Rhubarb cake, orange if you dare

Rhubarb, love it or hate it, it is a very versatile fruit (thou properly known as a vegetable due to the lack of seeds, but let’s not tangent). It grows easily in Ireland it the first fresh fruit we see in Ireland in the spring time. It can be found in early February as ‘forced’rhubarb where it is grown in darkness to trick the stalks into growing. It’s bright pink, sweeter and my Dad always grew it under an old blue baby bath in the garden.

So I got a lovely surprise at the weekend when I went shopping, after a session the night before, and saw bunches red and green rhubarb with its wilting green leaves and the idea of rhubarb cake sprung to mind.

2017-03-05 09.34.27My dad grows rhubarb at home and he would probably balk at the sight of the wilting rhubarb in my shopping trolley but I am not lucky enough to grow my own, yet.

But next time I am home I plan to take lots of rhubarb, especially to make rhubarb jelly, a family favourite.

At home we always make rhubarb tart, where it is difficult not to have a soggy bottom, or a rhubarb crumble both served with the ubiquitous custard. As children we used grab sticks of the fruit chop it up into a plastic bag with a sprinkle of sugar and eat it while we roamed the fields that surrounded our house. No better treat was to be found but we also knew no better.

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As a family we got on pretty well but when it came to the choice of orange or not we could come to blows. Orange usually won because to be honest, it’s the best. I recommend you try the recipe below and see for yourself.

While the fruit is in season try this cake. It’s lovely cold with a cup of tea or still warm with fresh cream. The choice is yours.

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Recipe
8 oz plain flour
8 0z butter
8 oz caster sugar
2 0z ground almonds
4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 orange
3/4 stalks of rhubarb
2 oz soft brown sugar

10 inch springform with base lined with non-stick baking paper
preheat oven to 170 C fan oven and 180 C conventional oven

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Method
– Cream butter, sugar and zest of orange until light and fluffy.
– Add 1 egg and 1 tblsp of flour and beat well.
– Add the remaining eggs one at a time and beat well between each addition.
– Fold in the remaining flour, ground almonds and baking powder.
– Chop up the rhubarb into 1 inch pieces and cover the base of the tin.
– Segment the orange removing the pith and intersperse the orange pieces between the
rhubarb.
– Cover the rhubarb and orange with the soft brown sugar.
– Cover the fruit with the cake mixture and spread evenly.
– Place in preheated oven for 40/50 minutes depending on your oven.
– Remove from the oven when a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin.
– Turn out onto a plate of choice and serve.

This cake was made in between painting the skirting boards, hanging up washing in the garden and waxing an old kitchen table. But I got a headache from the chemical odours so this gorgeous cake permeated the kitchen and gave me chance to sit down, with a hot coffee and the warm cake to take a few minutes before the next coat of paint.

So are you willing try the magic of orange and rhubarb? Let me know how you like it.

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