rhubarb custard crumble cake

A few weeks ago, I bought a bunch of rhubarb to make a Danish rhubarb marzipan cake. However whilst hunting on the internet, I fell down a rabbit hole
 of rhubarb custard crumble cake recipes and before I knew it, I was making custard, crumble and parcooking rhubarb and the marizipan cake idea went straight out of window.

I took the idea and ran with it. I used my blackberry and apple crumble cake recipe as the base and winged it from there. I don't like the texture of rhubarb when it's baked on top of a cake, so I decided to parcook the rhubarb topping first. I was delighted to find it could be done in a few minutes in the microwave rather than 30-40 minutes in the oven. Such a timesaver and I know I'll be using the technique again very soon.

It's a bit of a process making this cake, but the crumble, custard and the rhubarb can all be made ahead of time and refrigerated. I put the cake together, baked it and kept my fingers crossed that all the different elements would work together.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Rhubarb Custard Crumble Cake
1½ tbs custard powder
1½ tbs caster sugar
2/3 cup (170ml) milk
1½ tsp vanilla essence

150g rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 5cm and 10cm pieces, to fit the tin
20g caster sugar
1/2 tsp grated orange rind
2 tsp water or orange juice


50g unsalted butter
50g plain flour
a pinch of salt
50g raw sugar
2 heaped tbsp (20g) rolled oats
pinch of cinnamon

100g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g caster sugar
1 tsp grated orange rind
2 eggs, room temperature
75g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
50g almond meal
½ cup (60g) diced rhubarb

Combine custard powder and sugar in a small saucepan; gradually stir in the milk. Stir over heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat; stir in the butter and the vanilla essence. Press plastic wrap over the surface; cool. Just before using, stir the custard to loosen.

Toss the ingredients together in a bowl then place the rhubarb pieces in a single layer in a microwave safe container. Cover and microwave on medium high for 2-3 minutes. The rhubarb should be partially cooked and should still hold its shape. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your rhubarb. Cool completely before using.

Rub the butter, flour and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl then stir in the sugar, oats and cinnamon to make large crumbs. Place in the fridge until needed.

Preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Grease and line the base and sides of a deep 17 cm round springform tin with baking paper. Set to one side.

Cream the butter, sugar and orange rind together in a bowl until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat together until well combined. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl then stir through the almond meal. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in two or three lots to make a smooth batter before folding in the diced rhubarb.

Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared pan and level the top then spoon over the custard. Top the custard with the parcooked rhubarb pieces then scatter the crumble on top of the rhubarb. Place the cake on the centre rack of the preheated 180°C, conventional oven and bake for about an hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out moist but relatively clean. If the crumble browns too quickly, then cover with a piece of foil whilst it finishes cooking through.

Cool in the pan for 30 minutes to allow the custard to set before removing from the tin. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I was worried the cake might be a bit too sweet but it wasn't at all. Rhubarb and custard are a natural pairing and the oaty crunchy topping, makes for a nice textural contrast. 

All in all, I was pretty pleased with the cake and I think it would be even better topped with a good dollop of cream.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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