My parent’s rhubarb crop is nearing the end but that didn’t stop them giving me a large bunch to take with me when I visited recently. It made a great crumble and this cake, which was my second attempt at my friend Magda’s recipe. The first time I forgot to check whether I had cardamom until it was time to add it (turned out I didn’t) and forgot to put in the ginger. Oh, and the butter. It wasn’t a runaway success. This time I made sure I had all the ingredients and double-checked I had put them in. And despite reading the recipe numerous times before making it, making the cake twice and wondering repeatedly why you didn’t put the pistachios in the cake as well as on top, still managed to miss the part in the recipe where it said add the pistachios until I came to write this. So the next time I make it I’m hoping to get all the ingredients in…
I don’t know where the recipe originated but my friend Magda gave it to me with her amendments to make it healthier, so this is essentially her recipe. She reduced the amount of sugar in it, changed the fats and replaced some with natural yogurt, as well as using wholemeal flour instead of white flour. The cardamom seeds retain a delicious crunch and give a lovely, unexpected, almost perfume-like taste but you could always grind them (or use ground cardamom instead) if you prefer. The icing is a healthier version of cream cheese icing than I normally use but in warm weather it will quickly go off as it doesn’t contain the required butter and sugar to preserve it. In warm weather it would be better to keep the cake in the fridge and take it out to let it get to room temperature before you eat it.
The recipe below will make one deep 8″ cake. The cake in my photos was made with half the recipe quantity (but using 2 eggs) in an 8″x7″ tray, and less than one quantity of icing. I baked it for around 25 minutes.
100g soft brown sugar
100ml olive oil
50g melted butter
200ml natural yogurt
1 tablespoon orange flower water
Zest of one orange
80g pistachios, plus extra for the topping
300g wholemeal self raising flour
Seeds of 12 cardamom pods
½ teaspoon ground ginger
250g mascarpone or cream cheese
50g icing sugar, sieved
Zest of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Set the oven to 180ºC and line a deep, loose-based 8″ cake tin with baking parchment.
Beat together the sugar, oil, melted butter, yogurt, eggs, orange flower water and orange zest.
Mix in the rhubarb, pistachios and cardamom seeds.
Sieve in the flour and ground ginger and fold in, making sure that everything is properly mixed.
Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and gently level.
Bake for around 40-45 minutes, until the cake is well risen and browned, and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out dry.
Allow to cool in the tin.
When the cake is completely cold make the icing:
Beat the cream cheese, icing sugar, lemon zest and juice together until smooth and creamy.
Spread it over the top (and sides if you like) and scatter over chopped pistachios.