Rhubarb, Barley & Thyme Cake, Rhubarb Meringue Buttercream

If you could recapitulate the quintessential British Countryside in a cake, this would be it. Memories of blazing fields of golden Barley, swaying in the zephyr of late spring, waft through the crumb of this cake with the herbaceous perfume of thyme and a zing of ginger. Finished with the lightest, silkiest buttercream, singing with notes of sweet, tart rhubarb it’s just a joy.

One to be eaten sitting in the garden or park, the stubble of the grass pimpling your legs and the flies buzzing around your face. Sweet dreams were made of this.

Inspired by Eva KosmosFlores


215g Unsalted Butter, softened

400g Golden Caster Sugar

4 Large Eggs (Golden Yolks are best) rom temperature

250g Plain Wholemeal Flour

125g Barley Flour (substitute any grain flour here)

1 tbsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Ground Ginger

½ tsp Salt

1 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves, finely chopped

1 ½ tsp Almond Extract

240ml Whole Milk

Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

5 Egg Whites, room temperature

450g Unsalted Butter, softened

300g Caster Sugar

2 tbsp Rhubarb Puree


1. Preheat oven 170C. Grease, line, grease and flour 2 x 8” deep cake tins and set aside in the fridge.

2. Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile whisk the flours, baking powder, ginger, salt and thyme together in a bowl and set aside.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time to the butter, beating well between each addition. Add the almond extract and beat that in too.

4. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk. Mix until only just combined, you don’t want to overmix.

5. Distribute the batter evenly between the two tins and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out to cool completely.