Seasonal local food recipe No.358 – Rhubarb and date loaf cake


This is one of those popular recipes passed on by a relative or family friend. Can’t remember! It has the virtue of using much less sugar, as the dates provide added sweetness. It’s really easy to make with the rhubarb in this week’s veg boxes.

Serves 8

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30-45 minutes

225g rhubarb
85g butter
170g self-raising flour
110g sugar + 1tsp extra
110g (about 12) stoned dates, chopped
1 large egg
4 tbsp milk

Heat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5. Grease and line a 450g loaf tin.

Chop the rhubarb into 1cm dice. Rub the butter into the flour and stir in the sugar, the rhubarb and dates. Mix in the beaten egg and milk. Scrape the thick mixture into the tin, hollowing out a shallow trough along the middle. Sprinkle with the extra 1tsp sugar.

Bake for 1.5 hours. Allow to stand for five minutes before turning out of the tin to cool.

Seasonal local food recipe No.324 – Hugh’s rhubarb and ginger cheesecake

This easy to make cheesecake is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Fruit Every Day.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25-45 minutes
Chilling time: 4 hours

Serves 8

For the rhubarb:
400 g rhubarb, trimmed
75 g caster sugar
finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 orange
For the biscuit base:
85 g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
200 g ginger biscuits
For the filling:
400 g cream cheese
3 balls preserved stem ginger, finely chopped plus 3 Tbsp syrup from the jar
25 g caster sugar
finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 orange
200 ml double cream

For the rhubarb, preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas Mark 2.  Cut the rhubarb into 4 cm lengths and place in a wide oven dish, ideally in one layer.  Sprinkle with the sugar, orange zest and juice.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25-45 minutes (stirring carefully to turn the pieces over after the first 10 minutes), until tender and juicy (check the rhubarb after 25 minutes – and regularly thereafter – poking it with the tip of a small knife).

Leave to cool completely, then drain off the juice (it’s delicious, so save to pour over ice cream or use in a drink or smoothie). Lightly butter a 20-23 cm springform cake tin, line the base with baking parchment and lightly butter the paper.

To make the base, blitz the biscuits in a food processor (or bash in a bag with a rolling pin) until fairly fine.  Pour the melted butter through the feed tube, pulsing as you go, until the mix looks like wet sand.  (Or mix the butter with the bashed crumbs in a mixing bowl.)  Tip into the prepared tin and press in firmly with the bottom of a glass so you get an even layer.  Chill the base while you make the filling.

For the filling, beat the cheese, ginger, ginger syrup, sugar, orange zest and juice together until well blended.  Add the cream and beat until the mixture thickens enough to hold its shape.  Spoon on to the biscuit base and spread into an even layer.

Chill for 4 hours or overnight, until firm.  Run a thin knife around the edge of the cheesecake and release the side of the tin.  Serve with the cold baked rhubarb on top or on the side.

Seasonal local food recipe No.187 – Jane’s rhubarb and custard cake

I tried this out on Camel CSA’s growing team (they’re always hungry) and they gave it the thumbs up. It’s from Jane Hornby at BBC GoodFood and caught my eye because it’s had over 100 enthusiastic reviews.

Our growers suggest it would taste even better served lukewarm as a pudding with lots of Cornish clotted cream.

Serves: 16 (or eight hungry vegetable growers)

Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour (plus rhubarb cooking and cooling)


1 quantity Barney’s roasted rhubarb (see recipe, below Method)
250g pack butter, softened, plus extra for greasing (I used Flora)
150g pot ready-made custard, not chilled kind (I used Ambrosia)
250g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g golden caster sugar
icing sugar, for dusting

Make the roasted rhubarb first, carefully draining off the juices before you let it cool. Butter and line a 23cm loose-bottomed or springform cake tin. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

Reserve 3 tbsp of the custard in a bowl. Beat the rest of the custard together with the butter, flour, baking powder, eggs, vanilla and sugar until creamy and smooth.

Spoon one-third of the mix into the tin, add some of the rhubarb, then dot with one-third more cake mix and spread it out as well as you can. Top with some more rhubarb, then spoon over the remaining cake mix, leaving it in rough mounds and dips rather than being too neat about it.

Scatter the rest of the rhubarb over the batter, then dot the remaining custard over.

Bake for 40 mins until risen and golden, then cover with foil and bake for 15-20 mins more. It’s ready when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, so it may take a little longer. Cool in the tin, then dredge with icing sugar when cool.

Barney’s roasted rhubarb
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Rinse 400g rhubarb and shake off excess water. Trim the ends, then cut into little-finger-size pieces. Put in a shallow dish or a baking tray, tip over 50g caster sugar, toss together, then shuffle rhubarb so it’s in a single layer. Cover with foil, then roast for 15 mins. Remove foil. Give everything a little shake, roast for 5 mins more or until tender and the juices are syrupy.

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