Rhubarb and ginger is a great combination and this is a great time of year for rhubarb. I often add some rosewater essence to this crumb cake, and it is delicious. People often ask me for recipes for rhubarb and this is a good one. My Auntie Kate, from Dowra in nearby Co Leitrim (where my Dad came from), grows fabulous rhubarb and she has been supplying us at the restaurant for as long as I can remember. At other times of the year, you could use apples or blackberries in this recipe.

This moist, spicy carrot cake recipe is enjoyable all throughout the year but especially so over Easter. It is also a good recipe for children to try on their holidays. They might like to try it out as cupcakes, which will bake up in about half the time. Either way, this cake recipe is a real treat.

Happy Cooking,


Rhubarb and ginger crumble cake

Serves 6-8

For the crumble:

  • 125g plain flour
  • 75g butter, softened
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • For the rhubarb:

  • 750g rhubarb, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • For the sponge:

  • 175g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 175g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Whipped cream, to serve
  • 1 Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5). Butter a 23cm (9in) loose-bottomed cake tin and line the base with non-stick baking paper.

    2 To make the crumble, place the flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until crumbly.

    3 Place the rhubarb in a bowl and tip in the sugar and ginger. Toss until evenly coated.

    4 To make the sponge, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time. When you have incorporated about half of the eggs, add one tablespoon of the flour and mix it in. This will stop the batter from curdling.

    5 Sift over the rest of the flour and the baking powder and fold in gently

    but thoroughly. Finally, fold in the milk.

    6 Spread the sponge batter over the base of the prepared cake tin and pile the sugared rhubarb on top, then sprinkle over the crumble topping.

    7 Bake for about one hour, until the sides of the cake have shrunk away slightly from the tin, the rhubarb is soft and the crumble is golden brown. To test if the cake is done, insert a metal skewer into the middle – if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.

    8 Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, set on a wire rack.

    9 To serve, cut the rhubarb and ginger crumble cake into slices and arrange on plates with a dollop of whipped cream.

    Carrot cake with orange-scented frosting

    Serves 8-10

    For the cake:

  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 350g soft light brown sugar
  • 250g carrots, grated
  • 350ml sunflower oil
  • 6 large eggs
  • Finely grated rind of 2 oranges
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:

  • Rind and juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 350g icing sugar, sifted
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways/seeds scraped out
  • 350g cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6). Line 2 x 23cm (11in) loose-bottomed cake tins with non-stick baking paper.

    2 Place all the ingredients for the cake into a bowl and mix together with a hand-held electric whisk (or use a mixer).

    3 Divide the batter between the prepared tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cakes are spongy when touched and a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean.

    4 Leave to cool in the tins for five minutes, then turn out onto wire racks and leave to cool completely.

    5 Meanwhile, to make the frosting, sieve the orange juice into a small pan with the rosemary and cook over a gentle heat for about five minutes, until reduced to about four tablespoons. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then take out and discard the rosemary.

    6 Put the orange juice in a bowl with the icing sugar, butter and vanilla and beat together until smooth. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat in the cream cheese until smooth but be careful not to over-beat or it will become runny.

    7 Using a palette knife, sandwich the cakes together with some of the frosting, then put on a cake stand and spread the remainder all over the top and sides so that the whole cake is completely covered, or dollop are larger amount of icing and spread it over the top of the cake. Serve straight to the table in all its glory.

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