Rhubarb and Custard Cake


This deliciously moist and more-ish cake, combining tart rhubarb and creamy custard, is a perfect late spring/early summer pudding, or fabulous had with coffee!




14oz/400g trimmed rhubarb, cut into little-finger-sized pieces

8oz/250g butter/margarine (soft), plus extra for greasing

8oz/250g self-raising flour

8oz/250g caster sugar for the cake, plus a further 1.5oz/50g for roasting the rhubarb

5oz/150g custard, ideally relatively thick.

½ teaspoon baking powder

4 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing sugar, for dusting, if desired.


  1. Make the custard in advance or buy ready-made (I always make about a pint then weigh out 5oz/150g; it is the cook’s prerogative to finish it off), and allow to cool. Heat oven to fan 180˚C/350˚F, and grease and line a 9inch/23cm cake tin.
  2. Put the rhubarb in a shallow dish or a baking tray, tip over 50g caster sugar, toss together, then shuffle rhubarb so it’s in a single layer. Cover with foil and roast for 15 mins. Remove foil, Give everything a little shake, and roast for 5 mins further or until tender and the juices are syrupy.
  3. When finished, strain as much of the syrup away as possible (tip: while very acidic on its own, the rhubarb-flavoured syrup I think is awesome cold with soda water, so don’t throw it away – find a use for it!)
  4. Meanwhile, mix together the butter/margarine and remaining 250g sugar, then eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla extract. Reserve 2-3 tablespoons of the custard, and mix the rest into the cake batter.
  5. Put 1/3 of the resulting mix into the cake tin, then add about 1/3 of the rhubarb pieces; then another 1/3 of the mix, more rhubarb, and then again a 3rd time, so the rhubarb is reasonably distributed through the cake in roughly 3 layers.
  6. Dot any remaining pieces of rhubarb, and the reserved custard, over the top. Don’t worry about making the top of the cake ‘flat’ – the pretty moist batter starts off baking with a mind of its own anyway!
  7. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top has started to go golden-brown, cover with foil and continue to bake for up to another 15  minutes, depending on your oven. I tend to take it out every 3-4 minutes during this time and test it (a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean). If there are areas which even after 50 minutes still seem ‘wet’, it’s 99% certainly baked through – you may have just hit a particularly thick area of custard! Dust with icing sugar if desired.

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