On Firecrackers in Your Chest: Vegan Rhubarb Cake

I came home from The Blogcademy in a flurry of excitement and motivation. The only real way to describe it is that I felt like someone had planted a firework in my chest – smack dab between my lungs, under my ribs, and next to my heart. My body functioned as normal, but I just had this crackle that wouldn’t stop.
I guess the idea of it all is pretty simple: Find what you love. And do more of that.
A few days out, I feel like I’m still running on adrenaline and the firecracker is, though now quieter, still crackling away in my chest. I feel alive and free. I’m doing everything I can to keep that little firecracker going!
I walked into our house, greeted the dogs and tried to pull together some kind of dinner. I’d been out of my kitchen for four days – what was I going to bake? Before leaving, my good friend, Ross, cut rhubarb from his yard for us, just as a fantastic Midwest thunderstorm came through. I knew I had to use that.  And the lovely Amber left a dozen of her chickens’ eggs on our porch the Sunday before. And it needed to be something simple, because let’s face it, I was exhausted.
Below is the recipe for a quick rhubarb cake. Surely you could use any other fruit you have around. It’s dairy-free and has some added protein from a handful of quinoa flakes. When it came out of the oven, I brushed it with some just-made date syrup. Quinoa flakes make everything a little bitter, in my experience, so I wanted to sweeten it up.
It’s simple. It’s rustic. And I put sunflower seeds on top just because the name starts with “sun”. 

Rhubarb Sun Cake Recipe // Yield: one loaf

1.5 c flour (I used whole wheat, but you could use your favorite gluten-free blend, or just plain all-purpose)
1/2 c quinoa flakes (optional, I just like a lil’ extra protein)
½ c granulated sugar
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
½ cup non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk, but you could easily use whatever you have on hand)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
6 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
zest of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1 cup chopped rhubarb + 5-6 slices for top of cake
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a loaf pan.
Mix together the flour, quinoa flakes, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk the milk, vinegar, eggs, and vanilla until combined and pour into the dry ingredients. Drizzle in the melted coconut oil and whisk until just combined. Fold in the 1 cup of chopped rhubarb. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and plop the slices of rhubarb on top, across the cake. Sprinkle sunflower seeds on the batter, around the rhubarb pieces. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Brush with date syrup or maple syrup with this comes out of the oven.

Date Syrup

5 medjool dates
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Mix everything together in a blender until smooth. Add more water if you want a thinner consistency. Use this on ice cream, pancakes, cookies, or this rhubarb cake!