Two things. I have no truck with recipes and menu items which list every bloody single ingredient in the headline, as Delicious Magazine does with today’s post. Chrissake, ‘Rhubarb & Amaretti Cake’ would do, and the orange and rosemary hoo-haa will come as a nice surprise. It happens on shows like Masterchef too; some poor idiot presents ‘Lamb Chops Grilled Over Coal with Locally Sourced Wild Garlic Pesto, Half-Decent Carrots Glazed With Honey, Some Random Mini-Herbs and A Sauce Made of Hope and Desperation. Oh, And Salt And Pepper’. Menus that bang on about ‘Hand-Gathered Heart of Veal With Tear-Infused Milk Sauce And New Potatoes Harvested by Artisan Pickers, Devastated Smear of Something Red Seasoned with Cuticles and Diner’s Regret’.
No. I will not have it.
Second thing is I hate Amaretti. I can’t bear the almondy-ness of it, and I can trace this directly back to a trip I took to Dresden and surrounds back in 2001, spent with a German friend and her family, and where the drink of choice for her (and thus for me) was Amaretto and apple juice. All weekend. Non-stop. Literally one meal all weekend, but litres of alcoholic almonds. Cannot bear the stuff now and the stench of Amaretti biscuits just takes me back to the weekend of sugary booze and constant hunger.
Despite all the above I made the cake anyway and it was good. Even I, legendary Amaretti hater, managed to down a good slab of it. It’s quite a nice thing to eat whilst rhubarb is in season though I will call Delicious Magazine out on headlining the rhubarb content as it is essentially just decorative rather than offering anything that might reasonably be called ‘rhubarb cake’.
I sound grumpy, huh. I shouldn’t be. I’m just back from the pool and so I smell deliciously of chlorine. It’s over 20C and there are only three mobs of builders working concurrently on three separate houses in my immediate vicinity. It’s practically silent around here with just the sound of one pneumatic drill and three jackhammers on the go.
225g unsalted butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract (I used vanilla paste)
4 medium eggs, beaten
Grated zest of 2 oranges
200g ground almonds
50g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 Amaretti, broken into chunks (I used soft Amaretti – they were fine)
1-2 sticks of rhubarb, trimmed, cut into 6cm pieces, then halved lengthways to give you 12-16 lengths or so WHATEVER DOESN’T MATTER DO WHAT YOU LIKE I DON’T CARE
Granulated sugar, to sprinkle
For the glaze:
Juice of 1 orange
1 fresh rosemary sprig
20g granulated sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice (I didn’t use)
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan and grease a 23cm loose-bottomed tart or cake tin, lining the base with baking paper.
Put the butter and sugar in your mixer and beat until it’s light and fluffy. If it’s not going light and fluffy just add the vanilla early on and it’ll help push things along.
Add the eggs one by one, the recipe says, which is fucking annoying as they also want them beaten. I just chucked the whole eggs in and whazzed the mixer up to warp speed. Was fine, Looked like sick, as demonstrated below, and as all good cakes should at some point in their journey towards death by teeth and stomach acids. Just make sure you beat well between eggy additions, get them incorporated nicely and don’t leave any swirls of yolk or white floating in the mix.
Then take the bowl from the mixer stand and gently incorporate your flour, orange zest, ground almonds and baking powder.Then add the Amaretti chunks. Should look a bit like the below.The recipe then says ‘pour the mix into the cake or tart tin’. If you can get a mixture that looks like the above to pour then great for you but I had to fuss and push and cajole the bastarding stuff into my tart tin. And I had enough left over for a whole other cake.
Anyway once it’s in, however you managed it, level the top and gently push in the rhubarb pieces in some kind of pattern. Leave about two-thirds uncovered as they should sink a bit when in the oven.
Chuck the whole thing into the oven for 35-40 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.Whilst it’s in the oven make the syrup by chucking all ingredients into a little saucepan, bringing to a simmer and bubble it quite rapidly for 4-5 mins till it thickens a bit. Let the cake cool, once out of the oven. Drizzle over the syrup. Might take a few goes to do this as nothing’s boiling hot and thus at peak permeability. Just be patient, yo.Below is NewHuman demonstrating his best effort at the ‘hide’ part of Hide and Seek. I’m hoping for excellent sporting skills as general academic cleverness is looking increasingly out of reach.And below you’ll find the idiot dog who this morning managed to open up her front leg in the most dangerous way yet incurred a miniscule actual skin-slice of approximately 7.5mm in length. Looks like nothing, is something quite serious. And expensive. And she’s mad at me for the cone of shame but she has no self control when it comes to licking said pricey wound so bugger her, she’s staying coned up till I say so.
Below is cake. Almondy. Served with vanilla cream. Eat. Enjoy.