Rhubarb is a bit of a middle child to the baker's larder. Unfairly sidelined on the grounds of watery school crumbles from way back when, it's easy to forget that there are a lot of reasons to love rhubarb. Pretty in pink and beautifully British, rhubarb is deliciously tart and pretty darn resilient too. And I speak from a youth of experience - it was the only thing that survived Mother's gardening during my younger years.
If you're willing to give rhubarb another go, then this angel food cake is an absolute must. Lighter than light and full of vanilla-rich creme pat, this is the perfect way to give rhubarb a bit of a makeover. After all, don't we all have a few fashion-skeletons in our closets we'd rather forget?
200g pink rhubarb
300g vanilla caster sugar
50g plain flour
100g icing sugar
Begin by making the creme pat according to this recipe. When it comes to the classics, I'd trust Paul with my life.
Preheat your oven to 140C. Cut the rhubarb into batons, and pack into a roasting tin. Try and squash them in, so that they can hold their shape while roasting. Sprinkle over 75g of the caster sugar, then roast in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, and turn the temperature up to 180C.
While the rhubarb is cooling, whisk up the egg whites until thick and frothy. With the whisk still going, add 125g of the sugar a teaspoon at a time, until you have a meringue mix which holds it's shape, and is thick, glossy and glittery. Add the flour, then carefully fold through using a metal spoon. Place a disk of greaseproof paper in the base of a 6 inch tin, but do not grease the sides. The cake needs to be able to 'climb' the sides as it rises in order to hold its shape. Place in the centre of the oven, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden and cooked through.
Remove from the oven, and turn upside down onto a wire rack, leaving the cake in the tin. Leave to cool for an hour or so, then gently tip the cake out of the tin. Once completely cool, slice in half, and brush with the rhubarb syrup which has formed in the roasting dish. Next, spread with the creme patissiere and then a layer of rhubarb, placing in a clockface pattern so that the cake cuts easily when served. Sandwich with the rest of the cake, then mix the remaining rhubarb syrup with the icing sugar. Drizzle over the top, then decorate with more rhubarb.