Rapadura sugar, the best cake ever & a KitchenAid

So me winning a KitchenAid is old news, but what is new is the pure pleasure using the machine at home is. I’m getting out all my “shelved” recipes that require lots of aeration and creaming etc etc and lining them up ready to bake. If you are thinking about buying a KitchenAid or other equipment of any description I highly recommend Kitchenware Direct, see their website for their range.

I’m really interested in the history of pastry and the derivations that different cultures and nationalities have on a particular baked good. This cake is a Rhubarb and Strawberry Buckle (courtesy of Gourmet Traveller, with some minor adjustments), so what is a buckle? The buckle is an American derivation of the British “cobbler”. Apparently the British American settlers being unable to make their traditional suet puddings would stew fruits and layer with a scone/biscuit, fitted together in a fashion that resembled a cobbled street, hence the name “cobbler”. In the States variations of the “cobbler” include this the “buckle” as well as the “grunt”, “slump” and “sonker” which all sound incredibly appetising (I write with tongue in cheek).

The hero of this cake is the rapadura sugar, an ingredient I sought out for the first time to make this cake and one that has quite simply changed my pastry making world. I wouldn’t even attempt to substitute it, I got rapadura sugar at Organic Wholefoods, they are in both Fitzroy and Brunswick and offer online home delivery (check their website for details).

What is rapadura sugar? It comes from Latin America and is basically dried sugar cane juice. It contains all the molasses that is normally extracted and it has an incredible crumble like texture with a taste that is rich and thick but not sickly sweet. In the “Epicure”  section of The Age(28th June 2011) , pastry chef Pierre Roelofs says he would not actually cook with it but use it on a dessert plate for it’s texture and sweetness, which is exactly what it does in this cake. Although also used as one of the sugars it adds the crumble/crunch on top of the cake.

So what makes me so excited about this cake? Not only is the flavour incredible, I mean rhubarb and strawberries work so well together, but it’s the layers that occur and the difference in texture all due to the rapadura. The bottom is dense and rich and well “cakey”, the middle is the fruit component it’s very soft and slightly tart. The top is crumbly due to the rapadura sugar and has crunch from the addition of nuts. The recipe called for hazelnut meal and hazelnuts for the topping but I substituted them for almonds, you could use hazelnuts if you wanted to.

The other thing that made this cake such a triumphant was my new KitchenAid!

Rhubarb and Strawberry Buckle


250gm rhubarb (coarsely chopped)

250gm strawberries (coarsely chopped)

110gm castor sugar

110gm rapadura sugar

160gm softened butter

2 eggs

220gm plain flour

40gm almond or hazelnut meal (I used almond meal)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1tsp cinnamon (I used dutch cinnamon)

1/2 tsp all spice

165ml buttermilk

Creme Fraiche to serve, I also think a nice vanilla creme anglaise would go well with this.


80gm rapadura sugar

40gm plain flour

40gm coarsely chopped almonds or hazelnuts (use the same nuts that you are using in the sable batter)

20gm butter, melted


Preheat oven to 170C. For topping, combine ingredients in a bowl, then freeze until required (this stops the topping melting into the cake when it is baked).

Combine rhubarb and strawberries in a bowl with tbsp of each sugar and set aside.

Beat butter and remaining sugars until light and fluffy (4-5mins), add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in  dry ingredients then buttermilk. Stir in one-third of the rhubarb mixture, spoon into a 24cm-diameter cake tin buttered and lined on the base with baking paper. Scatter over remaining rhubarb mixture and hazelnut topping, bake until a skewer inserted comes out clean (1/1/4 to 1 1/2 hours). Cool in tin for 30mins, then on a wire rack to room temperature.

Serve with creme fraiche or creme anglaise or some homemade icecream.


  • Seek out rapadura sugar, it is the key to this recipe
  • Ensure your eggs are not too cold before adding them to the creamed butter and sugar to avoid the mixture splitting
  • Use the lowest setting on your KitchenAid or mixer to fold in dry ingredients (ok, this is probably obvious, but thought I’d mention it anyway!)

About dblake73

I like to bake. I am a Business Analyst that spent time studying patisserie. I choose the Stones over the Beatles and I find shopping online relaxing. I am happily married with 2 boys. I live in and love Melbourne.
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