A home baked cake is always a lovely thing, it’s as fresh as you like and you know exactly what’s in it. In this case it’s rhubarb from the allotment that’s been stashed away in the freezer since last year.
Planting fruit makes sense for sustainable growing, once it’s in the ground it carries on producing year after year and rhubarb is a doddle to grow, once it’s established it mostly looks after itself.
All it needs is
- plenty of space, it reaches 1.5 metres wide when it’s in full leaf in summer
- a sunny site with good, fertile soil that doesn’t get soggy
- remove the old leaves and stalks that have been there all winter, at the beginning of spring
- mulch round the base of the plant in the autumn and spring with good compost, taking care not to cover the plant
- rhubarb leaves are poisonous, chop them off and and put them on the compost heap.
There’ll be rhubarb to pick from March through the summer, then I leave it to recover and build up strength for next year.
I freeze it in bags that are just the right size for making crumbles and cakes.
Rhubarb and almond cake
I cobbled a couple of recipes together to get the recipe I wanted, you’ll need:
275g rhubarb, drain it well if it’s been defrosted from the freezer, or chop fresh rhubarb into 5cm/2in pieces
150g softened butter
150g sugar, I mixed equal amounts of soft, dark brown and golden caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 medium eggs
350g plain flour
1 tsp almond essence
1 tbsp sugar & 1 tbsp flaked almonds for the top.
Set the oven to 180 degrees C, line the base and sides of 22cm/9in cake tin with grease-proof paper.
Mix the sugar and butter together until they’re nicely combined, add the beaten eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour to stop it curdling,
add the rest of the flour a little at a time, then the baking powder, almond essence and gently fold it all in together,
spoon it into the tin, and sprinkle the sugar and flaked almonds over the top.
Bake it in the oven for an hour.
Leave it to cool for 10 mins and then tip it out onto a wire rack, it’s especially nice eaten at room temperature with a generous dollop of creme fraiche or double cream.
Happy gardening and eating