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Rhubarb & custard loaf cake

Rhubarb and custard is an age-old classic combination - the tartness of the rhubarb making an ideal partner for the sweet and creamy custard. It’s perfect for brightening up winter months at the start of the year when vibrant forced-rhubarb is in season.

I have a soft spot for Bird’s custard powder and use it here to add extra cheer to the crumb and create a thick custard layer for the centre of the cake.

This works well as a 20cm round cake too, with the rhubarb arranged on the top like wheel spokes but I think it looks most gorgeous in a loaf tin with long stripes of beautiful pink rhubarb along the length. Just remember to line the tin with parchment to ensure easy turning out.


Rhubarb & Custard Loaf Cake


Serves 10

Prepare: 15 minutes, plus cooling

Cook: 60 minutes


For the custard

2 tbsp Birds custard powder

55g caster sugar

250ml whole milk

For the rhubarb cake

200g butter, softened, plus extra, melted, for brushing

120g caster sugar

2 eggs

185g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp Birds custard powder

3 stalks forced-rhubarb

2 tsp granulated sugar


1 Make up the custard according to the packet instructions until smooth and thickened. Dampen a piece of baking paper and lay it directly on the surface of the custard, to help prevent a skin forming, then leave to cool.


2 Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper. Using an electric whisk, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then whisk in the flour, baking powder and custard powder, and mix well to male a thick batter.


3 Spread half of the batter in the base of the tin then top with the custard. Spoon over the remaining batter, spreading it out with a spatula to over the custard.


4 Cut each rhubarb stalk in half so that each piece is roughly the same length as the tin then halve again, lengthways. Arrange along the length of the tin.


5 Brush the top of the cake with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 1 - ½ hours until a cooked through and nicely browned (cover with foil if it starts to get a little dark). Leave to sit in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Leave to cool, if you can, then slice with a serrated knife and serve just warm. Any leftovers are delicious served chilled the next day.








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