When I was little my mum grew forced rhubarb in the garden, under a piece of scrap metal. I don’t recall whether it was an old sink or an oil drum, but what I do remember is the amazing taste of that rhubarb.
Whenever the rhubarb emerged, one of the first things my mum would make was rhubarb jelly. Gently stewed rhubarb encased in sweet, orange jelly, it remains to this day a major comfort food for me.
After finding rhubarb on special offer in my local supermarket I was sorely tempted to recreate the jelly of my childhood, maybe fancying it up with a bit of fizz or an exotically flavoured jelly, but, scared of disappointment and sullying my memories, I decided to go another way.
Trawling for rhubarb recipes online I stumbled across The Seaside Baker’s fabulously simple recipe for a Gateau Vite Fait (or quickly made cake) Simple recipes always appeal and the idea of beautifully fluffy sweet sponge topped with sour rhubarb completely reeled me in. (Two fishing references in one paragraph? My boyfriend really has exposed me to too much Extreme Fishing with Robson Green)
This also seemed like the perfect opportunity to break open my jar of cardamom again. After making some truly scrumptious Cardamom Rice Pudding with Spiced Plums I have been continually searching for an excuse to pop some cardamom into another recipe. As I’m sure I’ve said countless times, I’m obsessed with fragrant ingredients right now.
This time my obsession totally paid off.
Sweet, fragrant sponge, tart rhubarb and a slightly crunchy top, it’s the perfect springlike cake.
Warm and smothered in cream this cake makes a gorgeous dessert and it’s ideal for afternoon tea. For breakfast with a dollop of yoghurt? Oh go on then.
Rhubarb Cardamom Cake
Adapted from The Seaside Baker
2/3 cup of granulated sugar, plus 2 tbsp for the topping
3 tbsp melted butter, cooled slightly
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
4 – 5 cardamom pods or 1 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup plus 2 tbsp plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 cups diced rhubarb
Preheat the oven to 190C/175C Fan/350F and grease and line an 8 or 9 inch springform tin.
If using cardamom pods, gently crush each one, remove the seeds and pound them in a pestle and mortar.
In a large bowl mix together the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Add the butter, milk, vanilla and cardamom and stir. Next add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until thoroughly combined.
Pour the mixture into the baking tin and smooth it over. Sprinkle over the diced rhubarb and top with the 2 tbsp of granulated sugar.
Pop it in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Let it cool in the tin for a while before serving it warm or cold with lashings of cream. Enjoy!