Can you tell yet that I’m a little bit obsessed with rhubarb? There’s basically always a bunch of rhubarb in the fridge at home, if for no other reason than it makes me smile when I open the fridge and see it! I’m kidding! I buy it because I love baking with it, not just because I like looking at it.
The endless potential of this marvellous pinky-purple stalky-semi-poisonous thing is exciting! Yes, I’m aware that I’m a nerd when it comes to food. But that’s not the extent of my nerdiness. No, even more nerdily, I’ve researched rhubarb. And I learnt a completely unimportant but fun fact: technically rhubarb is a vegetable. I guess it’s pretty easy to surmise that rhubarb isn’t a fruit just by looking at it, but the thought of baking a vegetable cake is a bit far fetched (bar carrot cake and pumpkin pie cheesecake!). However, someone decided to change this fact (I’m sorry, what? We can change facts now?) in 1947, decreeing that as rhubarb is most often prepared as a fruit, we may as well classify it as one. I don’t really understand. If it’s a vegetable, let’s call it a vegetable! Why change it to suit us?
But, I’m getting rather off track. A few weeks ago I made a rhubarb and ginger cheesecake that was pure genius – honestly, I’m still dreaming about it. But then, as I was thinking what to make as a birthday cake for a friend, I thought why not see if the magic carries over to a normal cake? If rhubarb and ginger works so well in a cheesecake, why shouldn’t it work in a normal cake? The only downside here is that I didn’t actually get to taste the finished product, so I can’t actually give you an official verdict on this cake (I know, I had one job, right?). But by all reports (a total of two), the cake was brilliant! And besides, the batter tasted pretty scrummy!
Rhubarb and Ginger Cake
Serves 10-12 | Allow 1 hour
150g unsalted butter
130g (2/3 cup) sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup self-raising flour
½ almond meal
¼ apple juice or milk
1 bunch rhubarb, trimmed
2 tbsp honey
¼ cup uncrystalised ginger, chopped finely (depending on taste)
- Preheat oven to 200°C fan-forced and line the base of a 22cm springform cake tin.
- Start by roasting the rhubarb: chop rhubarb into 1 inch pieces and place in a baking dish.
- Drizzle honey over the rhubarb and top with the ginger. Roast for 15 minutes, or until soft to the touch. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Meanwhile, make the cake: Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale and creamy – about 7 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on a low speed until combined.
- Add half the flour, beating on low until combined. Repeat with the rest of the flour, then the almond meal, adding apple juice/milk as needed.
- Scoop batter into the prepared tin and top with the rhubarb – some will sink and some will remain on top of the cake. You can arrange the rhubarb in a pattern if you choose.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked through – it can be tricky to tell if a cake is cooked when there are chunks of fruit in it, so it’s a good idea to try to find a bit of cake that doesn’t seem to have any fruit in it, insert a skewer and there should only be a couple of moist crumbs left on the skewer when removed. Remove cake from the oven and serve while still warm.
- This cake will keep in the pantry for about 3 days, or a week in the fridge.
- If you’re storing it in the fridge it might be nicer to reheat the slices before serving.