Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Tart rhubarb, crunchy crumble, and a rich, moist sponge – this cake has a lot to offer!

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Rhubarb Crumble Cake

 

The local rhubarb season is still going strong, and what a season it’s been! I still have a bag full of rhubarb waiting to be used, courtesy of my dad’s garden. I need to be quick about it too – courgette season is almost upon us, which will be even more productive by the looks of things. Produce anxiety, is that a thing?

This cake is traditional loaf cake at heart, designed to be eaten over the course of a few days – if it lasts that long! The addition of rhubarb crumble sets it apart, making it equally at home served warm with custard. Personally I’m a big fan of opening the cake tin and peeling back the paper to find you still have a slice or two of cake left to enjoy with a cup of tea. It happens occasionally.

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No dainty slices here – you want a piece you can get your teeth into

The cake itself is rather dense, with a nice crumb, which lends itself well to supporting the double topping of stewed fruit and crumble. The rhubarb is tart, even with the addition of sugar, and if you are lucky you will end up with dark edges where the rhubarb has caught against the side of the pan and turned to smoky caramel. The crumble topping begins as crunchy and relaxes into something chewier as the cake ages.

And boy does this cake age well! I like to leave it for at least a day before cutting, and it can happily sit in a cool, dark place for up to five days as long as it’s well wrapped.

I’ve used buttermilk in this recipe, but you can use ordinary milk without any ill effects. This cake always takes longer than I expect to bake. Once the cake has been in the oven for 45 minutes, insert a skewer or sharp knife. If it comes away clean, the cakes is ready. If it has batter clinging to it, give the cake another 10-15 minutes before testing again. Thanks to the density of the topping, there is very little danger of the cake over baking.

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If the edges catch, be prepared for caramelised rhubarb

 

Ingredients:

Cake:

100g / 3 ½ oz unsalted butter, softened

170g / 6 oz golden caster sugar

1 tsp baking powder

170g / 6 oz self raising flour

2 large eggs

4 tbsp buttermilk

Rhubarb topping:

2 – 3 medium stalks rhubarb

30g / 1oz white sugar, or more to taste.

Crumble:

60g / 2 oz plain flour

30g / 1 oz butter

30g / 1 oz golden caster sugar

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Grease and line your loaf tin.

Prepare the rhubarb and the crumble before you begin on your cake batter so that everything is to hand when you come to assemble your cake.

Wash and trim the rhubarb. Cut into 1 inch / 2cm long slices and place in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the sugar. You are likely to need some liquid to persuade the rhubarb to stew, however the amount you will need annoyingly depends upon the rhubarb itself. Start by adding a tablespoon, and add spoon by spoon if the pan seems dry. I tend to use water, however orange juice or even pineapple juice work well and bring a little extra sweetness while matching the tartness of the rhubarb.

Stir until the majority of the pieces have broken down into gloopy, stringy mess, then remove from the heat and allow to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

To make the crumble, measure the butter and flour into a large bowl. If the butter is hard, use a butter knife to ‘cut’ it into the flour, until there are no large pieces left. Rub the mix between your fingertips until the butter is worked in and the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Place on one side.

In a fresh mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter together. Sift in the flour and baking powder and stir to combine. Crack in both eggs, followed by the buttermilk, and beat until smooth.

Pour the batter into your prepared loaf tin and use a spatula or the back of your wooden spoon to smooth the surface.

Spread roughly 7oz / 200g of sweetened stewed rhubarb across the top of the sponge mix using a rubber spatula to smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle the crumble mix over the top. You want the crumble to be rather hearty to stand up to the other layers, so don’t shy away from using all of it.

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 45 minutes. After this time has elapsed, test the cake using a skewer or the blade of a sharp knife. If this comes away clean, the cake can be removed from the oven, otherwise allow the cake to bake for a further 10-15 minutes.

Allow the cake to cool within the loaf tin on a cooling rack. Once the cake is completely cool, wrap in greaseproof paper and place in an airtight tin. Eat within 3-5 days.

