Pink peppercorns are often used in savoury cooking, but they can work really well with sweet flavours too. This recipe combines them with tart, tangy rhubarb and a creamy cake batter to create an unusual but delicious sponge. This cake is great served cold with a cup of tea or warm with cream or custard.
- For the topping:
- 50g butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 350g rhubarb, cut into 2-3cm lengths
- For the cake:
- 200g plain flour
- 1tbsp ground ginger
- 1tsp baking powder
- ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Pinch of salt
- 60g caster sugar
- 1tsp finely ground pink peppercorns
- 200ml buttermilk
- 2 medium eggs
- 75ml sunflower oil
- You will need:
- 23cm (9in) round spring-clip tin, lined with baking parchment
Set the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
For the topping: Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the sugar and 2tbsp water. Stir until the sugar has melted, then simmer gently until it starts to turn a pale golden colour. Add the rhubarb and stir well to coat. Remove pan from the heat. Spoon the rhubarb in a single layer over the base of the cake tin.
To make the cake: Sift the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl. Stir in the sugar and peppercorns. Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and oil and stir into the flour mixture. Pour over the rhubarb.
Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 35-45 mins, or until it springs back when pressed in the centre. Remove cake from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for about 10 mins. To serve, invert the cake on to a serving plate, remove tin and peel away lining paper. Serve warm with cream or custard.
Pink peppercorns aren't actually peppercorns at all! They're a type of dried berry, but get their name from their distinct peppery taste.