Sunday, 10 April 2011

Rhubarb and date cake



The CCD’s (Caked Crusader’s Da) rhubarb plant has sprung into action just at the same time I came across this recipe. Nature really knows what it’s doing!


I’ve never seen rhubarb and dates partnered up before but it makes sense because the sweet, toffee quality of the dates act as a perfect natural sweetener for the acidic, fruity rhubarb. It works beautifully – both the rhubarb and dates keep their flavour but they hit your palate at different times. I just can’t believe I’ve not seen the combination before.


The rhubarb and dates are cut into small chunks and stirred into the batter. Mr CC was in charge of this and did a lovely job – he’s very careful in his chopping with the result being uniformly sized chunks. He did protest that the food processor could do it better but when he realised that argument wasn’t going to get him anywhere, he manned up and got chopping!


Garden rhubarb is not as sweet a forced rhubarb (the gloriously pink thin sticks that look like flamingo legs!) so I added a sugar topping to the cake to address this. I used this gorgeous sugar from The East India Company – it’s a cane sugar from the island of Guadeloupe and I loved the delicate sweetness and crunchy texture; the large granules were perfect for a cake topping. It’s not cheap but the glass jar it comes in is sealed with an old fashioned wax seal – undoing the jar made me feel like I was unpacking an exotic relic from the past!


When I first read the recipe I was concerned that the cake may be dry – don’t worry about this; rhubarb releases so much juice as it cooks that the one thing this cake will never be is dry or stodgy! The texture of the cake is a spongy, light bread pudding – it’s very moist, almost sticky but not dense.


I served the cake at room temperature with thick cream, but it would be divine warm with custard for dessert.


We’re enjoying amazingly sunny and bright spring weather at the moment; the temperature this weekend has been warmer than Istanbul. I love it when weather forecasters share this information – the location they pick is always so utterly random and obviously chosen simply because it’s colder than us. Anyway, wherever we’re warmer than at the moment, I do like a cake dappled in sunshine – it makes for such a cheery photo!

Ingredients

340g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
170g unsalted butter, straight from the fridge
230g caster sugar
450g rhubarb, chopped into small cubes
230g stoned dates, chopped into small pieces
2 eggs
120ml milk (either whole or semi skimmed)

Optional: extra sugar to sprinkle on top

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

Line a 23cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Place the flour and baking powder into a bowl.

Cut the butter into cubes and rub it into the flour using your fingertips until you have a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs. You can also achieve the same result using a stand mixer or food processor.

Stir in the sugar.

Stir the chopped rhubarb and dates into the mixture.

Combine the eggs and milk in a jug and beat a little; stir into the cake mix until well combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.

If using, sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of sugar on the top of the cake.

Bake for approximately 1 - 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean – best check on it after an hour. Mine took 1 hour 15 minutes.

Leave to cool on a wire rack until the tin is cool enough to safely handle.

Remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool completely on the wire rack.

Serve in generous slices with thick cream.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.

Eat.

19 comments:

trash said...

Oh clever old nature. Now you need to convince CCD to plant a date plam in his garden and some Island sugar cane over the back and you will be able to make the most exotic local cake ever!

Hahahaha - word ver. is 'unargod'. Well Blogger obviously has faith in your baking omnipotence. ;-)

Gloria said...

Look delicious and perfect! gloria

Suelle said...

What a coincidence! Only this afternoon, I wondered whether to sweeten some rhubarb with date syrup. I chickenend out in the end, but perhaps should have gone ahead, although date syrup is not quite the same as a sticky chewy date.

Your cake looks delicious!

Helen said...

I love rhubarb and this looks delicious. I never would have thought of matching rhubarb with dates but I definitely like the sound of it.

Nom! said...

Wow this looks so moist! perfect for a British summer day

Maggie said...

That's an unusual flavour combination CC. The cake, as always, looks delicious.
I love rhubarb and my plants are now giving us some free rhubarb to cook with.

Jacqueline said...

I used rhubarb today too, to make wee rhubarb tarts, although I ate more than went on the tarts. I love the stuff. This cake looks like a winner. I love it :)

C said...

Sounds like an interesting combo, and looks like a delicious cake!

Lucy said...

I would never have thought of combining these but it makes so much sense! I can see myself returning to this cake over and over again - very moreish :)

The Glamorous Gourmet said...

Yummy flavors in that cake - I am a big fan of rhubarb AND dates! I have never had them together though - look forward to trying your recipe!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

You know I was searching everywhere for a good rhubarb recipe about 2 weeks ago! And now that I'm not looking this comes along! Oh well, another excuse to bake I guess. :D

Katie said...

Ive never thought of combinging rhubarb and dates, but love the idea. The cake looks gorgeous! Pudding in cake form

Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane said...

Wow, nice combination, good idea and a must try :) I agree with the cake photos in the sunshine, makes for an even happier eating-time!

Choclette said...

Ooh, I'm liking the look of this one. I'd never have thought of putting these two ingredients together either, but I bet it's good. I used to make a very nice rhubarb and ginger cake before I got into blogging about making everything with chocolate so I know what a lovely moist cake rhubarb makes.

Maria♥ said...

Interesting combination of flavours, looks yummy!

Maria
x

Hazel said...

What a wonderful flavour combination indeed! I am excited at the thought of it. Wonderful cake!

Cakelaw said...

Another fabulous cake! This is why I love your blog - cakes are my first love in the baking world.

tanya M said...

Just found your 'edibilicious' blog after reading your comment on the East India Tea Company site! I want to own the contents of the whole East India shop .. however, making your Rhubarb n Date cake will be more achievable and somehow more instantly gratifiying. Keep Calm, Eat Cake!

Anonymous said...

my mum has made rhubarb and date pies for as long as i can remember, she makes them as you would, say, an apple pie but obviously with rhubarb and she buys the block dates and slices them over the rhubarb before putting on the pastry lid, its absolutely gorgeous and is beaut with warm custard