I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling anxious, worried and a bit frightened in these very uncertain times. Most of us have never lived through anything like this, and it’s sometimes difficult to know what or how to think about it all. However, if there’s one thing that I always turn to in times of sadness, anxiety, sleeplessness or loneliness, it’s baking.
So, here is my humble offering of consolation – a very easy but very delicious rhubarb cake. The crumb is moist yet dense, which makes this perfect with a cup of tea, or served warm with ice cream (or preferably custard). It’s an all-in-one method cake, so it really couldn’t be easier, and you can switch it up depending on what you have in your store cupboard – you could leave out the ginger, perhaps, or use any fruit (fresh, frozen, dried or tinned) in lieu of the rhubarb. I hope that you can find as much solace in stirring, measuring, mixing and smoothing as I do.
- 200g softened butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing
- 200g caster sugar, plus 3 tbsp for the topping
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste (optional)
- 200g ground almonds
- 200g self-raising flour (if you don’t have any, use plain flour + 1 heaped tsp baking powder)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 heaped tsp ground ginger
- 5 balls of stem ginger, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp milk
- 300g/10½oz pink rhubarb, trimmed and cut into roughly 2cm pieces (or any fruit you have!)
- Put on some nice music and make yourself a cup of tea.
Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4, then grease a 23cm/9in springform cake and line the base with baking paper.
Put all of the ingredients except the rhubarb into a large bowl and beat with an electric hand whisk until everything is smooth and well-incorporated (you can also use a food processor). Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure everything is mixed in.
Spoon the cake mix into the prepared tin and top with the rhubarb . You can scatter the fruit randomly or arrange it in a concentric-circle type pattern – it’s up to you!. There is no need to push the rhubarb into the batter as it will sink a little as it cooks.
Sprinkle with the reserved 3 tablespoons of sugar and bake for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, cover the tin loosely with foil and cook for a further 20-25 minutes, or until a knife or skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. It’s lovely served warm, but equally nice cold, too!