Sunday, 5 February 2012

Rhubarb crumb cake

One of the few cheering sights during this sudden cold snap of weather has been the appearance of the wonderfully pink forced rhubarb. Seriously, is there a better colour anywhere in the world of fruit and veg than this:

My local market sells better quality rhubarb than any supermarket – I do think rhubarb is a product that supermarkets can never compete on; maybe it sits around for too long in their warehouses?

Anyway, I digress! I wanted to make a very simple cake that complimented the rhubarb but in no way competed with it – this cake is it. The sponge is soft with a small, close crumb as it uses icing rather than caster sugar; I think this photo shows the texture well:

It has a hint of vanilla and the rhubarb bakes into the batter and the juices sink into the sponge. The crumb topping adds some texture and a further pop of sweetness to balance the sharp, tart rhubarb. A brief note re the crumb – when you make it, it won’t look like a crumble topping; it’s more like a biscuit dough and can only be crumbled after chilling. This is what it looks like:

As I stand in my kitchen baking on a Saturday afternoon I realise that I am now officially old. Why? Because there’s a forecast of heavy snow overnight and I’m praying the forecast is wrong. I don’t want it to snow [Sunday update: too bad what I wanted – it DID snow. Lots.] I have never felt like that before...suppose all I can do now is plug in my heated slipper boot, boil up some fish for tea, dye my hair a silvery lilac colour and play some bingo.......

Sunday update: Because of the snow, no one is travelling – and rightly so, I hastily add. However, I baked two of these rather large cakes and am now wondering what to do with them! I’ve already decided that I can heat slices and serve with custard as a pud, and I reckon the rest should freeze well.

It is always the joke in my family that I am cake obsessed and see cake in things where no cake should be seen. I would therefore like to point out that it was the CCD (Caked Crusader’s Da) and not me who thought these looked like little iced cakes:


For the crumb topping:

90g unsalted butter, melted
100g brown sugar – I used half light, half dark
125g plain flour

For the cake:

250g rhubarb, cut into 1.5cm chunks
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
185g self raising flour
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
185g icing sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To serve: thick cream (I used clotted cream)


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.

Start by making the crumb topping: mix together the melted butter and sugar then, using a fork, press in the flour until you have a firm, almost biscuit dough type mixture. I know it doesn’t look very crumbly at this point but keep faith!

Place in the fridge until needed.

Now make the cake: Mix together the rhubarb, brown sugar and 30g of the flour. Put to one side.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. It will look like whipped butter as the icing sugar seems to almost dissolve.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Stir in the vanilla.

Fold in the remaining 155g of flour.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and level the surface – take care to ensure the batter goes right into the corners.

Add the rhubarb on top of the batter. If any flour has pooled at the bottom of the dish you kept the rhubarb in, don’t use it – you only want the flour that has stuck to the rhubarb.

Take the crumb mix from the fridge and crumble it over the rhubarb.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out virtually clean (you may find it has rhubarb juices or crumb topping on it).

Leave the cake to cool, on a wire rack, but still in its tin.

Cut into generous squares and serve with thick cream.

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



C said...

That looks like a beautiful cake - I agree that you've managed to capture the crumb very well indeed - it looks soft and beautifully light. Mmmm, I bet the crunch of the crumble against the juicy rhubarb and soft cake was amazing. Oh, I so want to be eating this now!

Soo said...

Another winner....perfect comfort for a day like today!

Jo said...

Aww they do look like iced cakes! The cake obsession is rubbing off!

What a beautifully soft looking sponge. I agree that supermarkets can't compete when it comes to rhubarb. We used to grow our own when we were little and I loved eating it raw, dipped in a cup of sugar!

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

This looks such a delectable cake- I do adore the tartness of rhubarb contrasting with a sweet cake and its cheery pink colour. Plus I love that all your family are now spotting cake everywhere too! When I was in the park earlier, a little kid was eating the snow- I hope CCD didn't tuck into the iced cakes in the garden?!

Cupcake Kelly said...

Wow you got way more snow than we did!

Maggie said...

Pleased to see that you too have had your share of snow in the south.
You have done well to get forced rhubarb, it makes the rhubarb crumble cake look so very pretty too.

I heart cupcakes said...

I've not made a strusel cake in some time - think I'm going to have to make a rhubarb one now. This looks delicious - wish you lived nearby so I could have a slice for pudding ;)

Urvashi@BotanicalBaker said...

Love this idea and I have some rhubarb too!

sensibilia said...

My mouth is watering - it's the juicy pinkness sinking into the sponge that does it! I think rhubarb from someone's garden, often growing wild behind the dustbins, is the best tasting ever.
But I thought raw rhubarb was poisonous,Jo?

Enjoyed this week's additional pictures, and homespun wisdom about snow, too!

Baking Addict said...

Beautiful cake! Love the colour of rhubarb although I'm not really a fan of the taste. I see little iced cakes too in the last photo!

Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

I've never had rhubarb in a cake...I really have to rectify this.

I too see cakes everywhere...!

Nom! X

Ysabel said...

Wow!This one looks delicious!I discovered rhubarb when I was a Erasmus student in Newcastle... and I loved it. Here is Spain it is really hard to find it...what a shame!I'll have to go back to England and bring me some!:D

Lucy said...

I can't wait to make my first rhubarb dessert of the year, your post has inspired me. This cake looks delicious - such an interesting idea to use icing sugar in the sponge.

Cakelaw said...

LOL at the getting old comment - I feel the same way about cold weather, and it never gets that cold here. Perhaps we can play bingo together. This is one gorgeous cake - and I agree about the colour of rhubarb.

Maria♥ said...

Rhubarb isn't my favourite but this cake looks gorgeous!


sevde said...

Hello from Istanbul turkey .... a good recipe, I'll do that when I found rhubarb (rhubarb is rare around here) I wish a beautiful day ....

Fallen From Flavour said...

rhubarb.crumb.yum.yum! i had the very same thought about getting old. a few years ago mister and i would have run outside to play in the snow. now, i recoil at the mere idea of it.

thelittleloaf said...

Haha they do look like lovely little iced cakes! And this rhubarb cake looks wonderful - so creamy and full of winter flavour.

Lauralovescakes said...

I love rhubarb crumble...this looks amazing!

Lelly Jelly said...

YUM!!! What more needs to be said?

Lisa Marie said...

Oh, how I long for rhubarb!!!! My rhubarb is under a bucket right now, sending up hopeful green tufts of leaf. Grow, baby, grow!!!

Jules said...

Rhubarb just doesn't seem to grow well here in Australia, the weather doesn't get cold enough. It's always stringy and limp looking, not fat and juicy as it should be. When I was growing up in England my Dad grew the best rhubard. We would get little bags of sugar from Mum and a stick of rhubarb to dunk into it, not very good for our teeth looking back. We also would use a stick, with the big leaf still attached, as a sun shade or umbrella, whichever was need. Oh, happy, simple days, and I still love stewed rhubarb and cold custard.

Gloria said...

Love this look amazing and love the colour!!! gloria

Kezia said...

I've just made this and it is delicious! Thank you fro the great recipe!

Pauline said...

Hello old person from another old person, well probable not that old... Snow has nearly gone and my poor rhubarb looks a bit wilted after the previous warmth. Enough ramblings just to say you can keep your icing pass me some crumb top cake now, fab!