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Rhubarb macaroon layer cake dunowen house
Dunowen House

Rhubarb macaroon layer cake

This seasonal cake from Dunowen House is perfect at this time of year.

Serving: 6-8
Time: 1hr +
Difficulty: Medium


For the cake:

  • 200g softened butter 
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 large room-temperature free-range eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 150ml natural or Greek yoghurt
  • 100g ground almonds

For the macaroon layer:

  • The 3 eggs whites from above
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartare or 1teaspoon lemon juice
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1/2teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 25g chopped blanched almonds

For the filling:

  • 400g rhubarb
  • Zest and juice of one orange
  • 50g caster sugar, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Cointreau, optional
  • 280ml double cream
  • Icing sugar to dust


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/fan 170ºC or gas mark 4.Butter two 23cm round sandwich tins and line with baking parchment
  2. Make the filling first by slicing the rhubarb, putting in a layer in an ovenproof dish and scattering over the orange zest, juice, sugar and two tablespoons of water. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the oven for approximately 20-25 mins. Check halfway through to make sure that the rhubarb doesn't get too soft. When ready, take out, remove the foil and allow to cool.
  3. For the cake, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time then add the vanilla extract. Fold in half the flour, then the yoghurt. Fold in the remaining flour, the ground almonds and milk. Divide the batter between the two prepared tins and bake for 20 mins.
  5. While the cake is in the oven, make the macaroon layer by beating the egg whites and cream of tartare or lemon juice together in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Whisk in half the sugar until meringue is shiny and firm, then fold in the vanilla extract, remaining sugar and ground almonds.
  6. Take the cakes out of the oven and very carefully spread the macaroon layer over the top of the sponges. Sprinkle the chopped nuts on top of one half then return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on it as you don’t want it too brown.
  7. When cooked, leave the cakes in the tins to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool fully.
  8. When the rhubarb has cooled, place in a sieve over a bowl to drain out the syrup. Put two tablespoons of the syrup in a bowl with the Cointreau and place in the fridge to keep cold.
  9. To serve, whisk the cream and syrup together in a bowl until it reaches soft peaks. Fold in half the rhubarb and check for sweetness.
  10. Sandwich the cakes together with the cream mixture first, then a layer of the remaining rhubarb, topping off with the cake layer that has the chopped nuts on top. Dust all over with icing sugar.
  11. Serve slices with a little jug of any remaining syrup on the side.

Recipe courtesy of Kela Hodgins of Dunowen House, Co. Cork.

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