June 3, 2021



I used the same recipe for this cake as for the summer fruit streusal cake which I first made last year.  It's one of those endlessly adaptable recipes that never fails to please and comes from the excellent little book "The Weekend Cookbook" by Catherine Hill.

This time I used a few slim stalks of rhubarb from the garden, choosing the reddest ones in preference to the green, and a handful of strawberries.  The golden caster sugar gives it a slightly caramel flavour and the demerara sugar topping a bit of crunch.  I did wonder about adding a little vanilla extract but it didn't need it.  Rhubarb and strawberries go well together and it was a delicious cake with a nice texture.

The crunch was diminished after a couple of days as I stored the cake in the fridge because of the fresh fruit, but it was still good to eat.  It really is a lovely cake to have either with a cup of tea, a glass of chilled rosé or served warm with custard for dessert.  Highly recommended.

However, I dropped a bit of a clanger with the cake tin, having decided to use a 20cm square tin instead of a round one for a change.  My brain was obviously temporarily disengaged and when the cake came out of the oven I realised that turning it out was going to be a problem.  I had lined the bottom with baking paper but it was a solid tin, not loose bottomed and it suddenly occurred to me that having to tip it upside down to turn it out might mean that I would lose some of the crumble topping.  Rats !!
Luckily, the cake had risen more or less to the top of the tin so once it had cooled for about ten minutes (to make sure it had set and was not too fragile for some athletics) I put a large chopping board on the top, gripped them together firmly, tipped it upside down and removed the tin and the baking paper.  I now had the cake upside down on the board so pressed an oblong cooling rack onto the bottom of it.  With no mean feat of dexterity I gripped the sides of the board and rack with both hands and turned it back the right way up.  It worked and I lost only a few crumbs of the topping.  
*The moral of the story is: either use a loose bottomed tin of some kind, OR, put long strips of foil or paper in the tin so you can lift it out when cooked without inverting it!
In any case, I think it's one of those cakes that cuts more easily into squares than triangles and I would do the same again.....

For the topping
50g cold butter, cubed
75g plain flour
50g demerara sugar
50g flaked almonds
For the cake
125g cold butter, cubed
225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g golden caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 tblsp milk (approx.)
300g of fruit, a mixture of rhubarb and strawberries
First make the streusel topping by putting the butter and flour into the bowl of a food processor.  Blitz until the stage of large breadcrumbs with a few lumpy bits (so not too fine).  Tip the mixture into a small bowl, add the sugar and flaked almonds and stir to mix together.  Set aside.
(You can of course do the rubbing in part by hand.)
Butter and base line a 20cm loose bottomed square cake tin*.  Preheat the oven to 170C / 150 fan / gas mk 4.
Without washing the food processor bowl (or the mixing bowl if rubbing in by hand), make the cake mixture.  Put the flour and baking powder in and blitz (or stir) for a couple of seconds to mix.  Add the butter and process until the fine breadcrumbs stage.  Then add the sugar, eggs and 2 tblsp of the milk.  Process  until smooth and add a little more milk if necessary to get a dropping consistency.
Transfer the mixture to the tin and level the top.  Chop or cut in half any larger strawberries, chop the rhubarb into 1cm dice and arrange on top of the cake mixture.  Sprinkle the streusel mixture on top of that.
Bake for 35-40 minutes (mine took 55 minutes) until done and the cake passes the skewer test.
Leave in the tin to cool for 15 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Cuts into 9-12 slices.
* See notes in text!


  1. I love the combination of rhubarb and strawberries. Your efforts with the tin made me smile. I have a favourite rhubarb "Windows" dessert, where you put the batter in the tin then lay pieces of fruit on top and it looks like a stained glass window (sort of) when it cooks. I recently made one and absent mindedly arrange the fruit in the tin. Then poured the batter on top - suddenly realising I'd done if the wrong way round. It still tasted good even if it looked less spectacular. I kept the end of my gammon to make your pea and ham soup. However Bob decided to make a late night ham sandwich, and ate it up!

    1. Angela, baking disasters are not really a disaster if the end result tastes good!

    2. Exactly - and if the original ingredients were good, providing it isn't burned, it should be edible