With Mother's Day approaching this weekend, I wanted to bake something special in honour of my Mom, and since she reads my blog, I figured I could share it with her both in person and online!
When I think back to my childhood and the treats that my Mom would bake for us, one thing that stands out in my mind is rhubarb. My parents grow a small rhubarb patch in their backyard, which has been there for as long as I can remember. I used to love being assigned the "job" of going out to pick the rhubarb for something my Mom planned to make, and my sisters and I would even eat pieces of it raw, our faces puckering from the sourness.
My Mom's specialty was (and still is) her delicious strawberry-rhubarb sour cream pie - every year I look forward to that limited time during the summer when rhubarb and strawberries are both in season because I know I'll get to taste that pie soon! She would also bake the rhubarb into hot fruit crisps and delicious muffins. I used to love the days when there would be a fresh batch of rhubarb muffins sitting on the countertop for us to eat as snacks!
So it didn't take long for me to decide that my Mother's Day treat this year would be something with rhubarb! I was able to find some at the market last weekend, and I spent the afternoon baking. I decided to make mini loaves with the rhubarb because they make such an adorable and perfect sized gift. Plus I could get two loaves from the batter - one for me to eat right away, and one to save in the freezer to bring to Mom this weekend!
I found a recipe for vegan strawberry-rhubarb muffins on the Kitchn, so I used that as a guide but turned it into mini loaves. Some of the other changes I made were using coconut oil instead of canola oil, adding some oat flour to the dry ingredients and I changed the spices by replacing the cardamom with cinnamon and adding some ground ginger because I love the combination of rhubarb and ginger.
I also left out the strawberries but I still liked the idea of combining the rhubarb with strawberries, so I added a swirl of strawberry-rhubarb jam to the batter instead. Finally, I created my own topping for the loaf by mixing oats, cinnamon, cane sugar and sliced almonds with a bit of Earth Balance Coconut Spread to make a delicious crumble.
I divided the batter up and started by filling one mini loaf tin. When that was done, I made one more mini loaf and had enough batter leftover for four large muffins too. As the loaves and muffins were baking, my whole apartment started to fill up with that amazing smell that I remember from my kitchen growing up, so I knew I was off to a good start!
After tasting them, I have to say these muffins and loaf may be one of my favourite baked goods I've ever made! They were perfectly soft and fluffy and had such a nice sweet flavour with notes of the warm spices. The rhubarb baked down into gooey pockets mixed with the swirl of jam, and I loved the light and crunchy almond crumble on top (although some of the almonds did fall off as I was eating, so make sure you have a plate!)
So if you're looking for an idea for something special to treat your mom this weekend, I think she would love this rhubarb loaf! Or even if you just want a treat for yourself or you need ideas for using up your rhubarb, give this recipe a try - you could use it to make muffins, mini loaves or even a regular sized loaf - just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Happy Mothers Day!
Vegan Rhubarb Loaf with Strawberry Jam Swirl
Adapted from Vegan Desserts: Sumptuous Sweets for Every Season, as seen on the Kitchn
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp vinegar (I used coconut vinegar)
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup organic cane sugar (or brown sugar)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
~ 1/4 cup strawberry or strawberry-rhubarb jam
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp cane sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp Earth Balance (I used the Earth Balance Coconut Spread)
2 tbsp sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a muffin tin and/or mini loaf pans with cooking spray.
Mix the almond milk with the vinegar in a small bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours through to salt). Add the diced rhubarb and stir until the rhubarb is fully coated.
Add the sugar, coconut oil and vanilla to the bowl with the almond milk and vinegar. Stir to combine. (Note: If your almond milk is still cold, it may cause the coconut oil to harden. If this happens, place the mixture in the microwave and microwave in 30 second intervals until the coconut oil is melted again).
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
In a separate bowl, combine the oats, sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Add the Earth Balance and mix in using a fork, until it is broken down and the oats are moist and crumbly. Stir in the almonds.
Pour the batter into your prepared pans – I filled two mini loaf pans and 4 muffin cups. Fill each pan/muffin cup only halfway at first, then add a spoonful of jam – about 1 tbsp per mini loaf pan or about 1 tsp per muffin cup. Add the remaining batter on top, then swirl with a toothpick to distribute the jam. Sprinkle the topping mixture on top of the batter and press in gently with your hands to help it stick.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes for muffins, or 25-30 minutes for mini loaves (I didn't test a large sized loaf but it would probably need around 45-55 minutes).
Remove from oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.
Makes 2 mini loaves and 4 large muffins, OR 12 muffins, OR 3-4 mini loaves