This cake can be frozen for up to three months. If freezing, wrap in greaseproof paper, as above, then wrap in foil. Allow to defrost at room temperature for 6 hours or overnight. Freezing can cause the crumble topping to become a little soggy, so consider placing in a loaf tin and returning to a 180°C / 350°F oven for 10 minutes to revive, then allow to cool before serving.

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Crumbs!

Printable PDF: Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Teatime Tiffin

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There is something very decadent about Tiffin, and this version is no exception. In fact, given that these chocolate treats are equal parts gooey, chewy, and crunchy, I might even say they were my favourite iteration of this teatime treat. I suppose you could refer to them as refrigerator bars, or perhaps even the British equivalent of Rocky Road (only without the marshmallows) you’d be wrong. I’m not sure how, but Tiffin is in a class of its own.

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This is a very simple version of Tiffin, but it’s simplicity means that the flavours all come through without being muddied. The gooeyness comes from the base of sugar and chocolate flavours. The chewiness comes from dried fruit; I’ve gone with Sultanas as they are a personal favourite and always in the cupboard, but raisins are perhaps the more traditional choice. Finally, the crunch comes from broken pieces of biscuit.

Perhaps these don’t count as actual baking, but this recipe is too good not to share. I can’t really explain how delicious these are, but trust me – you will love these little squares of chocolaty delight.

This recipe calls for Rich Team biscuits in the base, which have just the right ratio of absorbency to crunchiness. If you can’t get your hands on Rich Tea, any hard, not-too-sweet biscuit will do.

Breaking up the biscuits can only really be undertaken with a rolling pin and some elbow grease – using a blender will give you too fine, too uniform a finish, whereas what you really want is a variety of sizes, from crumbs to chunks. You really want a used good quality sealable freezer bag with all the excess air squeezed out – anything less robust may burst, leaving you with crumbs everywhere.

The original recipe measures both the sugar and the drinking chocolate (the sweetened variety you make with milk, not water) in dessert spoons, which gives a lot of leeway on the actual amount used. I like to use heaping spoonfuls, and have dutifully weighed these out to give you the measurements below. These figures can be played with a bit – although adding too much of the dry ingredients will lead to a crumblier slice that may fall apart.

Recipe: – makes 16

Base:

110g / 4 oz unsalted butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

2 dessert spoons (35g) brown sugar

3 dessert spoons (50g) drinking chocolate

110 / 4 oz sultanas or raisins

225g / 8oz rich tea biscuits

To top:

100g milk chocolate

100g dark chocolate

Method:

Lightly grease a 9″/22cm square tin.

Place the biscuits into a good quality freezer bag with a seal. Flatten to remove any excess air before sealing. Using a rolling pin, crush the biscuits until broken up, leaving some larger pieces in amongst the crumbs.

Break up the milk and dark chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl over very hot (but not boiling) water to melt. Stir occasionally until melted.

In a separate large saucepan, melt the butter, syrup, sugar and drinking chocolate together, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the broken biscuits and your dried fruit, and keep stirring until everything is covered in the butter-chocolate mixture.

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Carefully tip this biscuit mix into your prepared tin and press down using the back of the wooden spoon. This can be fiddly as the mixture will be sticky and try to lift itself back out, so having a spare spatula to hand may help.

Pour the melted chocolate over the top. Refrigerate for 45 minutes to allow the base and the chocolate to set.

20180623_143555.jpgRemove from the fridge and allowing to come back up towards room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting into slices to prevent the chocolate from shattering. To slice, loosen the sides with the tip of a sharp knife then tip out from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the tiffin while it is still chocolate side down to prevent it from breaking apart. This recipe is for 16, however as these are super rich, you may even prefer to divide it into 20 or even 25 pieces.

These can keep up to three days in an airtight container. If the weather is warm, consider keeping them in the fridge, otherwise they can start to crumble.

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Downloadable PDF: Teatime Tiffin