For the cake:
½ C vegan butter
1½ C sugar
1 flax “egg” (1 tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons water; let it sit for a few minutes to thicken)
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 C plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1 C sour milk (1 C plant-based milk mixed with 1 Tbsp. vinegar)
3 C chopped rhubarb
⅓ C brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream the vegan butter and sugar until well combined, using stand or hand mixer. Add the flax egg and mix until combined. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the sour milk. Mix just until combined; do not over mix. Stir in the rhubarb.
Pour into an oiled and floured 9x13” pan. Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the cake. Bake for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
MORE FROM THE AUTHOR:
Keep your family baking traditions alive with these vegan recipes for cake and cookies
I grew up on a cattle and pig farm in Woodbury County.
We had meat at every lunch and dinner and sometimes for breakfast. I was in 4-H and showed pigs at the Woodbury County Fair. At the end of the fair, the pigs were sent to slaughter.
My dad mostly raised feeder cattle, meaning he bought them after they were taken from their mothers on a different farm and brought to ours. They would bawl for their mamas when they arrived.
I watched as the calves grew into cattle and were eventually sent to slaughter. While I felt sad when I saw my 4-H pigs (who I loved) and the cattle head for slaughter, this was a way of life for us.
I really didn't think about how my choices could be different until many years after I left home for Iowa City to go to college and where I stayed after I graduated. I knew from a young age that I loved animals, especially cats, and I was heartbroken whenever I saw any animal suffering. I knew that farm animals have loving relationships with other animals, love their babies, have unique personalities, and feel pain.
Still, I continued to eat meat.
When I became more involved in animal rescue, including volunteering at a shelter for cats with special needs, I began to understand that I could no longer love and cherish some animals while eating others. I became a vegetarian.
I was aware that I was being hypocritical by continuing to eat dairy and eggs, since chickens and dairy cows are subjected to the same cruelty as animals raised for meat consumption, but I wasn't ready to give them up. Finally, a few years after I gave up meat, I stopped eating dairy and eggs as well.
The hardest part about becoming vegan wasn't giving up cheese, as it is for many people; rather, it was giving up baking as I knew it. I grew up baking with my mom. We had traditions that were important to me, such as baking rhubarb cake and chocolate zucchini cake in the summer, cutout cookies and peanut blossom cookies at Christmastime, brownies to share at potlucks or to take on family vacations, and preparing my grandma's no-bake cookie recipe, which was a family favorite.
In my first year of 4-H, my mom and I spent the summer trying various chocolate chip cookie recipes in an attempt to find the perfect one for me to take to the fair. Those cookies earned me a blue ribbon.
These traditions are especially important to me since my mom died from cancer shortly after I graduated from high school. I have her recipes, some of them handwritten, and baking these recipes helps me feel closer to her.
When I became a vegan, I started searching for vegan recipes for some of my favorite baked goods, and the first recipe I looked for was one for chocolate chip cookies. I was so happy when the first one I tried was yummy.
I continued to look for good vegan baking recipes and was excited when I found the website Nora Cooks (https://www.noracooks.com/). She has become my favorite vegan blogger, and I have prepared many of her recipes for cookies, cakes, bars and frosting.
I was also thrilled when I found Country Crock Plant Butter. It comes in sticks and is an easy and delicious substitute for butter in baking.
As I found more delicious vegan recipes, I realized that I don’t have to give up my family baking traditions just because I am vegan. I can still make cutout cookies and peanut blossoms at Christmas, brownies and no-bake cookies to share with friends and family.
I have carried on these traditions with my own daughter, and we have made new traditions, such as baking and decorating cutout sugar cookies for Valentine's Day and the Fourth of July. I put the frosting on, and she does the sprinkles.
Vegan baking has become one of my passions. I love to bake for family and friends, and it is a way to relax after a stressful day. I am so happy that vegan baking is not only fun and delicious, but it is also cruelty-free.
I prefer to find vegan recipes rather than make them up myself, but I did decide to try veganizing my mom's rhubarb cake, and it came out well. I prepare it by using plant-based butter and a flax “egg.”
I enjoy sharing this cake with family and friends. It brings back fond memories of baking with my mom, especially the sound of chopping rhubarb. I don’t have a garden full of rhubarb like we did when I was growing up, but this time of the year and throughout summer, rhubarb is available in most grocery stores and farmer's markets.
This cake is very moist, as is true for most cake recipes prepared with fruit. It was our favorite rhubarb treat when we were growing up. It's a delicious offering for a picnic or potluck.