Hearty and warming, upside-down rhubarb pudding is so simple to prepare, especially as the sponge uses an all-in-one method. You must use young, pink rhubarb at the start of the season as the older, green variety would be too tart. Forced rhubarb from Yorkshire is available in the early part of the year – January to March.
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
COOK TIME: 50-60 minutes, plus cooling
700g (1lb 9oz) pink rhubarb, sliced into 2cm (¾in) pieces (see recipe introduction)
FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE
175g (6oz) caster sugar
100g (4oz) butter, diced
4 tbsp double cream
FOR THE SPONGE
2 large eggs
100g (4oz) self-raising flour
100g (4oz) butter, softened
100g (4oz) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. You will need a 23cm (9in) round, deep cake tin with a fixed base. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
2. First make the caramel sauce. Put the sugar in a saucepan with 4 tablespoons of water and stir over a low heat until dissolved. When the mixture is completely clear, increase the heat and boil for 5-10 minutes without stirring, until the caramel is coloured. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring until you have a thick caramel. Add the cream and stir until the sauce is the consistency of thick syrup. Take care as it will splutter and bubble.
3. Allow the bubbling to subside, then pour the caramel into the base of the tin. Arrange some of the rhubarb in a neat layer on top, then scatter over the rest. Set aside to cool.
4. Meanwhile, measure all the sponge ingredients into a large bowl. Beat with an electric hand whisk until light and fluffy. Spoon on top of the rhubarb and spread out to the edges to cover the fruit. Bake for about 45-50 minutes until well risen and coming away from the sides of the tin.
5. Leave for about 5-10 minutes to settle and to allow the tin to become cool enough to handle before inverting on to a large pudding plate that can hold any extra toffee sauce. Serve warm with cream or crème fraîche.
Make this with other fruits in season, such as apricots or plums, stoned and halved and placed cut side down in the caramel so that they appear cut side up when the cake is turned out.
Can be made up to 4 hours ahead and kept covered in the fridge, ready to bake.
The cooked pudding freezes well.
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