Rhubarb Lemon Loaf

I love rhubarb. Partly because of its perfectly tart taste but also because it signals that summer is on its way. Gone are the days of trolling the produce aisle for limp lettuce and sad root vegetables. Rhubarb brings with it asparagus and then strawberries and then a summer full of beautiful local produce at the farmers market.

I've reached the point where I've tried all the somewhat logical methods of inducing labour (pre-pregnant Hillary believed that babies come when they're ready, million-weeks-pregnant Hillary is desperately hoping that eating a pineapple near the ocean under the light of a full moon is what will get this party started) and now I'm firmly planted in old wives' tales territory.

Which brings me to the rhubarb.

According to family lore, eating rhubarb is a natural way to induce labour. The internet is less supportive of this claim but like I said, reason left this party weeks ago.

This loaf is tart and zingy. It's perfect with a giant latte for breakfast but it also shines as some next-level strawberry shortcake (pile sliced strawberries and mounds of freshly whipped cream on top of cooled slices).

Adapted from this recipe.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk + 1-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced approximately 1/4" thick

Streusel Topping (optional)*
1 Tablespoon melted butter
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 9"x5" loaf pan.

Whisk together flour, lemon zest, baking soda, and salt.

In separate bowl, whisk together egg, brown sugar, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.

Gently mix flour mixture into wet ingredients with a rubber spatula, just until moistened. Fold in rhubarb.

Mix together streusel topping ingredients until crumbly.

Spread half of the loaf batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the streusel topping over batter. Spoon remaining batter into pan and top with remaining streusel topping.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 - 65 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

*If you're not a fan of streusel crumb toppings, leave it out and keep your loaf naked. Another alternative is mixing together 1/2 - 1 cup icing sugar with a few teaspoons of lemon juice to make a glaze that you pour over your still-warm-from-the-oven loaf. If you do the glaze method, I recommend using your toothpick to cover the surface of your loaf in tiny holes that the glaze can seep into for maximum flavour.