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Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake and a Trip to Seattle Aquarium and Pike Place Market

We are home from Seattle. Had an absolute fantastic time. I could have easily stayed another week, but unfortunately real life calls and we are now back to our daily routine. Lots of fun outings with the kids. Great visits with family. Relaxing. Fantastic food.

I am majorly bummed that I didn’t take any pictures of the food we made, but I do have some recipes to share: Granola, Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake, Tangerine Cherry Overnight Oatmeal, Mixed greens with candied walnuts and blue cheese, and a quick one pot tilapia dish.

An excerpt from our trip:

I’ve completely lost track of time and days. It’s amazing what a vacation does to your mental calendar. No more appointments to remember. No countdown to the weekend. It’s all one long weekend with days blurring from one to the next. One day we find ourselves out at the Seattle Aquarium with grandma, grandpa, and the kids. Logan is running off not listening. I wonder if this is an indication of what it’s going to be like today. It’s a good thing we brought the stroller with us; it serves well as a portable timeout chair while on our outing. Madeline is mystified by the very first tank of fish she looks at and doesn’t want to leave to walk on to the next. After a mini-tantrum she realizes there is more to see ahead and makes a mad dash for it.

The Aquarium is excellent. Much larger than ours here in Albuquerque, with lots of indoor and outdoor exhibits. Definitely worth repeated visits. The kids favored watching the diver feeding the fish and the otters outside.

For Logan there is so much indecision in the gift shop. He can’t seem to find the perfect souvenir to take home. In the end, grandma purchases a t-shirt for each and an aquarium felt board which Logan has declared “perfect” because it comes with a girl diver. He currently has an affinity for all things female, purple, and curly. (In fact, we spend a better part of our vacation drawing stick figure girls using a purple crayon. They’ve all got big dresses and curly hair).

Afterwards we head to Pike Place Market to explore the offerings. We are lucky to have impeccable timing at the fish stand. Logan’s eyes are wide as he sees the famous fish throwing not once, but four times. They sure know how to put a show on for tourists. There are all sorts of fish and seafood. Whole octopus. Scary looking Monk Fish. In the end we decide on some local rhubarb, large strawberries, and a couple blood oranges for purchase. Rhubarb and strawberries because we haven’t planned anything for dessert yet. Eric’s mom, Angela, asks if I have a recipe. I tell her that we can look online or I’ll make something up. Not unusual for me. I am often a winger, adapter, fly by the seat of my pants-er, at least when it comes to the kitchen.

The kids are tired, hungry, and ready to leave the bustling market behind in favor of a nap in the car. The hunger is nothing that a bag of fresh grapes can’t fix. We pick up a bunch of red seedless for our last purchase. Logan and Madeline share the entire bunch in the back seat, where Madeline is now asleep. Not a single grape survives. I can hear Logan playing with cars in his seat behind Eric as I write this post on my phone. I don’t want to forget a moment of today, but I know I already have.

My only regrets for the day are not getting pictures of the spectacular market or the strawberry-rhubarb coffee cake we create for dessert. The good news is that it was so good I’ll be making it again soon. Like this weekend. And I will be sure to take pictures this time.


Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Yield: 12 servings

This dessert is incredible. Rhubarb is one of those bumper neighborhood garden crops, and you won't regret making this cake to share!


  • For the rhubarb filling:
  • 1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
  • 1/2 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger

For the crumbs:

  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour

For the cake:

  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbs softened butter, cut into pieces
  • raw turbino sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 12-inch-round spring form baking pan. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, zest, cornstarch, and ginger. Stir in sliced strawberries. Set aside.
  2. To make crumbs, in a large bowl, whisk together sugars, spices, salt, and butter until smooth. Stir in flour with a spatula. It will look like a solid dough.
  3. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.
  4. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb mixture over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.
  5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. Sprinkle with raw turbinado sugar They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 60 to 70 minutes. Cool completely before serving.
  6. We served this for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Leftovers were warmed for breakfast the next day.


adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 707Total Fat 32gSaturated Fat 19gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 156mgSodium 538mgCarbohydrates 97gFiber 2gSugar 46gProtein 8g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

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Friday 22nd of May 2009

Ah rhubarb. We haven't had our first of the season here yet... but I can't WAIT!

Amy I.

Thursday 21st of May 2009

Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip. I'm headed to Seattle next month for the first time, can't wait!


Thursday 21st of May 2009

Sounds super fun! I want to see the tilapia recipe. We have a lot of tilapia and I need some fresh ideas!


Thursday 21st of May 2009

Sounds yummy. Pike Place Market is one of my most favorite places in the country. One of the big downfalls of moving back to the East Coast is not being able to visit the market at least once a month. Ugh! Have you ever heard of the Seattle Rainwater Soap Co.? They sell their soaps and things there. All of it has actual Seattle rainwater in the product. It is a must have when you go to Seattle. The soaps last forever. I use a bar as my body wash every day and it lasts usually on average about 4 months. Not too bad. Ok, enough of that. Glad you enjoyed your vacation!


Thursday 21st of May 2009

I am loving my rhubarb plants. I made a crumb cake already, but I still want to try this one!

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