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Crumbling cakes and a strange experience

May 5th, 2007

When a friend asks you a favor, you can’t really say no, can you? Obviously within reason, I’m always happy to lend a hand. But here’s how Coco and I initially thought about it, when Sebastian had asked us to take part in a little TV documentary he was about to do: Nada. Nooooo! I mean, NO WAY! On the other hand Sebastian is a very dear and helpful friend who showed persistence and then, what bad could really happen?

A strange experience

Where to start? First off, I will never again judge anyone cooking on TV. A simple action like peeling a garlic clove can turn into a never ending story. The script says, remove that little sprout inside the clove for a close up shot – but none of the cloves have any, your smile and enthusiasm slowly fades after the tenth shot, the room is now infused with a intense nice garlicky smell. Multi-tasking is key, having a backround in juggling is even better. Some takes not only required precise and reproducible action, but remembering the correct text (alright we’re not talking Shakespeare here but still), checking your moves in real-time on the monitor to make sure the arrangement on the plate looks good and you do, too, oh AND keep that smiling face. Whew! My frozen smile every so often was replaced by side-bursting laughter, triggered by the producer who gave me THE look (giving me the V-sign to his eyes, meaning: HEY, LOOK AT ME, not in the camera!). The whole thing took much longer than originally planned (surprise, surprise) and ended with a little feast of the left overs in our messy kitchen. Mission accomplished and lesson learned. TV? No thank you, I think I’ll pass next time 😉

Rhubarb Cake Crumble

As soon as we got a handle on the kitchen mess, my kitchen spirit asked for a non-elaborate, quick summer cake – we enjoyed the warmest April in the last 100 years (and finally got some long-awaited rain this morning). Rhubarb is currently on everyone’s mind, so I quickly settled for an easy to make crumble cake, however, one with an extra dose of calories: including a heavy cream and egg frosting. Pouring it over the half-baked cake gives it extra creaminess and rewards the baker with a juicy fruit cake, one that eventually will be dense enough to be eaten right out of your hand.

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Preheat the oven to 180 °C (~355 °F). Thoroughly butter the cake form (~26cm in diameter) or use parchment paper to cover the bottom.

In a large bowl beat the butter together with the egg, sugar and salt until the batter is well combined and a bit fluffy. Mix flour and baking powder, add to the bowl and rub the mixture with your fingers until smaller and larger crumbs develop. (Beating the batter well in the beginning helps the crumbs to feel airy and light and come together easily.)

Now put one half, up to two thirds of the crumbs in the baking form and gently press down to form the bottom as well as a rim. Depending on what fruits you’d like to use for your cake and how juicy they are, cover the bottom with a thin layer of breadcrumbs to prevent the fruits from completely soaking the cake bottom, then evenly spread the prepared fruits. Finally cover them loosely with the remaining crumbs. Bake for about 25 minutes at medium level.

Meanwhile prepare the cream frosting: Combine eggs, sugar, scraped out vanilla seeds and heavy cream in a mixing bowl and beat well. After half the baking time (the 25 minutes mentioned above), remove the cake and slowly pour the frosting over it, let it soak deep into the cake. Make sure to spread it evenly and try to not let it get beyond the rim (it may leave dark, burned spots, but doesn’t really influence the later taste). Bake for another 25 minutes or until the top turns golden brown and the frosting has set. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before releasing from the baking form to further cool down. Serve with some whipped cream if desired and enjoy.

Rhubarb Cake Crumble

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Recipe source: a mix of different recipes

Required time: prep. 20 min., baking ~50 min.



200g soft butter

175g sugar

1 pinch of salt

1 large egg

400g all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp breadcrumbs

500-600g rhubarb, washed, peeled (if necessary) and sliced (other fruits like cherries, apricots etc. work well, too)


for the frosting:

2 large eggs

75g sugar

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

100ml heavy cream

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