Rhubarb and Coconut Crumble Slice

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I have one thing to say about this cake. It made me do something I have done never before. Never. Before. I had just taken the first photo, picked up a knife to cut out an artful slice. Before I knew what was happening my camera had been flung to the side, I had grabbed a plate and was eating an enormous piece right there in the morning sunshine. It was glorious. 
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The base is a buttermilk cake that bakes into a deep, golden yellow full of lemon zest and cinnamon. On top of this, fresh rhubarb is chopped up with sweet and crisp apples. This is tossed with sugar and lemon juice so that it bakes into a sweet, jammy, tart centre. What makes this cake perfect though is the coconut and brown sugar topping, that bakes into a deep brown crunchy crumble. I ate it while it was still warm and the fruit juices were just starting to set into a ruby jelly around the edges. I made it to last a few days, and I’m sure it would have tasted lovely the next morning with some tea. Unfortunately everyone that’s walked through the door has taken one look and demanded a slice, and then looked up with exactly the same look of “whaaat is this slice TALKIN ABOUT.” Eight hours later there’s hardly any left.
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I read about this delicious recipe on Smitten Kitchen, and was drawn to it because of the huge bunch of rhubarb we had. Family friends recently gave us a bag full of lemons from their tree. The zest was so fragrant I increased the amount to two teaspoons and added lemon juice to the rhubarb and apple. The coconut in the topping was a little bit of an experiment, but I’m so glad I tried it. It makes the crumble chunky and crispy, and adds a tropical flavour. If you don’t have any rhubarb, stone fruits would work well instead. Apples could be nice except the sugar would have to be reduced, otherwise it might end up too sweet.
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Rhubarb and Coconut Crumble Slice: Adapted from here

500 grams (17.5 ounces, 1 pound) rhubarb, cut into 1cm chunks

2 small apples, peeled and cut into chunks

2 tsp lemon zest and the juice of the whole lemon

150 grams (2/3 cup) sugar + 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar, separate

2 large eggs

110 grams (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter

165 grams (1 + 1/3 cups) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

100ml (1/3 cup) buttermilk 

Toss the apple, rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice with 150g of the sugar and set aside. Preheat the oven to 165C and line a 20 by 25cm pan (also works with slightly larger) with baking paper so that the edges are overhanging. Beat the sugar and butter together until fluffy and light and slowly add the eggs one at a time. Whisk the flour, baking powder and cinnamon together and stir half into the mix, than stir in half the buttermilk. Repeat and mix until just combined. Pat into the pan with a spatula and pour the fruit on top evenly. 
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Topping:

50 grams plain flour

85 grams fine desiccated coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

50 grams brown sugar

55 grams butter, melted. 

Stir all the ingredients together until lumpy and toss over the fruit. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top is golden and the cake is no longer crumby on a skewer. Allow to cool so the fruit is set before removing from the pan and cutting into slices. 

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Wholemeal Strawberry Cake with Brown Sugar

Wholemeal and Low Fat

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It’s been almost an entire month since I started this blog. The idea to start a blog actually came to me a year ago, but it took me this long to actually get there. Part of the reason it took so long was the feeling that I wasn’t ready. I’d just got the camera for my birthday, and had only really worked out how to charge it properly. I’d been baking regularly for at least two years, but I still hadn’t mastered things like a simple sponge or perfectly frosted cupcakes- something I thought was the hallmark to becoming a food blogger. I was also incredibly busy in my final year of school. The main reason it took me so long though, undoubtably, was my complete lack of computer knowledge. I have zero understanding of the simplest forms of technology. 

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For example, in starting this post it took me ten minutes to work out the sizing of the photographs. (I didn’t actually figure it out, I just kept clicking ‘new post’ until for some reason the photos took up the entire screen length again…). Over the past year I fell in love with some beautiful blogs featuring breathtaking photos and delicious looking recipes, but I just could never imagine having the technical abilities to achieve that kind of thing myself. But I decided to try anyway. 

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Since I started one month ago, I’ve learnt more things about food, photography and blogging than I did in an entire year. Every time I get a view from a new country, I feel a little thrill! Someone in Portugal is looking at my cookie recipe! It’s the best feeling. Every time I feel disappointed with my photos because they don’t look like the ones on pinterest, I remind myself that those photographers were like me at some point. I’ve got to start somewhere. 

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 This strawberry cake is a one month celebration cake. It is nutty from the whole wheat flour, sweet and jammy from the strawberries and crunchy sugar topping. The brown sugar in the cake gives a sweet caramel flavour to compliment the fruit topping. If you don’t have wholemeal or whole wheat flour, plain works fine as well. I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and decided to bake it as-is, with wholemeal flour replacing the barley flour. It’s originally a Martha Stewart recipe I’m pretty sure, so I’ve linked to that as well.

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Wholemeal Strawberry Cake: Adapted from here

Either 180g (1.5 cups) plain flour, or substitute half with wholemeal (90g or 3/4 cup)

180g (1 packed cup)brown sugar, + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar for topping

85g (1/3 cup) butter

1 large egg

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp vanilla paste

120ml (1/2 cup) milk (I used low fat and it tasted fine)

450g (1 pound, 16 ounces) strawberries, hulled, washed and cut in half

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Preheat your oven to 180C or 365F and line a 20cm or 9 inch cake pan with baking paper. Beat together the butter and brown sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat together slowly until combined. Sift in both flours and baking powder and stir just to bring the batter together. Pour into your cake pan and smooth it evenly with a spatula. Carefully place your strawberries on top of the cake in an even layer. (You may have to overlap a few to get them all in, but try your best because they shrink!) Sprinkle over the granulated sugar and bake for ten minutes. Reduce the temperature to 160C or 340F and bake for 40-50 minutes longer, until a skewer inserted comes out with a few loose crumbs on it. Dust with icing sugar. 
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Plum and Coconut Upside Down Cake

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This Saturday morning I grossly overestimated how many plums it would take to make five jars of plum jam, so instead of buying one kilo ended up buying eight! This turned out to be a very good thing, as it resulted in this coconut and lime scented upside-down plum cake. The original recipe is from Women’s Weekly and calls for frozen raspberries as the topping. (I’m not entirely sure why they have to be frozen…) I doubled the coconut in place of some flour and increased the lime juice and zest as well. 

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The result was so good! My grandpa, who claims he is not a sweet man and will very rarely indulge, ate two large slices and tried to sneak the rest of the cake home. The coconut makes the cake crumbly and the lime scents your entire house with the most delicious pina colada vibe. This cake said it would serve eight but it was demolished by four in one afternoon. 

Plum and Coconut Upside-Down Cake: (Adapted from Women’s Weekly Cakes)

160g (2/3 cup) butter, cubed

2 eggs

250g (1/4 pound or 9 ounces) plums, sliced (about 5)

50g (1/4 cup) caster sugar

juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoons)

2 tsp lime zest

150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar

125g (1 cup) self-raising flour

100g (1 1/4 cups) desiccated coconut

2 tablespoons lime juice, extra

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180° C (350 F), Grease a 20cm round cake pan and line with baking paper. Combine plum segments with the lime juice and sugar in a small bowl, and lay slices over the base of your cake pan. Beat the butter, lime zest and extra sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time slowly. Fold in sifted flours, coconut and extra lime juice and stir until just together. Spread mixture over your plums and bake for about 50 minutes, until golden brown and and risen. Invert on a serving platter once your cake is cool and eat at once! 

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