We are well and truly into May with its gorgeous dewy mornings, sunny days and warm evenings, heavy with lilac scent. And the rhubarb season is now officially open too. Although saying that, the two rhubarb plants at the top of the garden still have a way to go before we can start harvesting their stalks. So instead, I am kicking off with shop bought rhubarb and what better way to enjoy its tangy flavour than in this lazy streusel cake.
You might wonder why it’s called a lazy cake. Well, it’s because the enriched yeasted dough that is used in this recipe is only risen once and it’s so simple to make, there is no better way of describing it. All ingredients are mixed together, the dough is then left to its own devices before the cake is assembled and popped in a cold oven. Yes, cold oven. No faffing required here apart from quick chopping of the rhubarb stalks, mixing up the streusel with a fork and popping it over the dough. Simple. Plus because the dough is more sticky then usual, it’s best made using a mixer rather than by hand.
I have said it before and I will say it again, streusel really makes a cake. My honeyed hazelnut and cinnamon streusel bundt has been very popular indeed. But this cake doesn’t require fancy baking tins, a deep roasting tin will do. Its simplicity allows the soft fluffy dough, sharp rhubarb, sweet juicy raspberries and buttery streusel to really shine and come together. I have many fond memories of baking with my Mum and Grandma cakes like this one. Always using whatever fruit was and is in season. And always sneaking a piece or two of the crunchy streusel from the top of the cake.
Saying that, Mum wasn’t that keen on rhubarb at all. We never grew it at the orchard and she wouldn’t give it a second glance at the weekly market either. I, on the other hand, thanks to a very generous childhood friend of mine, fell in love with it from the first moment I had tasted her mum’s rhubarb cake. The right mix of sour, tangy fruit with sweet cake. Just perfect. So here I am combining my Mum’s yeasted streusel cake with tangy rhubarb memories and juicy raspberries. Mr A isn’t a fan of this cake for that reason – it’s not sweet enough for his English palette. And yes, I agree, this is definitely a cake that is fruity and tangy – which makes it perfect for breakfast too. A win win for me. Here is the recipe.
- 500 grams of plain flour
- 250 grams of sugar
- 20 grams of instant yeast
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 250 ml of full fat milk, warm
- 125 grams of melted butter, warm
- 400 grams of rhubarb, roughly chopped
- 300 grams of raspberries, fresh or frozen (but do not defrost if using frozen fruit)
For the streusel:
- 200 grams of plain flour
- 140 grams of sugar
- 20 grams of vanilla sugar
- 125 gram of melted butter, warm
Start by placing the flour, yeast and sugar into a large bowl. Mix the dry ingredients together until fully combined. Now add the beaten eggs, warm milk and start mixing the dough. Slowly add the melted butter and continue to mix until well combined. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and place somewhere warm and draft free until well risen and doubled in size.
Whilst the dough is rising, make the streusel. Place the flour and the sugars into a large bowl. Add the warm butter to the dry ingredients and using a fork combine until you get crumbly mixture. I like mine not too fine so a big lump or five are really welcome by me. They will be perfect for picking off the top of the cake…
Prepare a deep roasting tin or baking dish (33 x 20 cm) by lining it with some baking paper. No need to butter or flour it. Once the dough has risen, give it a quick mix to deflate slightly and transfer it into the prepared tin. Stretch it gently into the corners using a spoon or a spatula and make sure it’s evenly laid in the tin. It will stick to your hands so using an implement will help.
Top the dough with the rhubarb chunks and tumble the raspberries over. Gently press the fruit into the cake so that some of the raspberries start to release their juice. But don’t squash them entirely.
Sprinkle the streusel over the fruit ensuring even coverage. Make sure all the corners are covered too. It’s okay if some of the fruit peaks through a little but you want the streusel to protect the fruit juices from burning whilst the cake bakes in the oven.
Place the cake in a cold oven and turn the temperature up to 175°C. One the temperature has been reached, bake the cake for 40 minutes. Test it by inserting a skewer into the cake – if it comes out dry, the cake is fully baked. Undoubtedly part of the skewer will be sticky with the fruit but the bottom should be dry. The top of the cake should be golden brown and crispy. Turn the oven off and leave the cake to cool for at least 4 hours or so. You want it to be just slightly warm if possible.
Remove the cake from the oven and slice into generous slices. Sprinkle with some icing sugar if desired before serving. With a glass of cold milk, or a cup of tea, this is one of my top favourites. I’m now off to make another one since the last one lasted all of 24 Hrs. Enjoy x