Rhubarb, vanilla and soured cream crumb cake

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I do love rhubarb and and have amassed quite a collection of rhubarb recipes on my Pinterest boards. After making this rhubarb and lemon curd cake at the beginning of the week I had some rhubarb left over. I had spotted this on the Delicious Magazine website and decided it would make a change from a traditional rhubarb cake.

I am at home in Devon briefly so brought some home for my Dad who declared it ‘a lot better than that rhubarb cheesecake you made’! It consists of three layers. A soured cream cake base, a rhubarb filling and a crumb topping which is similar to a crumble in texture. It is tasty and would be perfect for afternoon tea accompanied with some more soured cream or crème Anglaise or alternatively would make a tasty accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee. You will need a 20cm, 5cm square tin with a removable base. It makes 9 pieces.

Ingredients:

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For the filling:
275g rhubarb (untrimmed weight)
50g caster sugar
2 teaspoons plain flour

For the cake:
6 tablespoons soured cream
1 large free-range egg, plus 1 yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (I used extract)
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
75g unsalted butter (at room temperature, plus extra for greasing)
50g ground almonds or hazelnuts

For the crumbs:
50g unsalted butter
25g light muscovado sugar
40g caster sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
100g plain flour (sifted)
Pinch of salt

Method:
1. 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 (I found mine was more sandy than stiff but it did firm up when left to go cold). Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the bowl and set aside to go cold.

2) Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm square, 5cm deep loose-bottomed cake tin with baking paper (alternatively you can use 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. (I found mine didn’t take up all the sugar mixture and didn’t become very moist).

3) 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.

4) 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 – I think I left some of mine a bit too big so if I was too make again I would definitely make the bits smaller) and scatter over the cake. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the cake comes away clean.

5) Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then dust with icing sugar. Cut into 9 squares and serve either warm with crème Anglaise, or cold.

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