I have a new mistress. Anybody who stumbled across the December issue of Cuisine would understand. On its glossy cover was a ring shaped pavlova decorated to look like a Christmas wreath, covered in berries, cherries and "holly" leaves. After making it for my family's Christmas dinner, I was officially smitten.
Cuisine is like delicious magazine's mysterious, foreign cousin: The styling is just as gorgeous and the recipes equally as accessible, but there are also teasing reviews of New Zealand restaurants and bars and some unattainable brands not available in Australian delis. This could get frustrating, but it just adds to the allure in an always-want-what-you-can't-have kinda way. I still adore you, AGT and delicious. I just... need something difference every once in a while.
Recipe from September 2010 issue Cuisine
4 stems rhubarb
25 gms butter
25 gms caster sugar
100 gms unsalted butter, at room temperature
150 gms caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, separated
150 gms plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
125 mls milk
For the syrup:
150 gms caster sugar
150 mls water
1 rhubarb stem, chopped
1 tbsp rosewater
juice 1/2 lemon
Line the base of a 20cm springform cake tin with baking paper, and grease with butter. Preheat oven to 180C.
Cut the rhubarb on the diagonal into 3cm thick slices and set aside. In a small saucepan, gently heat the butter and caster sugar until the mixture begins to caramelise. Pour into the base of the tin. Arrange the rhubarb in the base and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and yolks, one at a time, beating in between. Add the flour and milk in two alternate batches, mixing until combined. Beat the egg whites until at soft peaks, and fold through the cake batter. Spoon the batter on top of the rhubarb and smooth.
Bake for 40 - 50 minutes until cake is firm to the touch. While I didn't have any syrupy rhubarb drips, it's advised to bake with a tray in the bottom of your oven just incase - things could get sticky!
Allow to cool slightly in the tin while making the syrup.
Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan until sugar has dissolved. Add the rhubarb and cook for five minutes - the syrup should be rosy in colour. Strain through a sieve and stir through rosewater and lemon juice.
Remove the cake from the tin, firstly running a bread and butter knife around the edges. Invert onto a serving plate. Smother each slice with rosewater syrup and serve with cream.
It's recommended that this cake is best eaten on the day of baking while the syrup is still warm, but honestly, it tastes just as wonderful the following day. Just be aware that the rosy rhubarb will eventually fade to a yellow. The cake is wonderfully light because of the egg whites, yet still has a pudding-esque texture when warm. This is an important quality for me. Would taste exquisite with custard.
Recommended baking soundtrack: Fruit Bats - The Ruminant Band.