Rhubarb cinnamon polenta cake

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February 12, 2015 by dgarnett2013

Rhubarb cinnamon polenta cake: Tender II by Nigel Slater


Makes one 20cm cake

For the filling: 

  • 500g rhubarb
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 4 tabs water


For the crust: 

  • 125g coarse polenta (NOT fine polenta)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • grated zest of a small orange
  • 150g butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tabs milk
  • 1 – 2 tabs Demerara sugar


Lightly oil or butter a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin, preferable springform.

Heat the oven to 180℃ and put a baking sheet in to get hot.

Trim the rhubarb, cut each stem into short pieces and put them in a baking dish.

Scatter over the sugar and water and bake for 30 – 40 mins, till the rhubarb is soft but still retains its shape.


Remove the pieces of fruit from the dish and put them in a colander or large sieve to drain. Reserve the rhubarb juice to serve with the cake.

Put the polenta, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and caster sugar in a food processor.

Add the grated orange zest and the butter, cut into smallish pieces, then blitz for a few seconds till you have something that resembles breadcrumbs. (Or you can do this by hand).

Break the egg into a small bowl and mix with 2 tabs of milk, then blend into the crumble mix, either in the food processor or by hand. Take care not to over mix; stop as soon as the dry ingredients and liquid have come together to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. If it isn’t a little sticky, then add a touch more milk.

Press about two-thirds of the mixture into the cake tin, pushing it a couple of centimetres up the sides with a floured spoon. Make sure there are no holes or large cracks.

Place the drained rhubarb on top, leaving a small rim around the edge.

Crumble lumps of the remaining polenta mixture over the fruit with your fingertips, and don’t worry if the rhubarb isn’t all covered. Scatter over the Demerara sugar.

Place on the hot baking sheet and bake for forty-five to fifty mins, then cool a little before attempting to remove from the tin.

Serve in slices, with the reserved rhubarb juice.

Made with rhubarb bought from Borough Market the (grey) day I first saw Nick’s new office with its view.

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