A delicious tart fruit, stewed rhubarb, flavoured with sugar and ginger, is fab cold with yoghurt or hot in crumbles. And it’s harvested from early spring when there are few other fruits and can keep going until early summer, though it’s best to stop cropping after June. Good varieties include Timberley Early (AGM) and Victoria for a later harvest.
As well as crumbles and compotes, using rhubarb for an upside down cake is another way of getting fruit into a cake and makes a great alternative to the more traditional pineapple or apple varieties.
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a loose-bottomed cake tin with a little butter and line with a round piece of greaseproof paper that’s slightly wider than the base and reaches up the side of the tin by about 1cm. Scatter 25g of butter, cubed and 50g of soft brown sugar over the bottom of the tin and put in the oven for five minutes. Remove from the oven and press the raw rhubarb (2/3 sticks cut into 5cm pieces) into the melted butter and sugar in the tin.
Cream together 50g of butter and 150g sugar, then add three eggs one by one, beating them into the mixture. Fold in 190g of self-raising flour, 2tsp ground ginger and 120g of plain yoghurt. Pour the batter over the rhubarb in the tin and return to the oven for about 40 minutes, until the sponge is risen and springs back when pressed gently with a finger. Or you could use any of your tried and tested sponge recipes.
Allow the cake to cool a bit before folding back the edges of the greaseproof paper and turning the cake upside down on to a plate. It’s particularly lovely served with vanilla or cardamom-flavoured cream – simply mix together some clotted cream and 4 crushed cardamom seeds (pods discarded). Yum!