Rhubarb and Dark Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe

I made this dessert first for a Nordic Supper Club at The Good Shed in Canterbury with Cockles and it was a huge success.  Beautiful local rhubarb has just come into season and the delicate bright pink stems are just so beautiful. Layer cakes are a bit of a thing in Sweden, sponge and fruit and tons of whipped cream, so here was a perfect excuse.  I tweaked the recipe, made a vegan version of the sponge and created a coconut cream option for our Mothers Day Lunch and I can honestly say that the vegan version is better.  Here’s the recipe.

Serves 8

Orange and Polenta Sponge:

  • 3/4 cup. polenta / 120g
  • 3/4 cup. ground almonds / 90g
  • 3/4 cup. gluten-free plain flour / 140g
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup. unsweetened almond milk / 180ml
  • 1/2 cup. melted coconut oil / 120ml
  • 1/2 cup. caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup. orange juice / 60ml

Pre-heat oven to 180 centigrade

Grease and line 2 x 20cm cake tins

Mix the dry ingredients together in 1 bowl and the wet ingredients in another, then whisk to combine the two.

Pour half the mixture into each cake tin and bake for approx 15-20 minutes into a skewer comes out clean.

Rhubarb and dark chocolate layer cake

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 50g coconut oil
  • 120ml almond milk
  • 100g soft brown sugar

Break up chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl

Stir sugar and milk together in a pan over a low heat until sugar has dissolved, bring to a boil and then immediately remove from the heat.

Pour sugar/milk over chocolate/coconut oil and leave to stand for one minute.

Stir it all together until all the oil and chocolate has melted.

Use a whisk to drip the chocolate over the cooled sponges and leave to set



  • 400g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 6cm lengths
  • 170g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180 centigrade

Lay rhubarb on a baking tray, sprinkle sugar over

Put in oven for approx 10 mins, till just soft



  • 600ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod

Scrape vanilla pod into cream and whisk till it forms firm peaks


Assembling cake:

Put one layer of sponge on plate

Spoon rhubarb onto sponge and also spoon some of the syrup over the sponge

Pipe or spoon the cream on top of the rhubarb

Gently lay the top layer of sponge on top



We like to sprinkle bee pollen (not vegan!) and lingonberry powder over the cake for some honey tones and sharpness – but it is delicious without any fancy additions!







Cooking for and with artists (plus a vegan pudding recipe)

I often cook for Folkestone Fringe.  We have a kind of shared view of the joy of coming together over dinner and our ethos of sustainable, local sourcing and supporting the community we work in runs in parallel with their approach to working with artists. They have

A ‘Gateway’ dinner for Folkestone Fringe in The Urban Room in September 2017

also supported me in my ‘other life’ as an artist (although I am working hard to fuse this all together into one practice!), enabling me to create a show during last year’s Triennial about feminism and place/space (The Architecture of Anxiety). So lots in common.

Folkestone Fringe asked me to cook for a group of thirty artists and curators connected by a new trans-European artist residency programme, Magic Carpets, and brought together on the Harbour Arm on Monday after a week of working together in Folkestone. I put together a menu of modern British food (locally sourced of course) that I hope created a real sense of where they were, both in terms of geography and time/season: Smoked Haddock with fresh parsley vinaigrette and gorse flowers or miso roasted cauliflo

Max (half of Sheaf and Barley) cooking the kale

wer with flaked almonds, both on a bed of puy lentils and pearl barley with dulse infused Kale.

This was followed by a classic, the upside down pudding – but this one was made with pear and ginger and was completely vegan.  It was served with almond yoghurt or creme fraiche.

The wonderful duo Sheaf and Barley were there, these two are beautiful creatures with such a  connection to the ground, the sea and folk, to share food with them is always enriching.  To have them in the kitchen with me was an unexpected pleasure.  It’s reminded me more than ever how important the community around food is – the spaces you make to share food or to share together around food… February is turning out to be a month of thinking.

I think best whilst I’m making something and the new discovery of this meal was this recipe for a vegan upside-down pudding – definitely the kind of dessert I was happy to serve to vegans and non-vegans alike, which is what I aim for. So I thought I’d share it. The only downside is that the flavour of the rapeseed oil builds over time, so I recommend eating it the same day as you cook it (no great hardship!).  You could definitely make it as a cake, but it tastes best warmed up and served with yoghurt or creme fraiche (almond yoghurt if you don’t eat dairy).


The upside down pudding, upside down! Cooling and waiting to be flipped.


For the topping:

  • 4-5 Pears (ripe but not too mushy)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 100g Vitalite or Pure (dairy-free) marg
  • 100g muscovado (soft brown) sugar
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup or the syrup from a jar of stem ginger
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped stem ginger

For the sponge:

  • 350ml rice milk
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 110ml rapeseed oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 3 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tbsp dried ginger
  • 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 slightly heaped teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt


  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees centigrade (350 fahrenheit)
  • Grease and line a 9 inch square or round cake tin
  • Half fill a large bowl with cold water and add the lemon juice.
  • Peel and slice the pears, dropping the slices immediately into the water to avoid browning.
  • Melt the margarine in a small pan over a low heat and add the brown sugar.  Stir till dissolved, then add the syrup and pour into the cake tin – spread right across base.
  • Dry off the pear slices on some kitchen roll or a clean tea towel and lay in overlapping rows on top of the sugar/syrup mix.  Sprinkle over the stem ginger.
  • Whisk the vinegar into the rice milk and let it stand for 5 minutes
  • Meanwhile, sift the flour, corn flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the caster sugar and vanilla extract to the rice milk and whisk it till you get a bit of froth on the surface then add this to the dry ingredients (make sure you don’t leave any sugar behind).  Whisk it all together till the flour is all combined into the liquid and then pour (very carefully and slowly so as not to dislodge the pear slices!) into the cake tin.
  • Stick it in the oven for approx 35 mins (till a skewer comes out clean)
  • When it has cooled a little, flip the whole thing over using a plate or chopping board and peel the greaseproof paper off carefully.


Salsify and Cauliflower

Salsify and Cauliflower roasted with miso and wakame.

We got these beautiful seasonal goodies from Folkestone Food Assembly  where all the food is sourced locally and (where possible) is also organic. Here is the recipe.




Miso paste

Honey or Agave Syrup

Soy Sauce

Toasted Sesame Oil

Wakame – or any dried seaweed flakes


There are no quantities here, because it’s such a simple dish, you can just use as much as you need or like.

  1. Slice the cauliflower into 1cm slices (I like to keep the slices as whole as possible)
  2. Peel the salsify and drop immediately into cold water
  3. Blanch the salsify by dropping it into boiling water for 3-4 mins
  4. Lay out all the veg on baking trays
  5. Mix equal parts of the Miso, Honey/Agave, Soy and Sesame Oil together
  6. Brush this marinade over the veg and stick in all in the oven at 190ºc for 10-15 mins.  The cauliflower should still have a slight bite after cooking.
  7. To serve, just sprinkle over the wakame and you’re done!