The amount of recipes I’ve been creating by request in the past few months could almost fill another book. My mind had to come up with all sorts of sandwiches, roasts, seafood dishes, salads, and cakes, which to be honest, is one of the most satisfying things I do amongst all the fields that I’ve worked in since I started my blog. I love to write and take food photos, but there’s something very calming and, at the same time, very exciting about creating recipes. Re-thinking culinary traditions, playing with old and new combinations and various ingredients in my head until a whole dish finally comes to the table is my true passion. It’s one of the few things that never pressures me, it comes out so easily that I wouldn’t dare to call it work.
Working on so many new creations at the same time has one side effect: I have to remind myself to keep it simple – my personal kitchen mantra. I tend to go further and further, adding more and more ingredients, and forgetting that kitchen magic often lies in the little details. A small change can add a completely new quality to a dish, like to my chocolate cake – or the darkest Gâteau au Chocolat. It’s a good cake, with chocolaty depth and a moist texture. As in all of my baked treats, I prefer chocolate over cocoa powder, taste and texture is what I’m after when I want to satisfy my chocolate cravings. Back to my cake, there was no need to improve on this formula, it’s just right, but I’ve been wanting to bake a rhubarb cake for days so I just combined the two. I added so much rhubarb to my dark loaf cake that it ended up being the juiciest and fruitiest chocolate cake I ever baked – with a slightly sweet-sour note.
A short note: I let the loaf cool for just a few minutes before I cut it – I was too impatient – but I recommend letting it cool completely, otherwise it’s a little too fudgy. So be patient, let it cool, and enjoy! For my Gâteau au Chocolat, I used very dark chocolate (99%), however, for this rhubarb chocolate cake I would go for a lighter one, 55% was my chocolate of choice.
Rhubarb Chocolate Cake
trimmed rhubarb 450g / 1 pound
dark chocolate (about 55%) 150g / 5 ounces
butter 150g / 2/3 cup
organic eggs 4
a pinch of salt
plain flour 130g / 1 cup
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
ground cardamom 1/2 teaspoon
granulated sugar 180g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
For the top of the cake, cut 5 thin long pieces of rhubarb, about 25cm / 10″ long. Cut the remaining rhubarb into 2cm / 3/4″ long pieces.
Set the oven to 180°C / 360°F (preferably convection setting) and butter a 11 x 25cm / 4 1/2 x 10″ loaf pan.
In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter over low heat, whisk well, and let cool for a few minutes.
Whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff.
Combine the flour, cinnamon, and cardamom.
Mix the egg yolks and sugar until light yellow and thick, then whisk in the chocolate-butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture and mix until well combined, then gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Fold in the shorter rhubarb pieces and scrape the batter into the buttered pan. Arrange the long rhubarb pieces on top of the cake and bake for about 75 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until the cake is golden brown and firm on top. If the top of the cake gets too dark, cover it loosely with aluminium foil. Check with a skewer, it should come out almost clean. Let the cake cool completely for a couple hours before you take it out of the pan.