May 2014

St. John’s Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Fergus Henderson's Rhubarb Crumble Cake

The Astronomer and I celebrated another year of marriage this past April, and I’ve been meaning to crank out this post since then. Life can feel hectic these days both on the personal and professional fronts, but there’s always time for cakes and milestones—Always!

Since it’s tradition to bestow fruit upon one’s beloved in honor of the fourth wedding anniversary, I baked my guy a Rhubarb Crumble Cake. He can’t resist tart rhubarb paired with a good streusel topping, and I’m always up for a culinary challenge.

This cake, which is seasonally served at Chef Fergus Henderson’s super-fabulous St. John Restaurant in London, is a triple threat. The bottom-most layer, moist and buttery cake, gives way to a generous layer of tangy fruit kissed with orange zest. Finally, a nutty topping that’s crunchy and wholly complementary ties all the layers together. This is certainly “a kind of British cooking” that I can get behind.

For fruit mixture

  • 3 large stalks of rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Turbinado sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
    NOTE: You could also use apples, apricots, cooked quinces, nectarines, gooseberries, pears and ginger, or plums

For cake mix

  • 1/2 cup soft unsalted butter
  • Scant 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/3 cups self-rising flour, sifted
  • Scant 1/4 cup full-fat milk

For crumble mix

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 ouces unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 Turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • A pinch of salt

Fergus Henderson's Rhubarb Crumble Cake

First top and tail the rhubarb, give it a good wash and cut it into slices about 3/4 inch thick. Mix it with the sugars and the orange zest and set aside for 30 minutes.

Fergus Henderson's Rhubarb Crumble Cake

For the cake mix, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, bit by bit to prevent curdling. Then fold in the sifted flour, and last of all mix in the milk. Put to one side.

For the crumble mix, sift the flour into a bowl, add the butter and rub them together with your fingertips until they look like large breadcrumbs. Stir in the Turbinado sugar, ground almonds, sliced almonds and salt. 

Fergus Henderson's Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Butter a deep 8 inch springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment. Spread the cake mix evenly over the base of the tin, then place the rhubarb on top.

Fergus Henderson's Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Sprinkle the crumble mix over the rhubarb. Place in an oven preheated to 375 F and bake for about 1 1/2 hours; cover the top loosely with foil if it gets too dark. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Fergus Henderson's Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Serve warm, with custard or extra-thick Jersey cream.

Serves 6 to 8.

Recipe ever-so-slightly adapted from Fergus Henderson’s The Complete Nose to Tail at Home.

Years of marriage should always be marked by good food:

Previous Post
Next Post

5 thoughts on “St. John’s Rhubarb Crumble Cake

  1. Happy Belated anniversary! I love reading what gifts you bestow each year. I didn’t have time to eat at St. John’s restaurant but heard so many good things. I did get to try out the bakery on Saturday for those filled doughnuts though!

  2. It’s not rhubarb season so I thought I’d try with apple and strawberries. Thanks for sharing and it’s a lovely idea… but just one comment – 1.5 hours @ 375 degrees was way too long for a cake and I thought the inside of my cake was a tad overbaked.

  3. I love that you are such a romantic traditionalist! The cake looks beautiful and sounds even better, happy anniversary to you both!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *