- Food & Drink
Rhubarb and ginger cake
I’ve turned my gimlet glare towards the lonely tins and packets that haunt my kitchen cupboards again. The things I bought and then ignored, sometimes for years. Why have I been ignoring them? And, in the case of the tin of the rhubarb in light syrup, why did I buy it? The only people who normally have tins of rhubarb in their cupboards are old people who’ve suffered a box from their church’s harvest festival.
Canned into longevity, rhubarb in syrup is murky pool of green sludge. It looks like something you’d serve up at a kid’s Hallowe’en party with a humorous name, like Dead Man’s Slime or Mummy’s Snot, to squeals of delight. There’s no chance you can put this in a bowl, pour over some Tip Top and be thanked for providing dessert.
So I’ve turned it into a cake, which let’s me use up some of the dark brown sugar mountain, the self raising flour drift and the inexplicable half pack of ground almonds that I always have in my cupboard (where do you come from half pack of almonds?).
If you don’t have a tin of rhubarb in syrup loitering in your kitchen, trim and chop 250g rhubarb into 1/2 inch chunks and simmer with 5 tbsp water and 1–2 tbsp sugar until tender and the juices are syrupy. Drain, keep the syrup and use the rhubarb in place of the tinned stuff. Any syrup you don’t use makes a nice martini shaken with some cold gin and vermouth (don’t bother trying with the tinned syrup, it isn’t flavoursome enough).
Rhubarb and ginger cake
50g butter, plus extra for greasing
110g dark brown sugar
150ml soured cream
110g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
75g ground almonds
540g tin rhubarb in light syrup, drained and syrup reserved
80g stem ginger in syrup, drained and chopped
200g icing sugar
Pared orange zest, to serve
1 Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C. Grease a 20cm round cake tin with butter and line the base with a round of baking parchment.
2 Beat the butter with the sugar until fluffy and combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the soured cream. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate and ground ginger and stir to mix. Stir in the rhubarb and stem ginger. Scrape into the prepared cake tin and bake for about 40 minutes or until golden, risen and firm to the touch.
3 Poke a few holes in the top of the cake and spoon over 2 tbsp of the reserved rhubarb syrup. Leave to cool in the tin. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in 3–4 tbsp of the rhubarb syrup to make a smooth icing. Spread over the cake and leave to set. Sprinkle with pared orange rind just before serving. The cake will keep in an airtight tin for 3–4 days.