so i’ve noticed on instagram this year there seems to have become this trend of making ridiculously beautiful layer cakes, strewn with flowers and glazes and gorgeous garnishes, that i just hadn’t seen before! a couple of student acquaintances have started up selling their services for 21sts and the like, and are really producing such stunning delicious creations!
me, i’m a home cook – i would never pretend to amazing, beautiful presentation skills – but these talented chicas inspired me to get ambitious during my time at home and make something that looked as good as it tasted!
my grandpa kindly obliged by having his 83rd birthday while I was home during the break, so a beautiful cake was in order.
if you haven’t noticed, i really like rhubarb, and baking with rhubarb especially! it has such wonderful sour, tart quality that marries so well in baking, as you’re basically guaranteed to have it temper out however much sugar you throw at it! it goes well with custard, in crumbles, in cakes and muffins, in tarts, just any which way.
speaking of throwing sugar around, the sugar fast has clearly ended – with a bang huh! I am really glad i did my fortnight of no sugar and i’m definitely going to try moving forward to avoid the stuff.
i think i will continue to cut out drink sugary drinks (ie juice, hot chocolates, chai’s, sweet teas etc) because that’s how i often consume sugar in a flatting/day to day context, as we don’t really bake at the flat and i’m pretty good at not buying chocolate and lollies at the supermarket. a hot chocolate or heavily sweetened milky tea is thus how i get my sugar hit, so having a blanket rule against those will hopefully cut most of my sugar without feeling hopelessly hard done by and neglected!
this really is a beautiful cake: moist fluffy cake layers, creamy butterscotch icing, tart tender hits of rhubarb, and of course smooth luscious caramel. i adapted it from a lovely ripe recipe: i really adore these cookbooks and angela never steers me wrong! this was enjoyed by my grandpa and the rest of my extended family last night, and i’m currently eyeing up the last piece in the fridge as we speak!
rhubarb butterscotch layer cake
250g butter, very softened
100g caster sugar
160g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
225g self raising flour
2 tbsp milk
250g rhubarb, chopped into 1cm pieces (5 stems for me)
preheat the oven to 180ºC. prepare two 22cm springform cake tins with baking paper. blitz the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs in the food processor until fully combined and creamy. Add the flour and pulse to combine. add 2 tbsp milk and blitz again. fold through rhubarb bits (i took the sharp blade out and stirred the rhubarb in) then divide between the two cake tins. i weighed them to make sure they were equal, but you don’t have to! place in the oven and bake for 20-25 mins or until a skewer comes out clean – they will still feel fairly soft on top. allow to cool completely.
750g rhubarb, chopped into 2cm pieces (this was 9 stems for me)
2 tbsp sugar
line a baking sheet with baking paper and place the rhubarb on it. sprinkle over the sugar and bake for 15-20 mins or until tender.
300g caster sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup cream
place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. don’t stir, just tilt the saucepan to swirl the mixture. bring it to the boil and then let boil for another 10 mins or so – it will be a light golden, then a darker golden brown, at which point remove from the heat immediately. slowly drizzle in the cream, whisking the whole time. it will make a thin caramel sauce. set aside to cool
250g cream cheese
1/2 cup caramel
beat the cream cheese until smooth and then add the caramel. beat again until fully combined and no lumps remain.
note- the original recipe called for 400g cream cheese with 1 cup of caramel, we only bought one block of cream cheese so i scaled it down and nobody missed it. however, if you would like a really indulgent, decadent helping, feel free to make the original amount!
cut the two cakes in even halves, using a long serrated knife. assemble, using 1/4 of the icing and rhubarb and a little of the caramel each time. when you get to the last layer, swirl the icing over the top, mound the rhubarb in the centre of the cake and then drizzle the caramel on the edges as well as the centre so it drizzles down the sides. this would be lovely served with greek yoghurt. enjoy!