Rhubarb and cream cheese cake

Before we begin, an apology. The photograph accompanying this post is horrendous. Deciding to photograph dessert after a long and riotous evening in good company with good wine was perhaps not my smartest decision this week. I kept a slice back to take a picture of this morning, but on waking discovered Mr Weasel, an insomniac when there is cake in the house, had got up at 6am and eaten it. I’ll make the cake again at the weekend and take some pictures which make it look more like something you’d like to eat – in the meantime, please be assured that this is an alarmingly delicious cake.

Rhubarb is in season in the UK at the moment. Buy it now, while it’s cheap – there are many things besides fool and crumble you can do with it. This is another cake which is essentially a huge cheat; a quick cheesecake topping is pressed into and cooked with boxed cake mix, prepared so it’s very stiff to counter the gorgeously soft cheese. It takes minutes to prepare and tastes glorious.

You’ll need:

1 box American yellow cake mix
4oz melted butter
2 eggs
1 large carton full-fat cream cheese
Icing sugar (enough to fill the cream cheese carton)
5 stalks chopped rhubarb
3 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons water

Combine the butter, eggs and cake mix until you have a stiff paste, and pack it into the bottom of a springform cake tin. Use a fork to blend the icing sugar and cream cheese, and press the sweet mixture onto the top of the cake mix, working with a spatula from the centre to make the cheese layer a little thicker in the middle and thinner at the edges. Place in an oven at 180°C for around 40 minutes, or until the top is turning golden and the cake does not wobble when shaken. Leave the cake to cool. It should have a depression in the top where the cheesecake mixture was thickest – this will act as a bowl for the rhubarb.

When the cake is cool, simmer the rhubarb, caster sugar and water together until the rhubarb is tender, pink and coming apart. Spoon the rhubarb into the depression on top of the cake, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve immediately. Don’t leave any in the fridge – it’ll make your husband get up early so he can eat it in secret.

9 Replies to “Rhubarb and cream cheese cake”

  1. This seems ideal for the coeliac cake enthusiast, especially given the surprisingly good quality of gluten free cake mixes. Can you please tell me the weight or volume of a carton of cream cheese? And by ‘cream cheese’ do you mean something of Philly or Neufchatel consistency or something lighter, more in the creme fraiche line?

    Bless yer buds

  2. A UK carton of cream cheese (Philly-type) is about 8oz, so pretty much bang on a cup in American measures. Sorry – I really ought to sort out a conversion table, and it’s very easy to forget that American measurements and packaging sizes are so different!

  3. Huge success.

    This worked really well with a gluten free packet mix (Basco Yellow Cake). I don’t know what they use to flavour their mix, but it tasted subtly of butterscotch.

    I wonder, would you be willing to (or let me) share this with the coeliac world? We’re always on the prowl for good cake recipes. It’d be attributed, with a link here of course.

  4. Mudlark – that’s brilliant; I’m really glad it worked for you, and of course I don’t mind if you share it!

    The coeliac thing must be really difficult. I’ve a coeliac friend in Cambridge, and he has dreadful cravings for bread (especially when he can smell it) and cakes and so forth. I’ll have to look out for a gluten-free mix for next time he visits.

  5. Thank you. You may never know the joy you’ve brought to the coeliac taste buds of the world. Mine don’t suffer greatly. I remember wonderful bread, home made pasta and danish pastry with fondness, of course. But there are other, scarier intolerances out there, compared with which mine offers an endless banquet of flavour.

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