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.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Rhubarb and Cake

The rhubarb keeps growing and growing.      I'm not complaining, but I do try to find new things to do with it, although Max would quite happily eat rhubarb crumble every day of his life, as long as it came with lashings of custard.

My beautiful old books have plenty of recipes for rhubarb, but I really didn't want to make jam, preserve, or vinegar from it, well not this early in the rhubarb season.  

So I trawled the internet and found a recipe for Rhubarb and Custard Cake which appealed to me and I thought it would suit Max, too.

A cake with a layer of custard and rhubarb held within.   It looked amazing, it spoke to me.

The recipe came from The Australian Women's Weekly, though I found it on Eat Little Bird Blogspot.

Rhubarb and Custard Cake

200 g butter
110 g caster sugar
2 eggs
185  g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
40 g custard powder
20 g butter
4 tsp granulated sugar

(for the custard)
2 tblsp custard powder
55 g caster sugar
250 ml milk
20 g butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

I hold my hand up and admit that eat little bird's cake was much more beautiful than mine has turned out, so it is well worth checking out her blogspot on the link above.

First make the custard, mixing the custard powder, caster sugar and a little milk, into a paste.  Then heat the rest of the milk, mix it into the paste and stir well, returning to the pan until it thickens.   Remove from the heat then stir in the 20 g of butter and the vanilla extract.    Cover with cling film by pressing the cling film onto the surface of the custard, this will prevent a skin forming.

Heat the oven to 180 F,    Grease the sides and base of your 20 cm cake tin, line the base with parchment.

Cream the butter and sugar together, add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well together.   Sieve the flour, custard powder and baking powder together and stir into the mixture, it will be fairly stiff, but persevere.

Put half the cake mixture into the cake tin, spread it round, then add the custard.   It takes some time to get everything spread around evenly, stick at it!   Then top with another layer of the cake mix.

The rhubarb gets cut into strips and placed on the top in a star shape.

Brush the top of the cake with melted butter and sprinkle generously with the sugar.  Bake it for about one and a quarter hours.   Allow it to cool in the tin.

I was so excited, could hardly wait to sample the cake.

Time passed, the cake cooled.  Time to do the taste test...  I was disappointed, it was nice, but unexciting.   I'll make it again, with more custard and certainly more rhubarb needs to be put in there, somehow.    

I will definitely have to work much harder on the presentation - eat little birds cake looked sublime.


  1. Lady Magnon adds Tayberries (Rasperries) to her Rhubarb Crumble; lovely.