Some time ago I read Jenny Colgan’s Meet Me At the Cupcake Cafe which I thoroughly enjoyed. An entertaining read with recipes throughout the book so combining baking and reading – two of my favourite activities . At the back of the book is a recipe for cupcakes written by the Caked Crusader. I’m not a huge cupcake fan (partly because I find buttercream too sweet) but was intrigued by the name and her mission and started to follow her blog. During the winter, she posted a recipe for a rhubarb crumb cake – a combination of rhubarb crumble and cake. I spent some time drooling at the picture as I love rhubarb but have never baked a cake with it before. I finally got round to making the cake last weekend.
For this recipe you will need a 20cm square cake tin. I don’t have one but do have an 18cm square one so used that instead. I lined it with greaseproof paper which I always find a bit fiddly but better than trying to get a cake out which has welded itself to the tin I suppose. Then I got on with making the crumb. You mix together melted butter and sugar and then press in the flour using a fork. Well I didn’t read the recipe properly and weighed the sugar and flour into a bowl, then added the melted butter. Whoops! Luckily it looked the same as the picture on the Caked Crusader’s site so I put in the fridge and hoped for the best.
Next you cut up rhubarb and put it in a bowl with more brown sugar and a small amount of the flour. The Caked Crusader suggests cutting it into 1.5 cm chunks. I’m terrible at guessing the length of anything so at this point I got a ruler out (yes very anal I know) and measured one piece before using it as a marker to cut the rest. I had visions of uncooked rhubarb if I had just proceeded in my usual “that looks about 1.5cm so that will do” way.
Once the rhubarb was cut up, I made the cake mixture. Don’t do what I did which is to try and beat together icing sugar and butter using an electric whisk without beating it in a bit with a wooden spoon first. It makes a right mess. Once it looked like whipped butter, I added the eggs one at a time. The mixture curdled when I added the first egg but I carried on, keeping my fingers crossed. Finally you stir in the vanilla, fold in the flour and put the mixture into the tin. You lay the rhubarb on top then add the crumb mixture. Well our fridge is obviously pretty cold as the crumb topping had set solid by this point so I had to break it up with a spoon! The cake is then baked for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into it comes out clean. By the time 50 minutes came, mine still was still fairly raw. It was finally cooked in the middle after it had been in the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes by which time it was a bit overcooked at the edges.
We had it for pudding later that day. The sponge was incredible light (probably because icing sugar rather than caster sugar is used). I was worried the rhubarb wouldn’t be sweet enough as there was hardly any sugar on it but this is perfectly balanced out by the crumb topping. It made a large cake so the rest was sent to Mr Foodie’s work who polished it off in 2 days!