Rhubarb and Blueberry Cake

Robyn’s rhubarb and blueberry cake was the order of the day last week, and a rather beautiful cake it was. Robyn says it is all down to the shape of the cake tin, but Cake Club knows she has magic in her fingertips – did she not win the Cake-Off 2010 Aesthetics prize? But good taste was there in abundance as well, and the cake club almost resorted to licking the crumbs off their plates as well as their fingers at the end of the tea break.

Rhubarb and Blueberry Cake

1.5 cups self raising flour
1.25 cups caster sugar
1.25 cups coconut
125 g butter, melted
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup finely chopped rhubarb
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 tbsp demerara sugar

Combine flour, caster sugar and coconut. Stir in the butter, eggs, milk and vanilla essence. Spoon half of the mixture into a greased ring tin. Scatter with rhubarb and berries, then top with the remaining mix. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake for 1 hour at 180°C. Stand in the tin for 5 minutes, then cool on a rack.

NB The original recipe used raspberries, and you could leave out the berries altogether.

Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 19:09  Leave a Comment  

Quake cakes

The Cake Club took a brief time out to make cakes and biscuits for the hungry and hard working of Christchurch, but a few leftovers nonetheless made their way into the tea room on a Tuesday morning.

Robyn’s rhubarb and ginger muffins were some of the tastiest misshapes this cake club has ever seen, while the odd biscuit by Pen got snapped up pretty quickly.

Rhubarb and walnut muffins

1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Whisk altogether and then add:

1 1/2 cups finely chopped raw rhubarb (about 5 stalks, but peel off any outer skins that come loose).

Sift the following together in separate bowl and then add to the mix:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Spoon into 12-18 well-greased (or paper-lined) muffin pans, or make mini muffins or Jumbo muffins for pudding with ice cream and custard.

Bake at 160° for 20-30 minutes.

Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 18:09  Leave a Comment  

Rhubarb and Ginger Cake

Susan put on the baking hat this week and cooked up a rhubarb and ginger cake to whet the appetite of hungry Cake Clubbers. It worked! Summer field work means that attendance has been down lately, but that’s okay – that just means seconds for the people who do turn up. Hooray for office work! Susan’s recipe will follow.

Published in: on February 20, 2011 at 21:03  Leave a Comment  

Cake-Off Challenge: Rhubarb & Strawberry Tarts

The first of the Christmas Cake-Off 2010 Challenge Cakes to be tasted on this fine December morning was the rhubarb and strawberry tarts by Nina. The original recipe called for a single, large tart, but our budding baker come chemist decided to down-size and up-booze. “I realised that they would have less time in the oven as small tarts, so I boiled the rhubarb first in red wine. On reflection, I recalled that my previous cake club offering had a disappointing alcohol content, so then I soaked the strawberries in white wine. Overnight.”

Guest Judge, Lord Forrester of Governor’s Bay, had this to say about the tarts:

Very short pastry. A nice tartness between the strawberries and rhubarb, with a hint of Christmas in the jus.

Other comments from the assembled tasters included “The pastry is so light,” and simply, “Yum.”

Vote for Nina’s strawberry and rhubarb tarts in the 2010 Cake-Off Round 1 Poll.


2 cups flour
Rind of 1 orange
Pinch of salt
200g unsalted butter
Some fluid, originally ice water, but things like orange juice or champagne also work well
1 cup sugar
2 tbs tapioca
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tsp corn starch
500 g chopped rhubarb
50 ml orange juice, or white wine
500g coarsely sliced strawberries
Some flakes of butter

Dough: in bowl combine flour, orange rind and salt, cut butter in small pieces and cut through flour with 2 knifes. With a cold hand knead, add fluid as needed for all to stick together. Then put in fridge in plastic wrap.

Combine rhubarb, sugar (I usually use less than the 1 cup, because I like it to be a bit sour still, but it is usually pretty sour like that), tapioca and corn starch (I sometimes omit those, you will have a juicy pie then), salt, nutmeg and the orange juice/wine.

Roll out 2 thirds of the dough on a floured surface and put it in a greased 20 cm springform. Fill it with rhubarb and the strawberries on top. Roll out the remaining dough as well and cut out (heart) forms, or alternatively cut into strips and criss-cross them over the pie. Put some butter flakes on top.

Bake 15 minutes at 220C (preheated), and then about 30 minutes more at 180C, until pastry is golden and filling bubbly. Let cool slightly before serving.

For the Christmas bake-off I first applied basic mathematics and instead of 1 big pie, made several smaller tarts. Realizing that the baking time would be less, and the rhubarb thus less well cooked, I decided to first lightly boil the rhubarb in red wine. That in itself was very successful and I cooked all the remaining rhubarb with wine and sugar and preserved it. While doing so I also realized this was already beyond basic chemistry, as I was boiling together intricate and complex molecules: oxalic acid of the rhubarb and tannins from the wine. Both substances play a role in my research, how is that for multidisciplinary baking.

Everything else was according to recipe: rolled out the dough and lined approximately 20 muffin forms with them (difficult), added the mushy rhubarb (it was a little too mushy), the strawberries, topped it off with another piece of dough (heart shaped)and baked it basically as long as I would have the full pie. But: I also soaked large strawberry halves in my favourite white wine overnight, and decorated the tarts with those in the morning.

Published in: on December 7, 2010 at 19:04  Leave a Comment