|My Rhubarb, Meringue and Almond cake straight out of the oven|
Rhubarb, a very inconsequential yet colourful stalk before it is cooked, almost a red celery look alike, comes into its own in desserts, and when this cake is served by the slice, the rhubarb provides colour and its very own wonderful unique flavour. It comes in three layers comprising a light and delicious butter cake base, a tangy rhubarb layer, topped with a textured, sweet, and nutty layer of meringue.
This is a really delicious cake, and I urge you to try it. Your guests will love it, served with fresh cream or yoghurt. If you can grow rhubarb or buy it at a reasonable price from the Farmer's market you are very fortunate. Most people have eaten rhubarb and apple pies, crumble or tarts at some stage, and know how delicious this ordinary looking vegetable, yes it is really a vegetable, becomes when cooked into a dessert.
I generally like to bake in the morning when it is cooler and I am more of a morning person anyway, so I leave the butter and the eggs out of the refrigerator overnight, the night before, and then I am all set to start baking first thing in the morning. That is a matter of personal preference though and depends on time restrictions for some people. If you can find an apprentice chef lurking somewhere in your home, give them the job of chopping the rhubarb, that will shorten the preparation time for you when making this cake. It is well worth the effort.
Anyway let's Cook:
Prepare the rhubarb: Remove the leaves from your rhubarb and relegate them straight to your compost heap, they are not edible. Trim off the dry ends of the stalks. Wash and chop your rhubarb into 0.5-1 cm pieces and set aside in a bowl.
Preheat oven to 180 deg.C.
Grease a 23 cm round spring form cake tin and line just the base with baking paper.
Separate the yolks and egg whites of two eggs into two small bowls and set both aside.
Cake Base Ingredients:
125 g softened butter
150 g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
1 egg at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
150 g self-raising flour
50 g cornflour
2 bunches rhubarb, trimmed and leaves removed, or approx. 1 kg rhubarb (cut into 0.5-1 cm pieces)
Sift the flour and cornflour together into a bowl.
Mix the butter, sugar, salt and egg and egg yolks with an electric mixer until creamy. Then slowly add spoonfuls of the sifted flour and the sifted cornflour and continue mixing until you have a thick cake batter.
Place the cake batter in a greased 23 cm spring form cake tin and place the chopped rhubarb evenly on top of the cake mixture. Place the baking dish in the middle of your pre-heated oven. It takes at least 30-35 minutes at 180 degrees C. to bake depending on your oven. Allow 45 minutes.
(15 minutes before the cake is due to be finished cooking, or after 30 minutes of baking, start preparing the Meringue Topping. Instructions below.)
The surface of the cake should be visible through the rhubarb layer and will appear set. Test that the the cake layer is cooked by inserting a skewer and if it comes out clean the cake is cooked. Remove the cake from oven and readjust oven temperature to 160 deg. C.
Now pour the Meringue Topping evenly on the Rhubarb layer and cake, and place back in the oven again for about 15 minutes at 160 degrees C.
2 egg whites
100 g sugar
50 g ground almonds or hazelnuts
Beat the egg whites and sugar until it is firm. Add the ground nuts and continue stirring. After a baking time of 30-45 minutes pour the topping over the cake and bake for another 15 minutes at 160 degrees, as detailed above.
After baking the cake, allow to completely cool before removing from the cake tin. I sifted fine icing sugar for decoration over each cake slice, just before serving, and then placed a dollop of thickened cream over the top of the slice. I think it looked and tasted really nice.
I intended to take a photo "shoot" of the cake sliced and presented on the plates, however I am not Nigella Lawson (LOL), and I was talking to Lou in the kitchen whilst I did this. Then before I knew it the cake plates were being whisked out the door by Mr. HRK to our 8 hungry tennis playing friends. Yes it was Friday night, and our turn to have them all over for dinner. So I will just have to bake this cake again and take some photos worthy of this post. It's a tough job but someone has to do it!
For more information on Rhubarb click here