Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Rhubarb Rhubarb Rhubarb

Rhubarb is my favourite fruit (or, to be pedantic, deceptively fruit like vegetable). Except for gooseberries. However rhubarb, unlike his socially inept friend, is much quicker to cook (excellent for Impatient People like myself) and less of a faff to prepare (again good for I.P.’s like me). And I think they are in season, just.

So this is a little rhubarb number I dreamt up lying in bed fretting about my six month review at work. Six month review now over and it turns out that it wasn't worth fretting about (phewf), but the upside of the fret was this.... please welcome in to your world the rhubarb upside down drizzle cake. Think lemon drizzle meets apple upside down in a big warm cake tin of rubarby almondy loveliness.

Baking and me don’t always get on; my first cake recipe, the indominiable Victoria sponge, was based on each ingredient being “the weight of two eggs” and I have never really moved on from this rather quaint, if unsophisticated method of measuring ingredients (largely, I should add, because it is fail safe, if a little one dimensional). But my hero, the rhubarb, is a complicated soul with his soft texture and tangy dark side, and he really does deserve a softer touch, so on this occasion I have dusted off my old iron weights and done things by the book. 

This is how it goes:

500g – 600g of Rhubarb (about 5 long sticks)
150g ground almonds
150g Self Raising Flour
300g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g thick full fat plain yoghurt
125g lightly salted butter, softened
Teaspoon of Vanilla Essence
Flaked Almonds
A spring-form cake tin, 23cm - sounds pernickerty but I think is the standard size
Pre-heated oven to 180 degrees

Start by washing and drying young rhubarb then chopping into one inch bits. Cover with a third of the sugar and leave to one side – the chemistry behind this is slightly lost on me, but I do know it is important – Rhubarb can be a little tart when he wants to be, so sugaring at this early stage just jollies him up a bit before the big bake.

Next cream your butter and remaining sugar until it is smooth, pale and soft. Beat your eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl and slowly add to butter and sugar taking care to avoid the dreaded curdle (if you do find yourself in curdle territory don’t fret pet, I am not sure curdling is nearly as bad as everyone says it is. In mayonnaise yes, but in cakes I think its fine).  Next up is the dollop of yoghurt – add to the mix.  Finally the ground almonds and flour (sieved) need gently stirring into the mixture. Don’t go crazy here, just enough of a stir to mix it all together. Then in your cake tin (which you have obviously greased), put your rhubarb in first, then dollop your mixture on top.  Shake it about a bit so it all levels out and then in the oven for about an hour. Keep checking it, you may need to cover it a bit so it doesn’t catch.

When it is done (best test is putting a knife in through the top and if it comes out almost clean, you’re cooked), leave to cool for a little while in the tin. This is the tricky bit I know, but if you don’t, upon unleashing your bundle of joy from its tin, it will all collapse and you will cry. When you can wait no longer, tip him out onto a plate and sprinkle with flaked almonds (gently toasted) and serve with a high calorie dollop of something.  


  1. Rhubarb rocks and it most certainly is in season, though I think it's more of a vegetable than a fruit. Either way it kicks ass, and this recipe sounds deeeelightful. I'm serving rhubarb crumble ice cream at the supper club tonight, will let you know how it goes, J.

  2. Just subscribed to your RSS feed... thanks to James for pointing me in your direction! :)