffins. Instead, I used the stalks in a vegan rhubarb coffee cake. It was my first time baking anything vegan, and I can say a few things put me off, as they weren’t my normal mode of baking. Vegan baking obviously doesn’t allow use of animal fats, so butter, milk and eggs are out. Instead, recipes tend to use things like applesauce and oil in place of animal fats. Pouring a whole cup of oil into the cake batter kind of turned my stomach, even though it’s really no different than butter.

The cake took a LONG time to bake. The recipe said an hour, but I think my choice of pan made leaving the cake in for nearly two hours necessary. When I popped it out of the pan, it looked…gelatinous and underdone. The middle started to collapse (again, possibly from pan choice or from all my cake testing during the baking) and it turned out to be more of a rhubarb crumble instead of cake.

I used safflower oil, so the oil choice was a bit healthier than a regular canola  oil. The addition of flax seeds helped add texture and nutrition. The cake was pretty delicious, and far exceeded my expectations.



Very rhubarb-y filling!


Upside down view shows kind of a weird bottom, which was very moist and almost gelatinous. Baking it in a different pan would have helped avoid that, I think.

Vegan Rhubarb Crumble / Coffeecake

Adapted from KimmyKokonut.

Crumb topping

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon safflower (or canola) oil

Cake ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 3 tablespoons applesauce (I bought a jar of organic baby food applesauce since I needed so little)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 cup safflower (or canola) oil
  • 4 cups rhubarb stems, medium dice
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and get out your 9×13″ pan or 2 loaf pans.
  2. Grind flax seeds, and whisk with water and set aside.
  3. Make crumb topping: Mix flour, sugar and spices in a small bowl and mix together (whisk, fork, fingers) while drizzling oil in. Once it becomes crumb-y, set it aside. You may need to add more/less oil.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together applesauce, sugar, molasses, oil and flax & water mix.
  5. In a separate, larger, bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix until JUST combined.
  7. Fold in rhubarb and pour into pan(s). Top with crumbs.
  8. Bake for one hour or until a knife inserted comes out clean. (I had to bake mine for nearly 2 hours)
  9. Cool on a wire rack. This would be great with soy ice cream.

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