Fun fact: did you know the leaves of of a rhubarb stalk are poisonous???1 I feel like they should come with some kind of warning tag because they look just like rainbow chard (which is not poisonous) and it's only through my obsessive internet recipe research that I happened upon this information. Maybe this is common knowledge and I just never knew? I just feel like if someone who didn't know better bought some rhubarb they might try to juice the leaves or make a salad with them or something. So...please don't do that!
When I spotted rhubarb at the farmers market I couldn't pass it up because I remembered a recipe I saw for latticed rhubarb tarts, which inspired me to create this naturally beautiful cake decoration. It's much more simple than it looks, and a great way to make a stunning cake. The ombre effect of the rhubarb strips do all the work and trick everyone into thinking you are a dessert genius.
you will need:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup melted butter
4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 large eggs
6 stalks of rhubarb (choose the ones that are darkest pink/red on the outside for the most colorful results)
1 cup white sugar
3 cups water
Preheat oven to 475°F. Place a large pan filled with 1/2 inch water in oven.
Make crust: Mix graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon; add butter. Press crust onto bottom and 2/3 of the way up a 9-inch springform pan lined with parchment. Wrap a large piece of foil around bottom of pan. Freeze until filling is prepared.
Make filling: Use an electric mixer to mix cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Blend until smooth and creamy. Scrape down sides of bowl. Whisk eggs in a bowl; add to cream cheese mixture. Blend just until eggs are incorporated.
Remove crust from freezer and pour in filling. Carefully place cheesecake into preheated water bath. Bake for 12 minutes; turn oven to 350°F and bake until top of cheesecake turns golden, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove cake to a wire rack to cool.
While cheesecake is baking, prepare your rhubarb strips. Using a very sharp vegetable peeler (you might have to buy a new one if yours has been used a lot) cut rhubarb into paper-thin strips. Bring water and sugar to a boil and add strips, 3-4 at a time for about 20 seconds. Remove from water and lay out flat on wax paper to cool. Lay strips across top of cooled cheesecake and cut edges with scissors. Wrap sides of cheesecake with more strips of rhubarb to hide edges of the top strips. Brush entire cake with the pretty pink syrup you now have from boiling the rhubarb. (save it and make lemonade with it!)
don't the drying rhubarb strips kind of look like bacon?