Monday, 25 February 2013

Rhubarb Sponge

I think a number of people have visited this site looking for a rhubarb sponge recipe- so here is a lovely one we have used- from Waitrose in the UK.  Below it is my blog post about mushy rhubarb at the allotment!

Rhubarb and Orange Cake with Flaked Almonds
Zesty orange intensifies the flavour of English rhubarb in this stunning dessert or teatime treat.
Preparation time:
35 minutes
Cooking time:
50 minutes plus cooling
Total time:
1 hour 25 minutes, plus 10 minutes cooling 
Serves: 8
  • 400g English rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 150g butter, softened
  • 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 100g ground almonds
  • Grated zest of 1 small orange, plus 2 tbsp juice
  • 25g flaked almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Grease a round 23cm springform cake tin and line its base with baking parchment. Place the rhubarb in a bowl and cover with 50g of the sugar. Leave for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the cake.
  2. With an electric whisk, beat together the remaining sugar and the butter, then whisk in the eggs. Using a metal spoon, gently fold in the flour, baking powder and ground almonds, then stir in the orange zest and juice.
  3. Stir the rhubarb and its sugary juices into the cake mixture and spoon into the prepared tin. Place on a baking tray, sprinkle over the flaked almonds and bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180°C, gas mark 4 and cook for a further 20-25 minutes, or until firm. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
  4. Serve warm or cold, with softly whipped cream or custard.
Cook's tips
Any remaining cake can be stored for 3-4 days in an airtight container. You can use canned rhubarb if fresh is unavailable.

The rhubarb on our allotment, planted by previous plotholders, and perhaps productive for years until now, doesn't have roots:  it has a big wet blobby orange spongey mass. There was nothing resembling the rooty roots I think it should have.  And very little in the way of budding stem and leaf.  I think the problem may be crown rot- certainly something rot, more like total-root-rot, but no sign of fungus. It's difficult to tell from the picture but the soggy mass was cuttable like butter with a wooden spoon, and butter that has been out of the fridge for some time at that.  Water could be squeezed out of it. That can't be right can it?
This chunky blob of root was about a foot across
It was planted in the back of the plot, under trees in a very sodden, clayey spot. Last year was just so wet maybe it just finished it off? We tried to salvage it by cutting out the wettest, deadest looking bits and retaining the very top bits (the top of the crown?) with the new buds on it. These I've planted out the front in the sunnier spot, almost just laying them on the surface to see if they can re-root.  I've had some success with other plants that have had their roots totally annihilated by vine weevil, and some re-root successfully by doing this.  Well, we'll find out, if not we'll start again with new stock next year. 

Any rhubarb (or other) advice gratefully received! 
The one proper leaf trying its best

1 comment:

  1. Nothing to lose having a go at rescuing it - try popping it in a large pot to give it some tlc.