Rhubarb and Strawberry Loaf Cake

You might consider rhubarb a typical fruity filling for a tart or crumble, but this bracingly sour plant is actually a low-carb vegetable, and contains several important nutrients — including potassium, calcium, and vitamin C. Raw, the thick fleshy stalks are inedible; acerbic and tough. However, a little kitchen alchemy and rhubarb can be tamed; the overwhelming tartness can be offset by an added sweetener, and the tough stalks can be softened into silken submission.

Stewed rhubarb is one of my favourite smells and tastes; the jolt of acidity is flattered by added sweetness, and the lively, curiously spicy flavour and structure is like no other. Along with a sweetener of choice, we can brighten and sweeten the taste further with the addition of the enhancing strawberry. This much-beloved combination is a classic for a reason — the tangy rhubarb gives the structural backbone while the strawberry provides that characteristic mouthwatering flavour and bright colour.

‘Tis the season to get involved in the rhubarb-strawberry love affair. In kitchens all over the country, rhubarb and strawberry conspire to make up quintessentially Irish summer desserts like crumbles and tarts. Not forgetting the Bird’s custard on the side. Now, I’m not discounting the deliciousness of that combination, but I’d like to offer a healthy rhubarb and strawberry-centered dessert that we can feel good about eating again and again.

This loaf cake is easy to throw together, and is lovely with extra stewed rhubarb piled on top along with thick Greek yogurt. It is grain-free, sugar-free, low-carb, high protein… It tastes really deceptively decadent and rich.

3 medium free range eggs
1 cup stewed rhubarb and strawberry (see method)
100g cottage cheese
65g coconut flour
50g ground almonds
40g erythritol
~25 drops liquid stevia (or more erythritol to taste)
10g vanilla protein powder
30g softened butter
A drop of almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
Sprinkle of sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1. Prepare rhubarb — chop off the top and tail of a couple of large stalks (maybe 6) and cut into small chunks. Put into a saucepan with ½ cup strawberries, a little water, and sweetener to taste. Simmer until you have a soft and silken compote (around 10 minutes) and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 180C, and prepare a loaf tin.
3. Add all wet ingredients to food processor/ mixer bowl, and combine.
4. In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients, and then add slowly to wet.
5. Finally, add in ¾ of the stewed fruit, and mix.
6. Pour into the loaf tin and pour the rest of the fruit on top, and swirl in lightly. Add in a few whole strawberries, and sprinkle some sea salt on top
7. Bake for approx 50 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.