Recipe: Rhubarb and Apple Cake

Coming together for a sun dappled, mid-week home-cooked organic luncheon with old friends who also happen to be collaborators of Rhubarb has certainly been one of the highlights of recent weeks. It's a tonic that I missed during the lockdown days. In fact I'm not sure I even did this much in my pre-pandemic life. Why the heck not? It was glorious and uplifting.

Thanks to our special guest recipe blogger Gabby of @gabbyandthefourseasons and Rhubarb photographer Emma Byrnes we have put together three seasonal spring recipes that we will roll out over the coming weeks. The first cab off the rank is the Rhubarb and Hazelnut Cake because rules are made made to be broken and so we are going to serve dessert first.


"Hi Lovely People –

Spring has sprung! I hope this lovely season of new growth and new beginnings finds you all getting outside a bit more and enjoying these glorious milder Melbourne days. We have prepared three super spring recipes for you that are all very quick and easy, and will give you an excuse to gather your family and friends around the table.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for my Spring Chicken Bake + Pumpkin and Cauliflower Salad which pair beautifully. But for now I'll be focussing on a little something sweet to finish - a lovely cake, of course. This Rhubarb and Apple Cake is another adapted from Belinda Jeffery – her Rhubarb and Cream Cake. Using cream in the mixture means no butter to cream, melt etc. No mixer. So quick and easy. I have twiddled and tweaked Belinda’s recipe – adding apple, toasted hazlenuts, spices and alcohol (your choice) but as she acknowledges herself, it’s what all of us cooks do to make a recipe our own, and then pass it along, right? Any apples are great for this recipe – whatever is in season – Granny Smiths, Red Delicious, whatever is your favourite. If no apples, pears are also fine, or any other fruit in season. If rhubarb is not to hand, throw in a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries instead for a bit of tartness. Thank you so much, Belinda for allowing us once again, to adapt one of your recipes (check out her Instagram here

We hope you enjoy these recipes: send us a pic and do let us know if you give them a try.

Take care e Buon Appetito,

Gabby x"



Makes: 1 large cake

Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour 45 minutes



  • 1 bunch rhubarb, leaves removed, stalks washed and chopped into 1cm pieces (or 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries)
  • 4 apples, cored but not peeled, chopped into small dice (or pears or other fruit in season)
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, apple brandy or Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) - optional
  • ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups (225g) self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 1 cup (250ml) pure cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup toasted organic hazlenuts, skins on (see below for how to do this)
  • Warmed apricot jam, to brush over cake once baked
  • Vanilla bean ice cream or (more) cream, to serve


  1. Toast the hazelnuts: line a cake or quiche tin with baking paper. Place the hazelnuts in the pan and bake for about 10-15 minutes in a 160 degree fan-forced oven (180 degrees conventional) until the skins darken and begin to shrink. Whilst they’re still hot, tip the hazlenuts onto a clean, dry tea towel. Place another tea towel on top and rub vigorously til the little dark brown skins slip off. Carefully remove the hazelnuts, chop roughly and set aside for topping the cake later.

  2. Next, prepare the fruit: tip the chopped fruit into a large bowl. Add the alcohol (if using), spices, lemon zest and juice. Mix well and set aside.
  3. In another bowl: gently whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In (another, but the last) bowl: whisk the egg to break it up, and add in vanilla and caster sugar. Whisk well til creamy, then add in the cream and give it another good whisk.

  5. Now, bring it all together: Tip the egg mixture into the fruit mixture, mix through gently, and then finally tip in the flour mix. Mix together well, but don’t overdo it: just make sure all ingredients are distributed evenly. 
  6. Tip the cake mix into a lined, greased loose bottomed 23 cm cake tin and smooth the top flat with a spatula. 
  7. You can either sprinkle the toasted hazelnuts on now before the cake goes into the oven, or add them later, after baking (ours in the photographs were added later.)
  8. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 175 degrees Celsius (fan, or 155 degrees C, conventional) but keep checking it’s not burning. Place foil loosely over the top if cake is becoming too brown but not yet cooked through. 

  9. When cooked, remove cake from oven and allow to cool (a bit, if you can wait: it’s worth it, because the cake will be very tender and likely to fall apart if you cut it straight from the oven) before removing from pan and serving warm with cream or ice cream. 

Photographs by Emma Byrnes.

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