Rhubarb, rhubarb…or having my cake and plenty of it!

A what point does a cake become a pudding? I’ve been pondering this one for a week or so.

Let me explain. I stumbled upon this recipe on the internet a while back. I can’t remember where or how I found it and since I normally ignore these things. I can’t say why it sparked my interest this time,  except perhaps the combo. Rhubarb is now in season and I’d just bought a couple of stems from the green grocers. Oh, and I like almonds. Simple as that.

The first time I made it  my couple of stems amounted to just under half the required quantity for the recipe. So I chucked in (that’s so Jamie Oliver!) some chopped up bits of a rather soft looking apple from my fruit bowl.  The oranges, had also been loitering for too long, weren’t particularly juicy but they did well enough.

It was delicious. Definitely a cake. I could cut a slice and eat it with my hand.

Then I went out and bought the required amount of rhubarb, some juicy oranges and made it again. This time it was soft and richly soggy. It begged for cream and demanded, since it couldn’t support itself as a handsome slice, to eaten with a spoon. I’d call that a pud, wouldn’t you?

Either way, it is completely delicious and I have been making and eating it, almost constantly ever since. The toasted, sugary and orangey almond topping makes it.

I expect, that when rhubarb is no longer in season, that apple will work as well and I’m planning to try adding a some sliced ginger sometime. However, you make it, it is completely delicious.

So here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Rhubarb and Orange Cake with Flaked Almonds

Zesty orange intensifies the flavour of English rhubarb in this stunning dessert or tea time treat.

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Preparation time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes plus cooling
Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes, plus 10 minutes cooling 
Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 350g English rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 140g butter, softened
  • 2 free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 100g ground almonds
  • Grated zest of 1/2  orange, plus the  juice

For the topping:

  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 25g light muscovado sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 orange, plus the juice
  • 50g flaked almonds

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5 or 170°C for a fan oven. Grease a round 23cm springform cake tin and line its base with baking parchment. Mix the chopped the rhubarb with the orange zest  and juice   with 50g of the sugar. Set aside for about an hour, stirring once or twice.
  2. With an electric whisk, beat together the remaining sugar and the butter, then whisk in the eggs. Using a metal spoon, gently fold in the flour, baking powder and ground almonds. Then stir in the rest of the orange juice.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin. Drain the rhubarb, remembering to keep the liquid, and scatter over the cake batter. Bake for 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the topping ingredients (including the juice after you strained the rhubarb) and warm gently on a low heat until all the butter and sugar has melted.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C, gas mark 4 or 160°C for a fan oven. Spread the topping mixture over the cake and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes or until firm.
  6. Cool in the tin and then transfer to a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve, either warm or cold.
  7. You could add  softly whipped cream or custard, but since I live in Cornwall there’s only really two options: a great bit dollop of clotted cream or, my personal preference, a small scoop of Roddas crème fraîche.
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3 thoughts on “Rhubarb, rhubarb…or having my cake and plenty of it!

  1. I shall have to make this, looks lovely. I have just bought myself a breadmaker but it also makes cakes, so we have done a toffee one and a chocolate fudge one, these come out looking like malt loafs. Taste wonderful but nothing like a “cake”!!!! it’s all bizzarre to me, I just eat them and enjoy it 😀

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