We are finally breaking through this gloomy winter and the sight of forced rhubarb appearing in the shops is a very welcome one. I love rhubarb, it has a wonderful flavour, can be used in many different ways and is terrible easy to cook - the main rule is - use lots of sugar.
I normally crumble rhubarb but we were cooking for guests this weekend and I thought it would be lovely to make something a little different with my thick pink rhubarb from the farm shop. I have made crumble cake before, its just perfect - a soft buttermilk sponge with soft stewed fruit and a crispy brown sugar topping.
It makes a lovely show off pudding but also holds up well to be thrown in your lunchbox for work days. I served mine warm with double cream, we've still got a couple of pieces left which I'm going to make custard for - because you have to have rhubarb with custard!
Rhubarb Crumble Cake - makes one quite big 9 inch sponge
for the cake:
150g granulated or brown sugar
150g self raising flour
3 eggs - yolks and whites separated
approx 75ml butter milk (*see notes at the bottom)
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 large sticks (about 400g) rhubarb cut into chunks
Heat oven to gas mark 5 / 190c / 375f
First of all chop your rhubarb into chunks, about 1 inch thick, add to a bowl and sprinkle a couple of tablespoons over the top. Let it sit whilst you make the cake mix.
Cream together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then stir in your egg yolks.
In a separate bowl whisk your egg whites until they form soft peaks - doing this separately will make your cake lovely and light.
Fold in your egg whites and then add in your flour, spices and vanilla. Then lightly stir in your buttermilk til you have a smooth batter.
Spoon into a greased and lined cake tin.
Scatter your rhubarb on top. Now you need to make your crumble top.
for the crumble:
50g brown sugar
1 tsp cinamonn
Pulse your butter and flour in a food processor til you have a breadcrumb texture. Or rub together in a bowl. You may need to add a little more flour or butter if you mix is too floury or thick and buttery. Then mix in your sugar and cinamonn.
Sprinkle this over your mixture in your tin, and sprinkle a little extra brown sugar on top. Make sure most of the rhubarb is covered otherwise you'll get a little too much 'caramelisation' (ie burning) of your rhubarb as it cooks.
Bake for 30-40minutes - my oven is a little tempermental so yours may vary - til a knife comes out clean. If your top starts to brown too much cover with foil.
Serve with custard, creme fraiche or cream and a big spoon!
*Notes about buttermilk (which I totally forgot to add before!)
You don't to buy your own buttermilk for this cake, it's easy to make yourself. Just put your milk (preferable semi skimmed, whole milk, or use single cream) in a cup and add a teaspoon for each 75ml of white vinegar or lemon juice and leave for 10 minutes. You basically want it to sour a little bit.