rhubarb bake

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

Rhubarb season is coming to a close at the allotment, and while all of ours has failed to grow, our neighbours have been very generous with theirs. Here's a moist and chewy cake, inspired by a traditional Jewish-Polish cake that's usually made with apples (but works wonderfully with plums, and now also rhubarb) that doesn't need frosting (but you always could), making it perfect for cutting into chunks and taking for picnics. The masses of cinnamon make for incredibly homely smells while baking too. Make sure you use a high sided (>5ish cm) tin for baking it in, or line with greaseproof paper to a height greater than this, and place a baking sheet on the shelf below to catch any overspill - the batter looks flat but the cake rises and rises in the oven. Save any that does overflow - it's delicious!

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk
Lydia's Rhubarb Upside-Down Bake
150g (1 cup) plain flour
240g (1 cup) caster sugar
2 large eggs
160ml (2/3 cup) apple juice
120ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil (canola oil)
1tbsp ground cinnamon
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp and 1.5tsp baking powder

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk
Rhubarb filling
240g (8.3oz, roughly 2 stalks) rhubarb, cut into chunks
1tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp caster sugar

Optional Icing
45g (1/4 cup confectioner's) icing sugar
up to 1.5tsp lemon/lime juice

Preheat the oven to 160°C (electric/fan, 180°C gas -mark 4, 320-350°F).  Line an 8 inch round tin / 20cm square tin with baking parchment to give a height of at least 6cm. If you have a springform pan with tall enough sides, buttering/oiling and flouring the tin will be sufficient.

Combine all the ingredients for the batter - beat until well combined, it will look quite elastic and flat, similar to pancake batter.
Place the rhubarb filling ingredients in a bowl and toss until all the rhubarb is well coated.

Place half the batter in the bottom of the baking tin and tilt the tin to allow the batter to roll its way to the edges. 
Place the rhubarb pieces on top and drizzle the rest of the batter on top to cover the rhubarb. 
Finally top with the remaining cinnamon/ginger/sugar mix that didn't stick on the rhubarb (there'll be quite a lot of it!) - when the cake is done it'll be turned upside-down and this sprinkling will be on the bottom, and the first thing to hit your tongue when you eat it!

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

Bake for 40-45 minutes, you'll hear a fizzing sound when it's done and the top will spring back. Don't worry that it's sunk in the middle - that's perfectly normal for this cake. 
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring, upside-down to a wire rack to finish cooling. 
Be careful when removing the paper / bottom of the springform tin from the cake, as the rhubarb will have sunk and will be sticking - use a knife / spatula and patience. 
Dust the top side (what was the bottom of the cake while baking) with icing sugar or drizzle with a glaze (add lemon juice a 1/4 teaspoon at a time to about 1/4cup confectioner's sugar, mixing, until you reach a drizzly icing consistency) . Also works well served with cream or ice-cream.

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

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