rhubarb, strawberry & mandarin loaf

And the loaves just keep coming... In fact I frequently dream of a bakery specialising entirely in loaves, warm steamy ones pulled from the oven packed with fresh seasonal goodness. I always awake from my dream just short of giving this luscious loaf shop a name. Must be my subconscious trying to pull my head in! And yet that image of neat row upon row warm loaf tins lingers on in my mind, all fragrant and singing of Spring. 

I often bake this delightful rhubarb & strawberry loaf, especially when strawberries are only $3 for 3 x 250gram punnets today! At these prices the temptation to make strawberry loaf and a big batch of fresh jam is all too great and entirely satisfying.

This recipe is adapted from The Tincat Cafe in Adelaide, as featured in Delicious Magazine some years back. I hope you'll enjoy this one MFK friends.  And if you've got a moment, please share with us your own favourite Springtime treat in the comments below.

Ingredients  - 100 grams unsalted butter, softened ❤ 1 cup (220 grams) caster sugar ❤ 3 eggs ❤ ⅔ cup (190 grams) greek style yoghurt ❤ 1 ⅔ cups (250 grams) plain flour ❤ 2 teaspoons baking powder ❤ pinch of cinnamon ❤ 8 fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thinly ❤ 3 stems fresh rhubarb, diced ❤ finely grated zest of 2 mandarins (or 1 orange) ❤ 2 tablespoons raw sugar, sprinkled on top

❤ mint, mandarin pieces or extra strawberries to garnish (optional) ❤ cinnamon yoghurt (optional, to serve) 1 cup greek yoghurt with cinnamon added and stirred through

Method - Preheat oven to moderately slow 160°C (325°F). Grease and line a large loaf tin with baking paper.

Wash, dry, hull and slice the strawberries thinly. Wash rhubarb well, slice down the centre and remove any stringyness if necessary, before slicing and dicing thinly.

Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl with handheld electric beaters until pale and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, and then beat in yoghurt.  Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and pinch of salt over the top of butter mixture.  Fold dry ingredients into butter mix using a large metal spoon. Add zest, sliced strawberries and diced rhubarb into the mixture and fold through gently with same large spoon.

Pour mixture into your prepared loaf tin and smooth over the top gently. Sprinkle raw sugar all over loaf top and bake for 60-70 minutes or until cooked in the centre when tested with a skewer.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before lifting out using the overhanging baking paper. I ran out of baking paper today so as you can see my loaf above is just baked in a well greased and floured tin.  Allow to cool completely. Serve thick cut with mandarin or strawberry slices on the side, with a good dollop of cinnamon yoghurt on top. Sprinkle with a little icing sugar and garnish with fresh mint if desired.

Of course you can add some chopped pecans or other nuts to the mix if you’d like. If you’re craving a real crunchy crumbly top rather than simple baked sugar, then top your loaf as follows; mix 1 tablespoon raw sugar, pinch of cinnamon, 3 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle topping all over loaf and add ¼ cup of chopped pecans or walnuts last. Bake as above. 

See you again later in the week to officially welcome in Spring. x