How do you snack?

May 22, 2024

As a fishing and farming family, the light drives our daily routine. We rise at the crack of dawn and are tucked between the sheets by sunset.  While spring progresses into summer, we are often up and about at 4:30, breakfasting by 5.  When the 9 o’clock hour rolls around, our stomachs are rumbling, and it’s time for the mid-morning snack.

A snack, defined as the small portion of food generally eaten between meals, is generally around 200 – 300 calories. Typically designed to be portable, quick and satisfying, snacks come in a variety of forms, including processed foods and items made from fresh ingredients at home.

Historically, peanuts, popcorn and pretzels were the first snack foods widely available in the United States, becoming popular in the mid 1800’s.  Usually sold by immigrant street vendors, these foods were shunned by the Victorian middle class as unhygienic and lower class, primarily because they did not require “proper usage of utensils.”

The science and technology of packaging food, and the marketing of large food manufacturers, revolutionized the snack food industry.  By the 1950’s, snacking had become an all-American pastime, internationally recognized as the emblem of middle American life.

Snacks are important calorie sources for small children, teenagers, seniors, and active adults.  A nutritionally balanced snack provides energy to fuel the body and satiety, the feeling of fullness, until the next meal.

The recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Snack Cake was adapted from the Smitten Kitchen, a blog for home cooks created and maintained by Deb Perelman.  The author of three cookbooks, Perelman writes that this recipe was inspired by a formula from Martha Stewart.

We enjoy this snack cake with our morning wild blueberry, yogurt and kale smoothie.  It also satisfies the sweet tooth for a simple dessert, and is extremely popular at potluck suppers and barbecues.  A trick I learned from Perelman was to line the baking pan with parchment paper such that the ends hang over the pan. This makes removal once the cake is baked much easier!

Strawberry Rhubarb Snack Cake is fresh for several days kept in a tin or in the refrigerator.  I like to freeze individual portions to pack in my husband’s lunch box when he goes fishing, or for our easy consumption on road trips.

While snacking has become the American way of life, it doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy both nutritious and delicious foods.  Preparing foods at home is more economical, and gives us control over the quality of fuel that enters our body.  How does your family like to snack?  Drop me a line, or better yet, the recipe.

Strawberry Rhubarb Snack Cake

Cheryl Wixson
Adapted from a Smitten Kitchen Recipe

Ingredients
  

For the cake:

  • 1 1/3 cups 165 grams all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup 130 grams granulated sugar
  • ½ cup 1 stick room temperature butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1- teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3- cup sour cream

For the fruit filling:

  • 1 ¼ pounds rhubarb and strawberries cut into pieces, about 5 cups fruit
  • 2/3 cup 130 grams granulated sugar
  • 1- tablespoon lemon juice

For the crumb topping:

  • 1- cup 125 grams all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup 50 grams brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter

Instructions
 

  • Assemble ingredients and tools. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan, then line the pan with parchment paper, extending the length up two sides. (This makes the cake much easier to remove from the pan!)
  • Wash the rhubarb and cut into ½ inch pieces. Cut the strawberries into small pieces. Zest the lemon, then cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Set aside.
  • Stir together the fruit, lemon juice and 2/3-cup sugar. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream together the ½ cup butter and 2/3 cup sugar and lemon zest. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the 1 1/3 cup flour, baking powder and ground ginger.
  • Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixer bowl, beat until combined. Add about ½ of the sour cream, mix, then add more flour, more sour cream, and more flour, mixing well each time and scraping down the sides.
  • Add the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. It will be thin.
  • Spoon the fruit mixture over the top, spreading it evenly over the cake batter.
  • To prepare the crumb topping, whisk together the brown sugar, flour and ground cinnamon in a small bowl.
  • Add the melted butter and using a fork, stir it until you have nice crumbs.
  • Sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the fruit and bake in the preheated oven for 50 – 60 minutes. The cake will be golden on top and a cake tester will come out clean.
  • Let the cake cool completely on a rack. Loosen the sides of the cake from the pan with a knife, and then remove the cake from the pan. Cut into squares. Makes 24 servings.

Cheryl's Notes

Nutritional analysis per serving: 165 calories, 2.4 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat, 24 mg. sodium, 1 gram fiber

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