I love the forced rhubarb we get at this time of year and am buying it whenever I see it, which isn't as often as I like. Same with the blood oranges, a little bit easier to find, but prone to going off really quickly thanks to their thin skins, so sometimes I have to use my stash in a hurry.
I had both rhubarb and blood oranges at the weekend and with Valentine's day in the offing, it seemed like a really good time to continue the quest to discover a really good rhubarb cake recipe. This one is as close as I've got, with an edge on a streusel cake I really like. The juice from plain oranges would be fine, but the blood oranges are worth the effort if you can find them for the extra zing they have. I particularly like this cake for dessert, and definitely think it's better the day after it's made - the orange flavours really come out then.
Lightly blitz 100g of whole hazelnuts - you want some quite large chunks of nut left for texture, and chop 350 - 400g of rhubarb into small chunks about a cm wide - set the rhubarb aside in a bowl with a tablespoon of sugar. Line a loose-bottomed 21cm cake tin, and preheat your oven to gas 5, fan 165c, conventional oven 180C. You then need 3 ounces of white sugar and 3 ounces of golden sugar, beaten with 6 ounces of butter until light and fluffy. Add 3 eggs a bit at a time along with 6 ounces of self-raising flour, and the juice of 1 blood orange.
Put the batter in the prepared tin, and top with the rhubarb - it'll look like a lot, but this is quite a damp cake. Make sure there isn't too much piled up in the middle. Mix 2 tablespoons of demerara sugar (or granulated if easier) in with the nuts and distribute this evenly over the top of the cake too. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, adjusting your oven as necessary (mine runs hot so I tend to turn it down towards the end of the bake time).
When the cake looks almost ready juice 2 more oranges and make a syrup with a couple of dessert spoons of sugar. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven (and a skewer comes clean out of the cake) pour the syrup over it, again making sure it's well distributed. Allow to cool completely, remove from the tin, and serve with whipped cream.