As I have undoubtedly mentioned before, I really like how things are seasonal here (as they were when we lived in Denmark too). Quite often you can’t find things in the shop because they are not available locally, and I think that’s the way we should all start thinking to be honest, things really do taste much better too.
It also means that foodstuffs are quite often celebrated when the season begins, and entire menus can be devoted to something – as is the case with Asparagus (Spargel) at the moment, and soon enough it will be the turn of the strawberry, cherry and something that we Brits are equally fond of – Rhubarb… Here you can find it in soft drinks – there’s nothing quite as refreshing as a rhabarberschorle (rhubarb juice with fizzy water) and the juice goes really well with prosecco! But when it starts to appear in the Viktualienmarkt and the supermarket alike, this is what I really like to make with it…. This cake is adapted from Dorling Kindersley’s Grandmother’s German Cookbook written by Birgit Hamm and Linn Schmidt, an which is full of great German speciality recipes – not just sausages and sauerkraut – and definitely not just for Grandmothers…
2 large sticks of rhubarb, washed and cut into 1.5cm slices;
250g softened unsalted butter;
100g caster sugar;
1tsb vanilla extract;
1 pinch of salt;
1 large egg;
250g plain flour (or self raising);
2.5 teaspoons of baking powder (not necessary if using above);
3 cold egg whites;
1 pinch of salt;
100g icing sugar;
Preheat oven to 190C and butter a 10″ spring-form cake pan. Cream the butter and sugar together, add the vanilla extract, the salt and the egg, and mix through… Sift together the flour and baking powder (if using) and add to the bowl. If it looks like it needs it, add a few drops of milk – note however that this is not a sponge recipe so it looks quite heavy, but I think you will be amazed at how light it is… Press the mixture into the pan and arrange the rhubarb on the top pressing in gently. Bake for 35-40 minutes in the middle of the oven. When cooked, remove and leave to cool slightly on one side – leave the oven on…
In a clean bowl (I tend to wipe the bowl with a drop of lemon juice beforehand to ensure non-meringue failure!) beat the egg whites and the salt to stiff peaks, then gradually add the icing sugar. Tip meringue onto the cake and place back into the oven for 6-8 minutes, keeping an eye on it*! Leave to cool, slice and share – or not!
*You might notice from the first picture that my meringue was what they call “weeping” ever so slightly… This was not caused by the cake itself crying as it just couldn’t believe how delicious it was, but by me taking it out of the oven too soon – be warned – it didn’t affect the taste however!
And if you are a fan of meringues in general, you might also like this Black Forest Pavlova recipe – it will soon be cherry season after all…
PS…. I have made this recipe since (at least a couple of times), and I have discovered that if you let the cake cool right down and then do the meringue stage, you won’t get the “beading” or “weeping” meringue! :)