Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rhubarb & Mandarin Upside-Down Cakes

I just want to state for the record that I'm not 100% satisfied with how these cakes turned out. As is usually the case, I was tinkering with a recipe I had never tried before and so everything was a bit of trial and error. But these little colourful things tasted so darn good that I'm too impatient to share the recipe with you before I try making them again with the rest of my rhubarb.

I definitely go through phases when it comes to choosing ingredients for baking experiments. Rhubarb seems to be everywhere at the moment and I can't avoid it, nor do I really want to! Even when I visited Cafe Sopra on the weekend, they were serving their amazing cheesecake with baked rhubarb on the side. (Unfortunately I couldn't convince anyone to eat it with me. Who says you can't have cheesecake for breakfast?!)

I took a recipe that was originally for a large upside-down apple and rhubarb cake and switched it for mandarins and rhubarb. I first saw this combination done at Becasse and was surprised at how well these went together. It may have also been because I was out of apples but conveniently had a big bag of mandarins to use up. Anyway, these cakes are sweet, light and moist, my only problem was that I softened my rhubarb too much and it disintegrated a bit and I didn't quite get my syrup thick enough so they were a little mushier than I would have liked. But they do taste fantastic.

Rhubarb & Mandarin Upside-Down Cakes
(adapted from recipe in The Essential Baking Cookbook)

1 cup sugar
250g rhubarb, chopped into 2cm pieces
2-3 mandarins, peeled
2 eggs
1/3 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup self-raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly grease a muffin/cupcake tray. Put the sugar in a small saucepan with 1/3 cup water and heat gently, shaking occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and cook until a pale caramel colour. I added the rhubarb to the syrup and stirred it in to turn the syrup a lovely pink colour and to soften the rhubarb a bit (because I wouldn't be cooking it as long in the oven due to the smaller size). Pour equal amounts of the syrup and rhubarb amongst the muffin tray. Press a couple pieces of mandarin into the caramel in each muffin hole.

Beat the eggs, icing sugar and vanilla essense in a small bowl with electric beaters until the mixture is frothy. Fold in the melted butter. Sift the flour over the top and stir (the mixture will be soft). Spoon gently over the fruit, being careful not to dislodge it. (About a tablespoon of mixture for each muffin)

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until set on top. Run a knife around the side of the cakes and turn out very carefully onto a chopping board or plate. Be sure to do this straight away, otherwise the caramel will cook and stick to the tin. Serve warm.

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  1. Mmm caramel... this looks like a perfect tea cakes!

  2. Oh they do look very pretty & cute. Interesting combo with the rhubarb & mandarin!

  3. wow wow wow.... looks so good ! I love rhubarb but havent cooked it yet.. I will try this recipe soon. About the mandarin pieces, we don't need to peel the skin first?

  4. I don't know why you're not 100% satisfied with them, they look perfectly luscious and completely scoffable! :P

  5. Yum!!! What a great combination. I just made rhubarb and apple jam and it was great! I also found the rhubarb disintegrated quite fast.

  6. Yum, these would be perfect with a scoop of ice cream. And they don't look mushy at all!

  7. Wow, love your flavour combo. Rhubarb always seems to get paired with strawberries so it's nice seeing it being used with other fruit:-)

  8. Trisha - They are lovely little tea cakes actually! I think I might make one big one next time I have visitors :)

    Betty - Thanks! I've wanted to try that combo ever since having it at Becasse

    Bean Sprout's Cafe - Aw thank you! It's lovely but it falls apart so quickly! You mean the transparent membrane on each segment? nah that helps it keep its shape while its baking but it doesn't get in the way once the cakes are done.

    Lorraine - haha thanks! I think I would have liked them to be a bit more caramelised and with a higher cake to syrup ratio that's all!

    Anita - Thank you! Yeahh your jam looked so good! It does fall apart really quickly

    Belle - Ooh definitely, they recommended serving the original cake with whipped cream but I think icecream would be even better!

    Marc - Thank you so much! I agree, different combinations are always a good thing, I think mandarins actually compliment the rhubarb really well :)

  9. awww they looks so pretty. I could imagine these warm with some cream drizzled ontop. YUM!


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