With its long, elegant pink limbs, forced rhubarb is a sign that spring's bounty is just around the corner, says our kitchen garden chef, Melanie Johnson.
For the cake
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 125g desiccated coconut
- 200g self-raising flour
- 250g rhubarb, washed and trimmed
For the glaze
- 100g icing sugar
- ¼tspn rosewater
- 1tbspn milk
- Whipped cream to serve
Preheat your oven to 160˚C fan/180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with parchment.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. Pour in the coconut and flour, then mix to combine. Pour the cake batter into the parchment-lined tin. Cut the rhubarb into even-sized pieces that fit across the baking tray. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and carefully lift the parchment paper and cake out of the tin, then leave to stand on a wire rack to cool.
Make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar, rosewater and milk together until smooth. Drizzle over the cake and then sprinkle with extra coconut all over.
Serve sliced with whipped cream and edible rose petals.
More ways with rhubarb
Rhubarb crème brûlée
Make these for a rich and indulgent dinner-party pudding. Simply arrange pieces of rhubarb in the bases of four ramekins. Stand the ramekins in a roasting tray.
Heat 400ml double cream and 100ml whole milk until nearly boiling. Whisk five egg yolks together with a few tablespoons of caster sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla-bean paste, then pour over the cream mixture.
Whisk again until smooth and then pour into the ramekins. Pour boiling water into the roasting tray and bake in a moderately hot oven for 30–35 minutes. Cool, then chill. Just before serving, sprinkle the top with caster sugar and use a blowtorch to brûlée the tops
Rhubarb, strawberry and orange compote
This simple compote combines a refreshing flavour combination that tastes delicious with Greek yoghurt, on pancakes or waffles or served with custard and shortbread for a speedy, but smart little pudding.
Simply heat 400g rhubarb, 100g strawberries and the zest and juice from one orange in a saucepan with 100g caster sugar. Simmer for 15–20 minutes and then cool until ready to use.