Rhubarb & Custard Swirl Cake

The weather is starting to get cold, the evenings are drawing in, it’s pretty conclusive – winter is on its way. In some ways, this is great! Think of cosy evenings in warm jumpers curled up with a hot chocolate….or of snowy landscapes looking beautiful…lovely, right? But at the moment, I don’t have any of those. It’s just cold, slightly rainy, and I miss summer! So, I decided to make something with summery ingredients. I would say I planned ahead for this very occasion, and kept the rhubarb in the freezer intentionally, but in reality I just had too much and so froze some anyway! But really, freezing produce is a great way to have seasonal foods at not-so-seasonal times!

Rhubarb and custard is such a great classic flavour and I decided to combine them in one cake! I recently discovered that custard powder is actually vegan, which is great because if you make it up with vegan milk you can use it just as you would regular custard – great on puddings and desserts! But this time I just sifted the powder into the cake itself to lend its taste.

This stuff is vegan!

Since my rhubarb was frozen, I defrosted it first (I did this in the microwave but you could do it in the fridge overnight if you’d rather) and then drained off the water. You don’t want it to be too wet otherwise the cake just gets soggy – not good! I then put it in a saucepan with a little golden syrup (use brown sugar if you don’t have golden syrup) and vanilla, and let cook until it broke down. It’ll break down into a sort of compote which is what you want it to be!

before cooking

Then I made up the cake batter, and poured that into a pan – I used the same tin I make brownies in, which is rectangular, but you could use a round pan if you like – and made the “swirl”.

This is pretty easy – just take a spoonful of the compote, drop it in the cake batter, and using the spoon swirl it about a bit. Don’t worry if it looks a little messy – it still looks great when baked!

Rhubarb & Custard Swirl Cake

  • Servings: makes 1 traybake
  • Print


    for the cake:
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 2 tbsp custard powder
  • pinch salt
  • 100g vegan butter, melted (or use 100ml oil)
  • 90g brown sugar
  • 75g white sugar
  • 250ml milk of choice
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • for the rhubarb:

  • 300g rhubarb (if frozen, defrosted and drained)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup


    Preheat the oven to 180C/360F
  1. First, make the rhubarb compote. In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, vanilla, and syrup over a low heat. Cook until the rhubarb breaks down and becomes like a compote – about 15 minutes for frozen rhubarb, more if fresh.
  2. Next, make the cake. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt, and custard powder into a large bowl.
  3. In a jug, measure out the milk and add the vinegar. Leave for a minute or two so it curdles.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugars. Whisk in the milk and vanilla.
  5. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry one. Stir thoroughly.
  6. Pour the cake mixture into your tin and smooth.
  7. Add the rhubarb compote in spoonfuls, swirling it through the top of the cake.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s