Rhubarb, straw­berry & co­conut cake

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Exclusive Extract -

To me, the com­bi­na­tion of rhubarb and straw­berry sings Alice Wa­ters [founder of Chez Panisse Restau­rant in Cal­i­for­nia]. No pas­try chef ever grows by im­per­son­at­ing an­other, and it’s a fine line be­tween be­ing in­spired and copy­ing. How­ever, I don’t be­lieve there are no new ideas un­der the sun, and this is why I con­tinue to strive in my creativ­ity. SERVES 10 BAKED RHUBARB

1 lemon, finely grated zest 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

300g caster sugar

7 stalks rhubarb, leaves re­moved juice of 1 or­ange

CAKE

125g un­salted but­ter, soft­ened 200g caster sugar

2 eggs

350ml co­conut cream

200g self-rais­ing flour, sifted 50g shred­ded co­conut

50g flaked co­conut

125g straw­ber­ries, hulled and cut in half, or rasp­ber­ries

MERINGUE

4 (120g) egg whites pinch salt

180g caster sugar 1 tea­spoon vanilla ex­tract 1 tea­spoon white vine­gar 1 tea­spoon corn­flour 50g flaked co­conut

TO SERVE

Clot­ted cream or yo­ghurt, op­tional

1 BAKED RHUBARB Pre­heat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Place the zest, vanilla seeds and sugar in a food pro­ces­sor and blitz for 30 sec­onds. Cut the rhubarb stalks down the mid­dle length­ways and cut into 8cm long ba­tons. Ar­range in a bak­ing dish in rows and sprin­kle with the vanilla sugar and or­ange juice. Bake for 20 min­utes or un­til soft­ened. Re­move from the oven and set aside.

2 CAKE Re­duce the oven tem­per­a­ture to 150°C (130°C fan-forced) and line the base and sides of a 30cm x 20cm slice tin with bak­ing pa­per. Al­ter­na­tively, use a 30cm di­am­e­ter round spring-form tin to make re­mov­ing the cake from the tin eas­ier.

3 Us­ing an elec­tric mixer fit­ted with the pad­dle at­tach­ment, cream the but­ter and sugar on medium speed for about 3 min­utes un­til pale and fluffy. The but­ter must be re­ally soft for ul­ti­mate fluffi­ness. Mean­while, give the eggs a light beat with a fork, then grad­u­ally add them to the fluffy but­ter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spat­ula ev­ery now and then if you feel the egg is not in­cor­po­rat­ing with the but­ter. Once all the egg is added, whisk bat­ter again un­til pale and fluffy. Re­move the bowl from the mixer and fold through one-third of the co­conut cream fol­lowed by one-third of the flour, al­ter­nat­ing un­til both the cream and flour have been com­pletely in­cor­po­rated, then fold through the shred­ded and flaked co­conut.

4 Spread the cake bat­ter evenly over the base of the pre­pared tin us­ing a palette knife, be­ing sure not to for­get the cor­ners. Ar­range the rhubarb and straw­ber­ries evenly over the bat­ter, drain­ing any ex­ces­sive liq­uid from the rhubarb as you do so.

5 MERINGUE Wash your mixer bowl so it is scrupu­lously clean for the egg whites and fit whisk at­tach­ment. Add egg whites and salt to the bowl and whisk on medium speed un­til soft rib­bons form. Start adding sugar grad­u­ally, and con­tinue adding a lit­tle at a time over a 2-minute pe­riod, whisk­ing un­til meringue is thick and glossy. Re­move the bowl from the mixer and use a spat­ula to gen­tly fold through the vanilla, vine­gar, corn­flour and co­conut un­til well com­bined.

Spoon meringue over the fruit and gen­tly smooth the top. Bake for 45 min­utes or un­til meringue is golden and a skewer in­serted in the cen­tre of the cake comes out clean. Re­move and leave to cool in the tin for 30 min­utes, then an­gle slice tin at 45 de­grees onto a serv­ing plat­ter and use the bak­ing pa­per to leverage it out of the tin. Re­move the pa­per by turn­ing the end of the pa­per un­der­neath it­self and pulling it back un­der the sponge as if you’re fold­ing the pa­per in half.

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