Rhubarb & Custard Cake

Rhubarb & Custard Cake


With forced rhubarb back on our shelves, why not treat yourself with this delightful dessert which celebrates the joy of Spring with its vibrant pink stalks and tangy flavour. This harmonious blend of tart rhubarb and creamy custard, captures the freshness and abundance of this beloved springtime ingredient, with each mouthful transporting you to a quintessentially English garden where the vibrant colours and sweet aromas of rhubarb reign supreme.


Pastry Cream

  • 170 ml milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 35 g white sugar
  • 10 g cornflour or 30g of plain flour
  • Pinch of coarse sea salt


  • 175 g softened butter
  • 200 g white sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 5 tsp baking powder


  • 400 g rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 30 g butter, melted
  • 50 g white sugar
  • 1 cardamom pod seeds


  1. Preheat your oven to 150°C and grease an 18cm cake tin.
  2. Prepare the pastry cream by heating the milk and vanilla extract in a saucepan over medium heat until it reaches a gentle simmer. Do not let it boil. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, white sugar, cornflour and salt until well combined.
  3. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Return the mixture to a clean saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens to a more viscous custard. Remove from heat and set aside to cool, with clingfilm covering it to stop a skin from forming.
  4. Prepare the rhubarb by washing it, slicing it lengthways, either cutting it into diagonal diamond pieces to form a geometric pattern later on, or roughly chopping it ready to scatter on top on for a more informal look.
  5. Next, heat the butter and sugar until dissolved with the cardamom seeds, then add the rhubarb. Stir and cook for two minutes, then set aside to cool down.
Rhubarb and Custard Cake Recipe

Method (continued)

6. In a mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. This should take 5-6 minutes. Gradually add the vanilla extract and beaten eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. It is likely to curdle but it will come together at a later stage, so don’t panic!

7. In a separate bowl, sift together the plain flour, salt and baking powder. Gradually add this to the butter-sugar-egg mixture, folding until just combined.

8. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan, spreading it evenly.

9. Next, spread the pastry cream over the entire cake batter, getting it right to the edges.

10. Arrange the rhubarb pieces on top of the pastry cream.

11. Bake for 1 hour or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

12. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for a few minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool for another ten minutes.

13. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with a handful of flaked almonds, a dusting of icing sugar and scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Rhubarb and Custard Cake Recipe

Top Tip

This cake is best enjoyed on the day it is made, but any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.