The second pancake workout plan

Rhubarb cake

I've done it, I've figured out how you can eat cake for every meal and stay in shape. This isn't some fad diet, it doesn't involve skim milk, portion adjustments, forgoing cream, or partially hydrophosphorylated nanoengineered seafood-derived fat substitutes (or the previously unheard of medical conditions they precipitate). It's not complicated at all, and in fact I feel somewhat silly that it's taken me this long to work it out.

Are you ready? Okay, here is it:

Make the cake yourself.

"But Tim", you say. "I use my Kitchen Aid four times a day and I weigh 900 pounds". There's your mistake — I'm talking about really making the cake yourself — by hand. No food processors, no electric whisks, no immersion blenders, just two arms, a tall glass of water, and a light breakfast. Have you ever tried creaming sugar and butter by hand? It's hard work. I learned this for myself when I tried to make Amy's Rhubarb Cake using little more than a fork and a large square bowl. That's the other thing: use square mixing bowls, and you're guaranteed to burn off a brownie's worth of calories in frustration alone. Trust me, this is going to huge*.

You can probably tell that I'm not much of a pastry cook. I like the idea of sweets, and done well it can be a beautiful thing, but the truth is I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I do however have a girlfriend who is soon to return from a year overseas, and every intention of spoiling her.

It's rhubarb season here in Australia, and combined with my love of a a bit of sour with my sugar this seemed a natural place to start. Using what I had I replaced 'soured milk' with buttermilk and cooked it in a cake tin, adjusting times accordingly. Despite my modifications it turned out terrifically — a sugary crunch from the top, a moist banana-cake-like crumb, and bursts of tangy rhubarb flavour in every bite.

Rhubarb cake - slice

Rhubarb cake

Adapted from In This Instance by way of Amy.


  • 1.5 cups of brown sugar
  • 110g (1 stick) of softened unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of chopped rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat your oven to 175ºC/350ºF. Cream the butter, brown sugar, and egg, then mix in the milk & vanilla.
2. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda and mix until there aren't any big lumps left. Finally stir in the chopped rhubarb.
3. Pour in to a greased 22 cm (9 inch) cake tin. Mix together the extra sugar and cinnamon, and scatter evenly over the cake batter. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary. May cause weight gain.

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