I constantly look for inspiration for cakes, whether for flavours, colours or decoration. This week I visited Cake International, hoping to soak up some new cakey ideas. But I couldn’t be more wrong. It was all about sugar craft. And I really dislike sugar craft. By this I mean rolled icing, flowers made from sugar paste, highly intricate traditional wedding and celebration type cakes. Not my style at all. I prefer to lash on the butter cream, throw on some flowers, chuck some chocolate buttons on. I think it just looks so much more tasty, fun and appetizing when it isn’t so precise. Like you just want to grab a fork and dig right in. I just don’t feel that when I look at a slab of rolled icing. There is a time and a place for more serious sugar crafted cakes, I know the majority choose them for their celebration cake and I totally admire the artistry that goes into it but I just really don’t like it (Dare I say it, I find it a bit tacky..). So after having a giggle at some truly awful cakes I got a bit carried away buying cut price cake accessories. Nothing got me more excited this week than finding pure Maple Syrup flavoring extract! Can you imagine a maple cream cheese frosting?! OMW. And just when I thought my day couldn’t get any better I found hot cross bun flavored icing sugar! It was like eating paradise. Will go delightfully on top of a carrot cake (Yes, I am a cake geek. No shame.). So I left the show with some ideas of how not to do cakes and my wallet was a hell of a lot lighter.
I noticed a Facebook comment by a friend I know from my fitness classes, Christina. She commented on a glut of rhubarb from her allotment and I could not have been more delighted when she generously said I could have some. So I had to make a rhubarb cake, obvs. I would love love love an allotment or vegetable patch. Must be tres satisfying to munch on your own produce. Spending long hot summer days tending to your courgettes must be lush (However in reality I’m sure it is more like spending most of your time fighting off greedy slugs and weeding.). Everything tastes so much better when it isn’t from intensive farming, I love getting my veg from the little stalls at the weekend market when it’s still covered in mud. Christina’s rhubarb was fantastically shocking pink, it looked delightful and was bursting with flavour. Sadly, my job means I am never in one place long enough to be able to tend to an allotment. If I ever get my dream home (Converted barn in France with pygmy goats, 50’s style kitchen and a small patissiere attached), there will absolutely be a vegetable patch.
This weeks recipe is for caramelised rhubarb upside down cake. Don’t fret when you put the syrup into the bottom of the pan, it will look like a lot but the sponge will soak it up to result in a moist cake. The edges will go crispy adding a great texture and the rhubarb will retain its punchy flavour. This is amazing on its own when cold but also rather fabulous heated up with a bucket load of custard.
Caramelised rhubarb upside down cake
- 115g unsalted butter
- 150g golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 100ml single cream
- 50g ground almonds
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 200g plain flour
- Rhubarb (To work out how much rhubarb you need, take your 20cm x 20cm cake tin and cut your rhubarb into sticks about 2 inches long and lay them snugly next to each other in rows to cover the base of the tin. Once full, add one more stick of rhubarb (it shrinks when heated).
- 200g light brown sugar
- 75g unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line your 20cm x 20cm square cake tin
- Place the rhubarb and sugar into a medium heat pan, melting the sugar and releasing the juices in the fruit. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the rhubarb and leave the sugar syrup to simmer for another 2 minutes.
- Add the butter and stir for a couple more minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the heat and pour into your cake tin.
- Line the rhubarb up in the tin on top of the syrup.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, beat thoroughly.
- Add the cream and beat again. Add the almonds.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in gently.
- To evenly distribute on top of the rhubarb, drop spoonfuls of cake mix all over the fruit base and once all in, gently smooth over the top with the back of a spoon.
- Pop in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, testing after 30 with a skewer, if it comes out clean it is ready.
- Once out the oven, leave in the tin for 15 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the tin then turn out. Enjoy!