Well, it appears I have been a slacker in the department of keeping my word on sharing my tasty Rhubarb Sponge that I baked, in that notoriously finicky contraption know as the Aga back on my last visit to the UK. But, I see Rhubarb being less and less present at the market, and so I feel I owe it to myself to share one last use before its gone until the delicious forced pink shoots come in spring.
I might have shared before, but its a rough and tough job cooking for an expert, and well seasoned baker. Especially if the recipe you want to make has an English flare to it but is without a doubt, a modern take on that age-old Classic. In step’s the Rhubarb Sponge (of EatMakeRead fame!). When I saw this recipe for the first time, I got so excited to try it! And then. I choose to cook it, for the first time ever, in an Aga, for Granny. I mean. What was I thinking?! Its like bringing the Grim Reaper of the baking world to your door and waiting to see if he sneaks in, or takes off.
Luckily for me, even though I diverted from the recipe a bit, and got an arm burn or two from that Aga door swinging back on me as I attempted to gracefully place, and retrieve, my precious cargo from the oven shelf, everything turned out pretty well. I even went all out and made (gasp!) custard from scratch (which if anyone is accustomed to the English “pudding” course you know custard is essential, however it normally comes in a can called Bird’s, and is still delicious!).
So, thanks Granny for giving it a shot, and liking it, thanks Aga for not destroying my confidence and cake, and thank you Grandpa for eating multiple pieces.
Rhubarb Sponge (adapted from EatMakeRead)
1 1/2 lbs Rhubarb, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp water
1 cup plus 3 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
7 tbsp butter, softened
7 tbsp whole milk
Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter a 9×9 baking dish or pan. Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, vanilla extract, and rhubarb pieces together in a bowl. Spread mixture across the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle 2 tbsp water over mixture.
Mix flour and baking powder together in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and remaining sugar together with a mixer (or a wooden spoon if no mixer is available) until pale and fluffy. Add in each egg, beating well after each addition. Slowly fold in the flour mixture and milk, alternating the two, until all ingredients are incorporated. Drop dollops of batter in pan over rhubarb mixture and spread evenly.
Bake the sponge in the over until the top is golden brown, and the edges bubbly and caramelized, about 35 to 45 minutes, depending on your oven, when a toothpick comes out clean when pricked. Cool for 30 minutes, and serve with warm custard.