Managing Expectation Through Cake

Managing Expectation Through Cake


LL-Rhubarb-1 LL-Rhubarb-2

Managing My Expectation Through Cake
1 December 2015

I’ll be the first to admit I have a problem with managing my expectations. I build everything into the most amazing version of what it can be and when it falls short, I’m left disappointed.

This is the story of my upside-down rhubarb and strawberry cake, kind of. I imagined this cake many times over, ruby red fruit glistening atop my pale yellow butter cake. However, I discovered the rhubarb in our garden was green, not red and a mini to moderate tantrum in the dirt followed.

I caught myself being stupid. Got a grip. And baked the bloody cake. It looked amazing. Green and red. It tasted amazing too.

I’m working on this expectation thing. Instead of expecting everything from the world and thinking the world expects everything from me, I need to chill out a little, make a herbal tea and eat some green and red cake.

Chuck expectation out the door, I say. Then we can all just live in a constant state of being pleasantly surprised.

(Adapted from NYT recipe)


  • 285g/ 10oz unsalted butter, at room temperature, more to grease pans
  • 700g / 1.5lb rhubarb, rinsed and chopped stalks into thirds
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups raw sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 170˚C / 325˚F / Gas Mark.
  2. Line the bottom of a springform pan with baking paper. Butter the paper and sides of the pan.
  3. Wrap a good layer of aluminium foil under the pan, and place it on a buttered baking tray.
  4. In a bowl, mix rhubarb, corn flour and 1/2 cup raw sugar.
  5. Mix the brown sugar and 55g / 2oz butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until smooth and bubbling, about 2 minutes.
  6. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  7. Whip 225g / 8oz butter in a mixer with a paddle attachment for 2 minutes. On low speed, mix the remaining 1 cup sugar with lemon zest until the mixture is well combined. Cream together with the butter at medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy.
  8. Add the vanilla and mix well.
  9. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  10. Mix in the Greek yoghurt, then the lemon juice.
  11. At low speed, add the flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, until well combined.
  12. Pour the brown sugar mixture into the cake pan, pop in the rhubarb and its juice.
  13. Spoon in the batter so it covers the rhubarb, make the top smooth.
  14. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until cake is firm to touch and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out without any large, moist crumbs.
  15. Place the pan on a wire rack, and cool for 15 minutes.
  16. Run a knife around the cake, place a plate on top of the pan and turn it upside-down.
  17. Open the springform pan and free the cake while still warm or else it will stick.