Gingergirl: Impressing the mother-in-law is a piece of cake

Helen Keown


Helen Keown

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Welcome to all about food. Let’s have some cake…

Welcome to all about food. Let’s have some cake…

Ask gingergirl

Dear gingergirl,

My mother-in-law brings me lovely rhubarb from her garden every so often and I usually just pop it in the freezer! Do you have any recipes I could try?

Many thanks,

Eilish Feeney, Cappamore

Hello Eilish,

How lucky are you! I adore rhubarb and go through endless kilos in jam making, crumbles, cakes and even roast it with pork. Rhubarb is an excellent source of fibre, vitamin c and calcium and has cholesterol lowering properties. For you aspiring gardeners do note that rhubarb is very easy to grow needing little effort with a promise of delicious fruit (well technically a vegetable) for the months ahead.

Spice Rhubarb Cake

300g of self-raising flour

2 teaspoons of mixed spice

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

140g of butter, softened

100g of dark brown sugar

250g of golden syrup

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

2 eggs, beaten

300g of rhubarb cut into short lengths

icing sugar for dusting

Heat the oven to 180ºc. Butter and line a deep cake tin, 20cm square is perfect. Sift the flour and spices into a bowl. In a separate bowl (using an electric mixer) beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then beat in the syrup. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in 200ml of boiling water and gradually pour into the mixture. Lightly mix in the flour then add the eggs and mix briefly before adding the rhubarb. Pour the cake mix into the tin and bake for 50-60 mins, until the cake feels firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn into a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar. This cake will keep for up to three days.

And finally

Poached Rhubarb

I keep a bowl of poached rhubarb in my fridge as I love it for breakfast with granola and natural yoghurt or with pancakes or French toast. Simply chop 350g of rhubarb and place in a saucepan with a ¼ pint of water and 100g of caster sugar, simmer gently until the rhubarb is tender. I also like to add a teaspoon of ground ginger or the zest of an orange and allow to cool.

Contact gingergirl


Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

Letters to ‘gingergirl’ c/o The Limerick Leader, 54 O’Connell St. Limerick.