The Mammy got some early season rhubarb. It’s still really light pink and looks super sweet. My go-to with rhubarb is usually a crumble and while that is a delicious and worthwhile dessert, I wanted to do something a little different. So over to the Beeb (BBC) website to see what lovely recipes they had for me. I was hoping for something a tad exotic and really out there but the best I could manage, given my limited kitchen stock and my limited desire to go shopping, was this Rhubarb and Custard Cake. Another contender on the list was Sour Cream Rhubarb Squares. The Pork with Black Pudding and Roasted Rhubarb sounded really good, not unlike the dish I had planned for using up my beets some weeks ago – Pork with Apple, Beetroot and Toasted Hazelnut (or Almond, hadn’t decided) Stuffing. Otherwise, I considered throwing together some rhubarb crumble muffins as I love love love fruit in muffins. Except banana, that’s just upsetting.
So it was Rhubarb and Custard Cake today. Incidentally, while it was in the oven baking, I ran to the post office to send off a bag I’d sold on ebay, not realising I had a lump of cake batter on my nose from where I had licked the beaters. Oh well. When I got back home, the smell of rhubarb cooking was consolation enough.
Since starting this post I have taken a bite of this cake. Holy crap, it’s amazing. I couldn’t wait til it had cooled completely. It’s light and moist but despite that, it is quite filling – there’s a lot of sugar in there – so that second helping is not necessarily advisable!
Rhubarb and Custard Cake400g / 14 oz rhubarb, rpasted 50g / 2 oz sugar 250g / 9 oz butter, softened 150g / 5 oz custard (you can buy ready-made custard, making sure it’s pourable. I made my own with Bird’s Custard Powder) 250g / 9 oz self-raising flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 4 large eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract 250g / 9 oz golden caster sugar Icing sugar / Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
1. Roast the rhubarb. Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F. Wash and chop the ends off the stalks. Cut them into rhubarb fries. Sprinkle the 50g / 2 oz sugar over them, coating them evenly, and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cover with foil and cook for 15 mins. Remove the foil and cook for a further 5 mins. Drain the juice off straight away and allow to cool a little.
2. Reduce the oven to 180C / 350F. Grease a 23cm / 9 ” loose-bottomed/springform cake tin. Make the custard now (unless you’re using ready-made). It should be pourable. Take 3 tblsp out and keep aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat together the softened butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder and the custard until smooth.
4. Spoon about one-third of the batter into the tin and spread out to the edges. Scatter one-third of the cooked rhubarb on top. Add another one-third of batter, being careful not to disturb the rhubarb underneath as you spread it out to the edges. Scatter another one-third of the rhubarb and the remaining batter. Scatter the last bits of rhubarb over the top. Dot the remaining 3tblsp of custard on top also.
5. Place the cake tin on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 40mins until risen and golden. Then cover with foil and bake for another 15-20mins until a knife or skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Don’t worry if it isn’t done after 20mins. Lower the temperature about 5-10C and cook, with foil on, for 5 mins at a time until it is cooked throughout. Reviews on the BBC website point out that the cake seems to need a longer cooking time than the recipe states but our oven, which is generally acknowledged to be Not Very Good, did a grand job. I gave it two extra rounds of five minutes until it was cooked through.
6. Allow to cool in the tin. Dredge some icing sugar over the top.