Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Rebarbarás piskóta - Rhubarb cake

Rhubarb is a less known cake ingredient in Hungary, although it could be an easy vegetable to grow there too. It is however a favourite in the UK and seem to appear in our veg box a lot at the moment, so had to use it up. The summer rhubarb is a bit tougher than the early spring stems, so I chopped them up quite small and mixed it with sugar to soften and sweeten for several hours before baking. This also gave me a sweet and tangy juice that I reduced to a syrup for drizzling over the cake while it was still warm. The cake mix is one I learned to make at school when I must have been about 7 or 8 years old at our school's afternoon cooking club (technika óra keretén belül :-) Doesn't need any kitchen gadgets other than a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon - ideal for kids - and the sponge mix will rise every single time without collapsing on its way out of the oven. Of course if you must you can use a mixer, it will be a lot quicker! Use any summer fruits, cherries and berries. The most common one would be sour cherry (meggy) in Hungary. I have only seen bottled sour cherries here, but they are great too, ideal for winter cakes.

3 eggs
250 g icing sugar
450 g plain flour
150 ml milk
150 ml flavourless oil (groundnut or sunflower)
1 tbsp baking powder 
400 g rhubarb
few tablespoons of sugar for the rhubarb
1 tsp cinnamon

Wash and cut the rhubarb stems to 1cm slices. If the stems are really tough, you could peel them with a vegetable peeler. Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon then ideally let it sit around for a few hours. It's not essential though. 
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 6. 
Beat the eggs with the sifted icing sugar until it is pale yellow and well mixed. Add the oil and the milk and mix well. Add the baking powder and slowly add the flour, mixing as you go so it doesn't get lumpy. Pour the mix into a lined baking tin, I usually use a large square one, and add the rhubarb but save the sweet juice from the bowl. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and it's not runny in the middle. 
While the cake is cooling, boil the sweet spicy juice in a pan until it becomes a slightly thicker syrup. Pierce the cake with a wooden skewer in a few places then drizzle the syrup over while it is still warm. This is an excellent afternoon cake to go with your tea and keeps well in the fridge for a few days. 

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