I baked this rhubarb cake with lemon sauce after I’d been given a couple of handfuls of fresh rhubarb stalks from my Dad. I had intended on making a rhubarb tatin (much like the quintessential apple tart tatin), but I couldn’t be bothered waiting for my gluten-free puff pastry to defrost, so I just made it into a cake instead. I’ll get around to the rhubarb tatin some time…
Rhubarb is a really healthy vegetable to incorporate into our diets. It’s a great source of fibre and is packed full of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamins K, C and A, along with B-Vitamins too and iron, potassium and calcium. It’s a great vegetable all round! So, when my Dad gave me another bunch of rhubarb stalks the other day I wasn’t going to refuse the gift and I decided that the best thing to do with them would be to make a jam.
The other day my Dad gave me some more rhubarb from his garden and I decided to make a gluten-free rhubarb and ginger crumble with it. I wasn’t going to write up this recipe because I was convinced that I must have put a crumble recipe up on my website at some point in the past, but I was astonished to find out that I hadn’t. I make crumbles all the time because they’re such an easy, quick pudding to knock up and they’re a great way of using up old fruit that’s kicking around the fruit bowl.
A while ago I’d been in Morrison’s supermarket and I spied a huge bag of fresh ginger roots in their ‘Selected Seconds’ section for the incredibly low price of 62p and because I normally use fresh ginger in my curries I figured that I’d chuck the roots in my freezer and use them as and when I needed them. However, when I was considering what to pair my sticks of rhubarb with I remembered that I had the fresh ginger and so I decided that a rhubarb and ginger crumble would be a beautiful combo.
I’ve written before about how dry and granular gluten-free flour tends to be, but in this case it’s a real bonus because it lends itself very well to giving the crumble topping a really crisp, biscuity texture. As a result, the rhubarb and ginger crumble you take out of the oven has a crunchy, buttery topping that provides a delicious contrast to the sharp, but sweet pulped rhubarb that’s thoroughly infused with the warmth of fresh ginger. It’s a dessert which marries perfectly with a generous dollop of custard, a scoop of cold ice cream or a gulg of cold cream.
300g rhubarb (washed and cut into 1cm chunks)
50g root ginger (minced)
For the crumble topping:
100g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F flour because it’s made with low FODMAP ingredients whereas many other gluten-free flours are made with high FODMAP options.)
50g butter (or non-dairy equivalent)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Place the rhubarb pieces, minced ginger and sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook until the rhubarb has pulped down.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC/400ºF/gas mark 6.
Put all of the dry crumble ingredients into a large mixing bowl and rub the butter into it until it looks like damp sand.
Once the rhubarb has cooked, taste it and add more sugar if you like before pouring it into an ovenproof casserole dish.
Scatter the crumble mixture over the top and bake until the top is golden brown.
Serve with cream (I like oat cream), ice cream or custard.
This rhubarb and ginger cake is one of those delightful ‘chuck all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix’ jobs, a cake baking technique that’s a firm favourite with me. I’ve written before about the ‘generosity’ of gardeners in their ‘donating’ of rhubarb to me and with the turn of spring this year has turned out to be no different. (I jest, of course.) My Dad gave me a lovely bunch of lurid, thin pink rhubarb stalks the other day and although I’d been debating about making them into a jam, after flicking through Emma Hatcher’s The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen Cookbook I decided to try making her rhubarb polenta cake.
It would be more accurate for me to describe this as a variation of Emma’s recipe because I made quite a few changes, the most important of which was adding a generous amount of ground ginger. I always think that rhubarb and ginger marry well together. My aunt and uncle who are both avid allotment gardeners make a delicious rhubarb and ginger jam that’s to die for. In fact, if you try to steal some from my Dad you run the risk of death, so it really is ‘to die for’. Worth it though…
When I read that the flour base of this rhubarb and ginger cake was polenta, ground almonds and gluten-free flour I strongly suspected that the cake would be dry and tasteless, but from the minute I started mixing the cake together I could see that this assumption was very wrong. It mixed together like a ‘normal’ cake would without the granular texture I’ve come to expect from gluten-free cakes and baked very well indeed.
The base ingredients of this cake work so well that this could easily become my go-to gluten-free cake mix to use with other flavours. Accordingly, the finished product is a light, moist vanilla-scented cake that’s generously dotted with little chunks of soft, tart rhubarb and complemented by the warming presence of the ground ginger. The rhubarb and ginger cake is beautiful on its own, but I think it would lend itself well to a dollop of crème fraîche or a dairy-free equivalent. However you serve it, I guarantee it’ll be well received by all.
120g fine polenta meal
75g ground almonds
50g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)
3 tsps ground ginger
2 tsps xanthan gum
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
120ml vegetable oil
120ml rice milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
120g rhubarb (chopped into small pieces)
Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.
Prepare an 8″ cake tin with greaseproof paper or a cake tin liner (a wonderful invention which makes cake baking infinitely easier than having to cut out circles of greaseproof paper to fit your tins!).
Cut the rhubarb into small pieces.
Measure the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and give it a good stir so that they’re all fully mixed.
Measure the wet ingredients into a jug or bowl.
Toss the rhubarb in the dry ingredients and then add the wet mixture and stir really well.
Pour into your cake tin and bake for 35 to 40 mins or until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Leave to cool and then serve.