Tag: rhubarb

Rhubarb and custard

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might remember my dear mother’s ventures into gardening. Last year I made a rhubarb and honey cake from one of her crops, and this year’s slotted in nicely into this cupcake series. For where would the British public be without rhubarb and custard?

Ok, let’s be honest. We’d probably be fine without rhubarb and custard. I’m not even sure people eat it that much nowadays. But it is pretty nice baked into a cupcake, they really are a great pair. Maybe we ought to resurrect it. Starting now.

Go forth and bake people of Britain (and the rest of the world too if you’re reading this).


You will need

For the cakes:

250g/8.75 oz plain flour

250g/8.75 oz caster sugar

300ml/10 fl oz water

6 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the rhubarb filling:

200g/7 oz rhubarb

6 tbsp granulated sugar

3 tbsp water

For the custard frosting/icing:

250g/8.75 oz unsalted butter

225g/8 oz packet custard (yes, I used a carton of ambrosia, so sue me)

75g/2.5 oz icing sugar

Vanilla pod/paste (extract is fine, but I wanted the flecks)

(makes 12)


Step one

Start with the cupcakes. Combine the dry ingredients and make a well in the middle.

Pour the water, oil, extract and vinegar into the centre. Using a hand whisk, stir in small circles, gradually widening the circle until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Doing it gradually prevents lumps of flour in the batter.


Step two

Use a jug to pour the batter into the cases. Bake on gas mark 4/350F/180C for 20-25 minutes.


Step three

Chop the rhubarb into small slices.


Step four

Put the rhubarb, water and sugar into a frying pan and set to a low-medium temperature. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and bring to a simmer.

The rhubarb will break down and the whole thing will start to resemble jam. Allow it to thicken a bit, about 10 minutes on the heat will do the trick.

If you want to you could sieve this into more of a rhubarb puree. I didn’t bother and they were still tasty. Just to reassure you, everything softens enough so there’s no weird stringy texture or anything.

Set aside to cool.


Step five

For the custard buttercream whisk the butter with an electric whisk until smooth, light and fluffy.

Add the custard a few tablespoons at a time, whisking in between. You can add the icing sugar and vanilla somewhere in the middle there.

This is a slight wandering from the German buttercream recipes that use custard and butter. I needed a little sweetener to take away a little from the butter flavour.


Step six

Cut a hole in the cupcake and remove the sponge bit, keeping just the top. Fill with rhubarb and replace the cake ‘lid’. Pipe on the buttercream and some sprinkles if you have them.




Take a big old bite of nostalgia.

Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb

Summer for many a gardener means plucking berries from their carefully loved and tended to allotments. Now, in recent years Ma has joined the grow-your-own trend with considerable zeal. To be quite honest this surprised us all immensely, as besides the single hardiest house plant you have ever known (surviving some very aggressive re-potting exercises), everything green that has entered the house since I can remember has wilted before our eyes. It’s a curse. There are no green fingers under this roof.

Fortunately, along with Mother’s rather optimistic plan to convert a section of the garden into a fruit and veg patch, came Ed; one of her colleagues complete with an allotment and a willingness to provide some plants he had given the best possible start in life.

Against all the odds (and I honestly cannot overstate said odds), fruit and vegetables began to grow! This year I decided to combine my love of baking and Mum’s little crop to give you a delicious rhubarb and honey cake recipe.

Don’t turn your nose up until you’ve tried it; I’m a chocolate girl through and through but even I have been back to the kitchen for a second slice of this chap.

First though, I think it’s only fair to offer a little round of applause to the grower for these beauties. Well done Mum, I wish I could say I always believed in you, A*.



You will need

For the cake

250g/9 oz Caster sugar

250g/9oz Self raising flour

200ml Buttermilk

50g/2 oz Butter

2 Large eggs

1tsp Baking powder

350g/12 oz Rhubarb

For the icing

350g/12 oz Icing sugar

150g/5 oz Softened butter

150g/5 oz Honey

50ml Buttermilk

1-2tsp Vanilla Extract


Step one

Combine the buttermilk, eggs and butter.

Don’t worry if it’s a bit ‘curdy’ at this stage, if the butter isn’t super soft that will happen, but it’s not an issue, honest!


Step two

Mix together the sugar, baking powder and flour in a separate bowl. Form a well in the middle.

Step three

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until smooth. This cake mix is a little more batter-like than your average because of the buttermilk, so if you’re used to something a bit less sloppy, don’t worry.


Step four

Chop up the rhubarb into slices approx 1cm thick. Get rid of any leaves and the weird husk type bits on the bottom if it’s home grown; I also got rid of a few stringy bits, but you don’t need to peel it.

Whether or not your rhubarb is forced (grown out of season) or main crop like Ma’s you don’t need to boil it or add any extra sugar when baking it into a cake like this. The sweetness of the honey and the rest of the sugar in the sponge off-sets the sharper rhubarb taste really well.


Step five

Grease and line two cake tins. Stir rhubarb into the batter and divide between the tins.

Bake on gas mark 4/ 180 C/ 350 F for 30-40 minutes until golden on top and it springs back when you touch the top.


Step six

Beat together the honey, softened butter, icing sugar, buttermilk and vanilla extract to make the buttercream icing.

It’s worth popping this in the fridge for about 30 mins before using.


Step seven

Once the cake has cooled completely, use a palette knife or the back of a spoon to spread half the icing onto the bottom cake. Don’t go right to the edge of the sponge, as the weight of the top cake will push it out a bit further and you don’t want it dribbling down the sides.


Step eight

Cover the top in icing too.

I’ll be honest, I had a little left over, but I kind of made the recipe up as I went along so I’m not sure how to adjust so you have the perfect amount of icing, so you’ll just have to use the rest on some ice-cream or something.


Step nine

Eat until you can’t move.