I’ve often spoken on this blog of my love for the fruit and veg stand at the top of Leith Walk. It’s cheap and great, and you’ll get the more difficult to get hold of things like figs and rhubarb and Jerusalem artichokes just as often as you’ll get an entire box of mushrooms for a pound or about 2 kilos of “dirty carrots” for a quid because no one can be bothered to clean them. This week, my flatmate came to do the weekly shop with me and she grabbed some rhubarb. Excellent call, Eva.
She fancied a rhubarb something. A sweet something. I looked into it. Rhubarb and almond. The perfect combination. Job done.
Eva’s favourite cakes are, as she terms it, the “boring” ones. The more bready type of cake, the banana breads and the carrot cakes, the dense ones that have subtle flavours rather than a whirlwind of ingredients that slam into your face and make you feel instantly disgusting. I’m apt to agree, now that I’m an adult, though in my teens I was known to gnaw on a brick of fondant icing as if it were my only life source. These days, subtlety is everything.
This recipe is a veganized version of this recipe from Sainsbury’s Magazine. I’ve kept the presentation and the key ingredients (almond, rhubarb, orange juice), and I think the combination of sweet, sour and zesty is just heaven. This is a grown up cake, the sort of thing you’re quite proud to get out when a friend calls around for tea, but which you’ll also find yourself scoffing two slices of after a few too many glasses of wine on a school night.
(Makes 1 cake)
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups plain flour
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup of sugar + a tbsp reserve
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
the juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup almond / coconut (melted) / other vegetable oil
3 large stalks of rhubarb, cut in half if they’re particularly thick, then chopped into 4cm lengths
flaked almonds, for the topping
Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and oil and flour a baking tin
In a bowl, stir together the almond milk and vinegar and set aside for 5 minutes
In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, then add the ground almonds, sugar, baking powder and salt
Add the juice and the oil into the milk mixture, then add the wet mixture into the dry
Mix gently by folding until everything is combined
Pour half the batter into the pan, then place half the lengths of rhubarb on top of it, keeping them away from the very edges of the batter. Sprinkle with a little of the reserved sugar
Pour the rest of the batter over this layer, spreading it out to the sides. Arrange the remaining rhubarb slices onto the top of the batter, keeping them away from the very edges. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and the flaked almonds
Place into the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out totally clean.
Remove the cake from the oven but leave it in the baking tin to cool. Place a tea towel over it and allow it to cool completely, for an hour or so
Serve with a cup of good tea and some good conversation.
I am absolutely in love with this cake. It’s been a long while since I experimented with baking; instead, I’ve been making old favourites (hello, endless stream of lemon drizzle cakes). There’s nothing quite like trying a new recipe and hitting the nail right on the head. We’re just at the start of rhubarb season here in the UK, so why not grab some and try this for yourself?