Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Pistachio and Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Pistachios possess a delicate yet distinctive flavour and pair wonderfully with a variety of ingredients. I absolutely adore marrying them with the bewitchingly barbed punch of tart rhubarb and the faint perfume of orange blossom water, as I have done in this straightforward recipe. The result is a enchantingly unusual cake, exotic and enticing yet comforting and satisfying. Both the flavour and colour of the finished cake will vary relatively dramatically depending on the rhubarb you use, so have fun experimenting with different varieties.

Prep time: 20 Mins
Baking time: 50 Mins
350g Rhubarb
3tbsp Caster Sugar

175g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
175g Caster Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1.5tsp Orange Blossom Water
150g Ground Pistachio Nuts
50g Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder

The first task is to prepare the rhubarb. Chop the rhubarb into pieces, about 2cm in size and place in bowl. Sprinkle over the 3tbsp of sugar, stir around to coat each piece and leave to one side to macerate for 5-10 minutes whilst you proceed with the cake batter.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, grease a 21cm square baking tin and line the base with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time along with the orange blossom water. Fold through the ground pistachio nuts, then sift in the flour with the baking powder and mix together to a smooth batter.

By this time the rhubarb will have started to release its juices, so give the pieces a final stir. Arrange them as tightly as you can in the base of the tin as any gaps will grow during baking. Lightly brush over any of the sugary steeping syrup that may have collected in the bottom of the bowl. Spoon over the prepared cake batter and gently spread the to edges, taking care not to disturb the rhubarb. Place in the centre of the oven for around 50 minutes, until a metal skewer can be cleanly removed when inserted into the middle of the cake, then remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 15 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack until completely cool. And that's the cake done. I personally believe this cake is best enjoyed in the late afternoon sun, with your cares put to one side for a moment of deserved indulgence.