Thursday, 9 April 2015

Rhubarb, Orange and Almond Cake

We could learn a lot from our old friend the rhubarb. For you see, the rhubarb is supposed to be a vegetable, a plain old vegetable. But the rhubarb doesn't want to be a vegetable, no siree. The rhubarb wants to be a fruit, a deliciously tart and tangy fruit and it's not going to let something as trivial as genetics stand in it's way. Be it a cake, a pie or a toothsome tart when it comes to a sweet treat, the rhubarb has earned a place amongst the very best of ingredients and I love it to bits. So next time you feel your spirits dampened by normality take a leaf from the rhubarbs book and try being something different, if only for a little while. I promise it'll be just the tonic you'll need!

Prep time: 30 Mins (Plus cooling time)
Baking time: 60 Mins (Plus 30 Mins roasting time)
For the Roasted Rhubarb
350g Rhubarb
25g Caster Sugar
The juice of half an Orange

For the Cake
200g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
200g Golden Caster Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1tsp Almond Extract
The zest of 1 Orange
100g Ground Almonds
125g Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
1tbsp Icing Sugar

The first task is to roast the rhubarb. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Chop the rhubarb into little nuggets, about the size of the last knuckle on your thumb and place in a bowl. Add the caster sugar and orange juice, then toss together to coat. Arrange the roasted rhubarb across the base of a large oven proof dish and cover with tin foil, taking care to not let the foil touch the rhubarb. You don't need any juice leftover in the bowl. Roast the rhubarb in the centre of the oven for around 30 mins until soft, then transfer to a fresh dish, along with any roasting juices and leave to to cool.

Once the rhubarb is at room temperature you can start on the cake. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, grease a deep 20cm springform tin and line the base with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar, the beat in the eggs one at a time along with the almond extract and orange zest. Add the ground almonds, then sift in the flour and baking powder and mix to a smooth batter. Add the rhubarb, along with it's juice and mix with vigour to combine. You want the rhubarb to start to break up as you mix. Once the rhubarb has been evenly combined spoon the mixture into your tin and bake in the centre of the oven for around 60 mins, until a metal skewer can be cleanly removed when inserted into the middle of the cake. When you are happy the cake is baked remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

When the cake is cool carefully remove from the tin, peeling the paper from the base. Dust all over with icing sugar and the cake is finished. Time to slice it, serve it and (my favourite part) eat it!

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