Erin French, a Freedom, Maine native, captures the charming spirit of her small town restaurant through her book, The Lost Kitchen.
I wish I could say this dessert was the product of consideration and foresight, but then it might not have been as delicious. When I had my very own first rhubarb patch, I was excited to harvest it and cook it into a beautiful cake to impress my supper club. But I added too much butter and not enough flour, and I ended up with a pink and white swirly mess. But something really magical had happened—it tasted like gooey vanilla cake with warmed compote mixed in. Now when I serve this (purposefully), I hand out spoons and we all dig in.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, with butter and flour, shaking out any excess flour. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, milk, sour cream, and melted butter. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated.
- Make the compote: In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until the rhubarb becomes tender and sauce-like, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. This will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
- Pour about two-thirds of the compote into the greased skillet and spread evenly. Pour the cake batter over it, spread evenly, then dollop the remaining compote over the top. Use a butter knife to swirl together the batter and compote.
- Bake until a cake tester or knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. I like to serve this warm, directly from the skillet, with a big spoon and a bowl of whipped cream to dollop on top.
Reprinted from The Lost Kitchen. Copyright © 2017 by Erin French. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Nicole Franzen. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.