I can’t remember the last time I had rhubarb. When I think of this long, leafy plant (which is technically a vegetable and not a fruit) I think of the rhubarb crumble and custard that my mom used to make when we were kids. I love sour things (I eat lemon, much to the bewilderment of anyone nearby) and I always loved the contrast of the very tart rhubarb and the smooth, creamy custard.
My green-fingered neighbour Geri has an enormous pot of rhubarb growing in her back garden, and when I was over there last weekend, Kevin mentioned that they did not know what to do with it all. It was a monster of a plant. I recalled that I had received a Delicious Magazine a while ago that had a few rhubarb recipes so I offered to take some off their hands and return it in the form of Rhubarb, Vanilla and Soured Cream Crumb Cake, and a Rhubarb and Orange Cheesecake. Kevin, being a huge fan of all things baked, jumped at the idea and on Friday they turned up at the door bearing a huge bunch of beautiful rhubarb, leaves and soil-covered stalks and all. Awesome 🙂
The crumb cake is very reminiscent of the rhubarb crumbles of my childhood, and although it has quite a few steps, its not difficult. I did have a slight issue with the toffee sauce part as I did not have golden caster sugar and the coarser sugar I used did not seem to dissolve properly, but it turned out ok and absolutely still tasted fantastic, so I’m not complaining.
I served the cake with the ginger ice cream I made the other day, and a bit of orange rhubarb sauce that was left over from roasting the rhubarb for the cheesecake. It was a lovely combination of the sweet, tart rhubarb crumbliness of the cake with the creamy ginger bite of the ice cream. yum.
Rhubarb, Vanilla and Sour Cream Crumb Cake
From Delicious Magazine
What you will need:
Butter for greasing
50g caster sugar
2 tsp plain flour
For the cake:
6 tbsp sour cream
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
75g unsalted butter, at room temperature
50g ground almonds or hazelnuts
For the crumbs:
50g unsalted butter
25g light muscovado sugar
40g caster sugar
¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
100g plain flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
What to do:
For the crumbs, melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat. Remove from the heat, add both types of sugar and stir constantly until dissolved into a smooth, toffee-like sauce. Stir in the vanilla bean paste, pour into a small mixing bowl, then stir in the flour and salt to make a stiff, biscuit-like dough. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the bowl and set aside to go cold.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Grease and line a 23cm round cake tin. Wipe the rhubarb stalks clean, trim off the ends, cut the remainder into 2.5cm pieces, then put into a mixing bowl. You should be left with about 225g rhubarb. Mix the sugar with the flour, stir into the rhubarb and set aside for 15 minutes or so, stirring now and then, until the flour and sugar mixture has become moist and clings to the fruit. Set aside.
For the cake, stir the soured cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl. Sift the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt into another bowl. Add the butter and mix using a hand-held electric mixer until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the nuts, then gradually beat in the soured cream mixture until smooth.
Spread the cake mixture into the base of the prepared tin, then scatter over the rhubarb mixture. Break the crumb mixture into hazelnut-size pieces (or smaller if you prefer) and scatter over the cake. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the cake comes away clean (don’t forget – if you hit a piece of rhubarb it will still be moist). Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then dust with icing sugar.