From Field to Fork: Vegan Rhubarb Crumble Cake with Custard Icing

When I first started working at The Hornbeam Cafe in Walthamstow, I was amazed by the quality of the produce we received from OrganicLea. You’ll find their growing site in deepest Chingford from which they supply their lovely produce to several restaurants – as well as running a veg box scheme within London. What amazes me is not only does this food have an insanely low carbon footprint, it is also fully organic – and grown in London of all places! As a vegan, nothing pleases me more than knowing I’m using proper organic seasonal produce which, by just hopping on a bus, I can see growing with my own two eyes.

I want to shout out to the whole world about OrganicLea so what better way than to promote it through a recipe I have developed using their produce?

What to Choose?

With so much to choose from, my first dilemma was picking one item of their heavenly fruit or veg to work with. I soon solved this conundrum by looking at what the customers were loving and realising that my rhubarb crumble cake never lasts long on the shelves.

When the season of spring arrives my mood lifts and so does my appetite for light fruity desserts. It’s all too easy to just bung rhubarb into a crumble and serve it with lashings of hot custard – but that’s not my idea of spring!

Have you heard of the magical creation that is the ‘crumble cake’? Well, until very recently, neither had I. But, boy, does it fit perfectly with the change in season. A light fluffy sponge, a crispy crumble topping, little bite-size pieces of fresh, fragrant rhubarb smothered in the creaminess of a custard icing. Come on, what more could you want?! You can thank me later…

Now, with the recipe decided on, it was time for me to visit the OrganicLea growing site.

Off to Chingford!

The journey is much quicker than you’d expect. I thought I would be heading out into deep countryside but, instead, I found myself in a lightly wooded suburb in London’s Zone 5. Hidden away within a housing estate, I soon came across an area of greenery which welcomed me into OrganicLea.

The entrance to the site

I was astonished. It was nothing like I’d expected. An organic grower’s haven secretly tucked away in a big, bustling city.

Some of the growers planting seeds
A place for growers to eat their lunch amongst the plants

It was incredible walking around the site and seeing the great variety of vegetables and fruits they had . Best of all, after spending a few weeks developing the recipe for this post, I loved seeing the rhubarb I wanted to use growing in the fields. It made me incredibly proud to be using OrganicLea’s produce in the recipe I have developed below for you guys!

From the above plant to this…


Recipe: Vegan Rhubarb Crumble Cake with Custard Icing

Crumble Cake
5tbsp Linseed
266g/15tbsp Hot water
200g Sugar (I use raw cane sugar)
250g Vegan margarine
300g Plain flour – plus 80g for the crumble top
2tsp Baking powder
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
300g Rhubarb (finely sliced)
1tsp Sugar (for dusting on top)
Custard Icing
200g Icing sugar
100g Vegan margarine
3tbsp Vegan custard powder (many supermarkets own brand are accidentally vegan, plus a few of the big brands)

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (160 fan)
2. Grease and line 2 shallow 20cm round cake tins
3. Start by mixing the hot water with the linseed and then blend using either a stick blender or a stand alone blender until it turns globby and the seeds are broken down
4. Cream together the sugar and the margarine
5. Beat in the linseed mix until fully incorporated
6. Sift in the 300g flour and baking powder and then fold into the mix
7. Place 90g of the mix into a separate bowl and add in the 80g of plain flour along with the cinnamon and nutmeg
8. Using the back of a knife mix it together into a crumble type texture
9. Fold the rhubarb into the rest of the cake mix and then place evenly into the two cake tins
10. Scatter the crumble mix over the top of one of the cake mixes and then sprinkle over the 1sp of sugar
11. Place the cake tins in the oven for 40 minutes (check if this inside is cooked using a skewer)
12. Take the cakes out of the oven and allow them to cool completely
13. Whilst waiting for the cakes to cool, start making the custard icing
14. Place all the icing ingredients in a bowl and beat together until smooth
15. Spread the icing on top of the cake half without the crumble and then carefully place the crumble cake half on top to make a sandwich
16. And eat!

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