Cakes, cookies and other sweet treats

Rhubarb and raspberry cake

My mum’s the type of cook who rarely weighs anything and usually realises that she doesn’t have half the ingredients she needs once she’s already started cooking, and her dishes always taste delicious. Both in and out of the kitchen my dad is the complete opposite to my mum. No recipe is complete without measuring ingredients to the last gram and reading every letter of Delia Smith’s instructions. But what papa dave does good, boy he does good. Rhubarb crumble, his ‘award winning’ cheese cake and spaghetti bolognese.

I have so many fond food related memories with my dad despite his lack of time in the kitchen. He is the man who made intricate faces and scenery in my food (one of the best being a car driving under a forest-covered mountain), would jump up from the dinner table to do cat maths, taught me how to make homemade elderflower cordial and showed me the ways of rhubarb.

The moment summer came rhubarb crumble would be on our table. Perfectly sweetened and stewed, and topped with a crunchy golden topping. Sweet summer memories. But because of this I never make rhubarb crumble. Even if I followed the exact instructions my dad uses I’m sure it wouldn’t taste the same. So instead I bring you rhubarb and raspberry cake spiked with orange, ginger and cinnamon.

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We start by gathering our ingredients. Rhubarb and raspberry’s meet spices and orange. Ground almonds brings a soft nuttiness while brown muscovado sugar brings depth of sweetness.

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First step along the way is introducing our orange zest to the sugar. Smashed together the orange’s natural oils are released creating a fragrant sugar to bathe our raspberry and rhubarb in.

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To add extra flavor and juiciness to our cake orange juice, buttermilk and vanilla extract are whisked together. 

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Finally rhubarb and raspberry are folded into our batter. Just looking at it makes me want to dive in with a spoon. Resist!! Instead spoon that bad boy into a lined and floured baking pan and wait patiently for 50-60 minutes. This cake is worth every minute of that wait.

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After all your patience you’re rewarded with a cake that has such a depth of spice,  with rhubarb and raspberrys that are soft and juicy and a crumb that is firm but tender. I urge you to make this cake – it is simply delicious.

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1 cup soft brown muscovado sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 cups of rhubarb, cut on a diagonal into 1/2″ pieces

1 cup raspberrys

1 large egg

1 1/2 cup plain (all-purpose) flour

1/2 cup ground almongs

1/2 cup butter milk

Zest and juice of 1 orange

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C (160C fan or 350F)
  2. Cream the soft brown sugar with the stick of butter till light and smooth. Add the egg and beat till incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl add the light brown sugar and zest of the orange. Mix together to release the oils from the zest and create a fragrant sugar. Add the rhubarb and raspberrys and coat well in the sugar mix.
  4. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ground ginger together and lightly whisk with a fork.
  5. In another bowl mix the buttermilk, orange juice and vanilla extract.
  6. Mix the flour and wet mixture, alternating between each, into the sugar and butter mix, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. This will give you a lighter crumb to the cake.
  7. Once all incorporate add the rhubarb and raspberrys. Don’t worry if the raspberrys break up a bit this will just add a natural raspberry ripple effect to the cake.
  8. Butter and flour a 9″ round tin and pour the batter in. Cook in the center of the over for 50-60 minutes until a skewer emerges clean.

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