This is where I note my efforts as I try to recreate some old recipes. Most are taken from my small collection of handwritten recipe books which date from the late 1700's to around 1922. I also have a collection of old tatty old recipe books, well thumbed and heavily splashed from years of use. I love them all!

The old-fashioned very stylised handwriting writing is sometimes difficult to decipher, measurements and cooking instructions are minimal, no tin sizes given. Luckily I enjoy a challenge. Just to complicate things I cook and bake on my wood-fired Rayburn, which can be... unpredictable.

I suspect this blog is less about the food and more about my passion for these lovely old books and the wonderful women who wrote them.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

As We Like It - Rhubarb and Custard Cake

My version - much more rhubarb and custard.

We have finally been treated to some warm Spring-like days.  Bliss!

This kind of weather makes me want to clean the house from top to bottom and to trim and tidy the gardens and Owl Wood as my energy levels rise.  So I did, and it was while I was mowing the side lawn that my eye was drawn to ... the rhubarb patch.

I realised that it was badly in need of picking, some stalks were getting alarmingly thick and I didn't want them to become tough and inedible.     Rhubarb crumble was made and put into the freezer but I still had plenty of of rhubarb left and decided to make rhubarb and custard cake again, tweaking the recipe this time, to see if it would work in a way more suited to our taste.

I originally wrote about Rhubarb and Custard Cake here*

The original bake was really nice but I felt it lacked any real rhubarb taste and had too little custard.  Time to experiment.

A tall and still attractive cake/pudding but much more taste and zing.

I increased the amount of custard by half, so I used 3 tablespoons of custard powder, 375 ml milk, etc.  and I also used older rhubarb; the pink and pretty stalks look wonderful, but I wanted that rhubarb acidity and taste to balance the custard.   I piled as many cut and trimmed stalks as I could (in a single layer) on the top of the cake.

The wait for it to cool in the tin was a bit of a test of my patience.   I wanted to know whether it had worked.

Cutting into it and taking out those first few slices was a little scary, I didn't know whether the cake would hold up with all the extra custard in there...it did, and it was just as we had hoped.

This is a cake which improves over a couple of days.   Keep it in the fridge between times and it just gets better and better

or so my cake-eaters tell me.

I suppose it all depends what you want, a pink and pretty cake which has a little flavour or a cake which celebrates rhubarb and custard!  

Message to myself:   Play around with recipes, don't always follow them slavishly.  Make your food something which you really want to eat.

Later in the year I plan to begin working through some of the (very) many recipes there are for gingerbread, in my old Victorian journals.    One of them will really work for our taste buds, others may not.   It will be fun working through them.

Every school-day afternoon Dobson (dog) and I wait at the gate for the school bus.    Hector comes to Gran and Grandpa for a couple of hours and is always hungry.

How could I be so cruel as to have the kitchen smelling so wonderfully of cakes baking, and not have something ready which I knew he would enjoy straight away...I couldn't, so I also made a batch of his favourite chocolate brownies.

He ate his tea, eggy-breads, made with eggs laid by his favourite hen, then managed to eat four brownies.

An afternoon well spent.  It was worth the extra effort of making them to see the boyish delight on his face.  


  1. That cake really does look good. My Rhubarb is a bit meagre this year, we had a good initial crop of 'forced', since which it has gone on strike. I'll have to admire your photo instead.

    1. I wish I could let you have some of ours, it is growing like crazy and I'll soon have to resort to making jams and preserves from it, which seems a shame, so early in the season.