Rhubarb Cake


1 1/4 lb (600 g) rhubarb stalks (net weight)
12 oz (350 g) sugar
generous pinch cinnamon
5 oz (150 g) butter
3 eggs
8 oz (220 g) plain flour
1 tsp (1 1/2 tsp) baking powder
4 tbsp milk
1 lemon


1. The day before you plan to make this cake, trim and rinse the rhubarb, running a potato peeler over the surface to take off the outermost layer unless it is very young and tender.

2. Any thick stalks should be cut lengthwise in half, so that all the pieces are of an even thickness. Cut them into 1 1/2 in (3 1/2 cm) sections and place in layers in a large non-metallic bowl (plastic or glass are ideal).

3. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle a little on to each layer, reserving most of it for sprinkling over the top layer.

4. Leave to stand in a cool place overnight. When it is time to make the cake, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) mark 5.

5. Work the butter, softened at room temperature, with 5 oz (150 g) of the sugar; beat until pale and fluffy; beat in the eggs one at a time.

6. Sift in the flour with the baking powder and a pinch of salt; stir in well, adding the milk and the juice and finely grated rind of the lemon.

7. Grease a 9-10 in (24 cm) flan dish or fairly shallow spring-release cake tin with butter; drain off all the liquid from the rhubarb and chop 7 oz (200 g) of the pieces finely; fold into the cake mixture and turn into the flan dish or cake tin; smooth the surface level with a palette knife. Cover with the remaining pieces of rhubarb, arranging these neatly side by side in concentric circles, working from the outer edge inwards.

8. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes; leave to settle and cool slightly before taking it out of the cake tin (if baked in a ceramic flan dish you will not need to take it out).

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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