Rhubarb and Vanilla Cake

March 28, 2018

Good news friends! Rhubarb season is back!

Rhubarb and vanilla cake

My mom bought 4 beautiful pinky/red stalks and all the week I’ve been thinking about what I would make with these beauties. Well, a dessert of course… But the possibilities are endless and I just wanted to make them all. Pie? Crumble? With strawberries? Almond? Eventually I tumbled on a wonderful blog Eat, Little Bird that had a recipe for a rhubarb cake. That sounded very tempting and what’s more, easier than struggling with a gluten-free pie crust. I took my inspiration from her rhubarb custard tea cake but using my recipes for the different parts and adding a special crumble top. The result was amazing!
Rhubarb and vanilla cake

Very proud of this new creation 😉

Rhubarb and vanilla cakeRhubarb and vanilla cakeRhubarb and vanilla cake



  • 4 rhubarb stalks
  • Maple syrup or sugar

Pastry cream (Crème Pâtissière): 

    • 1/2 l milk
    • Vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 100 gr sugar
    • 60 gr cornstarch (Maizena)

Oat and coconut crumble : 

  • 35 gr cold butter
  • 80 gr Light brown sugar (cassonade)
  • 20 gr coconut flakes
  • 30 gr oats

Sponge cake 4/4 (Quatre-Quart) :

    • 4 eggs
    • 260 g butter
    • 250 g sugar (optional: include a pack of vanilla sugar)
    • 250 gr All purpose flour or 240 gr gluten-free flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F (180 ºC).  Wash and cut the rhubarb stalks into 12-14 cm pieces. Coat with maple syrup or brown sugar and bake for 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the pastry cream. Heat the milk with the open vanilla pod in a saucepan while you whip the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Add the flour and when the milk is gently boiling add to the egg yolk mixture in a gentle stream, whisking all the time. Return to the saucepan and cook on medium/low heat whisking vigorously until the cream reaches a thicker consistency and coats the back of a spoon. Leave the saucepan in a bath of cold water and cover directly the cream with a food wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
  3. Prepare the crumble. Cut the cold butter in a bowl in tiny pieces and add the sugar, oat and coconut. Rub between you fingers until it reaches a sandy texture. Place in the fridge for later use.
  4. To make the cake batter, first melt butter in a saucepan. Stir together the flour and sugar and add the melted butter. Separate the whites from the egg yolks, add the yolks to the flour/butter/sugar batter and mix until incorporated. Whip the whites with a pinch of salt until it looks like snow and it doesn’t move when you turn the bowl upside down. Gently fold in the batter in two times.
  5. Line a cake tin with parchment paper. Pour half of the cake batter then the pastry cream (I used only 3/4 of the pastry cream. You can either try to use all or like me, keep the quarter left for other purposes). Spoon the rest of the cake better over the pastry cream and gently spread. Arrange the rhubarb stalks on top (if there’s some juice left, pour it over the cake) and cover with the crumble.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes in the pre-heated oven (180°c)


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  • Reply Ruben March 28, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    It looks delicious! Thank you for the great rhubarb idea! What size tin did you use? and was it springform?

    • Reply memsie March 28, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      Thank you! I used a classic 28 cm (11 inches) tin. Maybe a springform would be easier but mine was too small for the batter.

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