Rhubarb, Almond and White Chocolate cake

This is a lovely light sponge cake with a sumptuous flavour that’s subtle, but strong enough to hold its own in the company of the rich almond cream filling and topping.

Serves: 12

Time: 75 minutes + cooling and chilling time

Level: Fairly easy

Tins: 2 x 20cm/8” round cake tins, preferably loose bottomed

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 250g/9oz rhubarb or use a 540g tin of rhubarb
  • 50g/1.75oz granulated sugar
  • 200g/7oz self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 75g/2.5oz ground almonds
  • 40g/1.25oz white chocolate, grated
  • 40g/1.25oz white chocolate, small chunks
  • 200g/7oz butter, softened
  • 3 medium eggs

For the filling and topping

  • 300g/10oz full fat cream cheese or mascarpone
  • 175g/6oz icing sugar
  • 150ml/5.5fl oz double cream, or 120g melted white chocolate, or a mixture (* see footnote re: chocolate)
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • Your chosen decorations (e.g. flaked almonds, sprinkles, rhubarb)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 190C / fan 170C / 375F / Gas 5. Grease and base line two 20cm/8” round cake tins, preferably loose-bottomed.

2a. Add the sugar to 150ml water and heat, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the chopped rhubarb and bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until rhubarb has softened and can be squashed into a pulp. Take off the heat and set aside to cool. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

2b OR, drain and dry the contents of a 540g tin of rhubarb.  (** see note at end)

3. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the caster sugar, ground almonds, grated & chunked chocolate. Stir to mix the dry ingredients well.

4. Add in the softened butter, the eggs and two-thirds of the rhubarb. (Keep the remaining third to use later.) Mix for a few minutes until everything is incorporated into a smooth batter.

5. Pour into the prepared tins and smooth the surface.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Cool in tin 5 – 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.

6a. If using white chocolate rather than double cream it needs to be melted then cooled. Either use a bain marie or short bursts in the micro wave. Whichever  method is used, stir regularly.

6b. To make the filling and topping, beat the cream cheese (or mascarpone) for a few minutes then sift in the icing sugar and beat again, slowly at first. Add either the double cream or the melted and cooled chocolate and mix well. Divide in half.

7. Add almond extract to one half and use to combine the cakes. Add the reserved rhubarb to the other half and use to cover the top of the cake. (Or cover with white then swirl in the rhubarb) Or fill a piping bag and pipe rosettes on the cake. NB If the rhubarb is not of an especially attractive colour, don’t discard it, use it in the filling rather than the topping.

*If the white chocolate is too hot when poured in, it may not mix very well and form small wafers of chocolate. This happened to me and I was quite happy to keep it like that, but you may not. Either cool it to the point where it will mix in or don’t use white chocolate, double cream does a good job on its own.

** I had hoped to use fresh rhubarb when I made this cake, but sadly none was available. Tinned rhubarb is often rather green and not especially attractive when cooked. The instructions above for cooking fresh rhubarb are what I wanted to do, not what I actually did, so if you manage to get some “proper” rhubarb and use it, please let me know if I need to amend the recipe.

I hope you enjoy this lovely cake. If you want more cake recipes click this link. Or have a look at these, which are two of my favourite cakes: First, my Golden Chocolate Cake, which is a rather spectacular showstopper. Equally lovely is my Blueberry and White Chocolate Bundt Cake.

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Happy Baking

Ian