Rhubarb and custard cake with cardamom

It’s nearing the end of the rhubarb season for us apparently. After the end of July the plants need to put their energy into the roots to ensure we have a crop for next year. I thought I’d try another cake while I’m still allowed to pick some.

My wonderful sister-in-law loves my rhubarb and vanilla jam and likens it to eating rhubarb and custard on toast. While musing on this I came across a recipe for rhubarb and custard cake so thought I’d give it a try. It is a bit more involved than some of the other recipes, but it is… well, like rhubarb and custard in a cake……


I have adapted it from this recipe here. I enjoy making my own custard and find it a bit of a challenge so I’ve included the method here, but you may feel as if life is too short and want to use ready made custard. But believe me, the rhubarb and cardamom combination is a revelation, I’ll be adding it to my crumbles from now on.



Rhubarb and custard cake with cardamom (pdf Rhubarb and custard cake with cardamom)

Cake mix:

150g butter

50g caster sugar

4 eggs

200g plain flour

1½ tsp vanilla sugar

½ tsp salt

1½ tsp baking powder



300ml double cream

1 vanilla pod

3 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla sugar

1tsp cornflour, dissolved in cold water



25g butter

Crushed seeds from 3 cardamom pods

½ dessertspoon vanilla sugar

4-5 sticks (400g) rhubarb, cut into ~12cm lengths


  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees
  2. Make the topping: in a saucepan, heat the butter, sugar and cardamom for the rhubarb mixture. When bubbling slightly, add the rhubarb and stew for a few minutes until softened and completely coated. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
  3. Make the custard: Split the vanilla pod with a sharp knife and place in a saucepan with the cream. Heat gently till just at boiling point then remove from heat. Leave to infuse for at least 10 minutes. Beat together egg yolks and sugar. Remove vanilla pod from cream and scrape seeds back into cream, before pouring over egg and sugar mix and stirring well. Add the cornflour mix. Wipe out the saucepan and return the cream mixture to the saucepan. Heat gently, stirring continuously until just at boiling point – but do not allow to boil. The mixture should thicken nicely. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is incorporated before adding the next.
  5. Sift the flour, vanilla sugar and baking powder and fold in to the cake mix mixture.
  6. Line a 20cm baking tin with baking parchment. Add the cake mix and spread evenly. Spoon the custard on to the top of the mix. Add the rhubarb on to the top evenly. Keep any remaining syrup
  7. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. The custard may remain a little runny until it is cool
  8. Leave to cool before serving – spooning some of the remaining syrup over the top if you wish

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