I love Bread and Butter Pudding and this is a version given a bit of a twist by the addition of rhubarb. My Rhubarb Bread and Butter Pudding is from a tradition of old-fashioned puddings which can be made quickly from ingredients that would have been available in most households (bread, milk, eggs). These puddings fell out of fashion, partly due to the focus on French cordon bleu style cooking in the 1970s but had a renaissance in the 1980s when they began to appear on restaurant menus. In my view, simple (and easy) using good ingredients (make sure those eggs are free-range!) is often the best way in cooking (and in life!).
Bread and Butter Pudding is essentially a combination of bread and creamy custard. And what goes well with custard? Rhubarb of course! This recipe combines the lovely creamy custard with golden crispy bread and tangy sweet-sour rhubarb. It is really easy to make – no messing about making pastry or sponge cakes for pudding – and should please those who like a “traditional” pudding and those who like something a bit different.
This is a simple Victoria Sandwich cake, flavoured with vanilla, and filled with a mixture of Rhubarb Curd and whipped cream. It is very easy to make and can be used as a pudding or eaten at tea-time or with morning coffee. The tartness of the rhubarb goes very well with the buttery cake and the smooth, rich taste of vanilla.
1 x 21 cm or containers (I have used a heart-shaped silicon container but round is fine!)
Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
Cream the butter with the caster sugar. (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier!)
Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture. If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour.
Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.
Add the milk and the vanilla extract. It really makes a difference if you use a good quality vanilla extract – as opposed to vanilla essence – as this will give it a much more intense flavour.
Grease your Victoria Sandwich tin or container and then add the cake mixture.
Bake your cake in the oven for around 30 minutes. It is done when it is golden brown, springy to the touch and has shrunk away from the edge of the tin. You can test it by inserting a skewer in the middle of the cake – if it comes out cleanly with no mixture attached, your cake is done.
Allow your cake to cool on a rack before removing it from the tin or container.
Once the cake is cool, slice it in half horizontally (I find a bread knife is good for doing this).
Spread the Rhubarb Curd on one half of the cake followed by the whipped cream and then put the other half of the cake on top.
Dust the cake with icing sugar by shaking a small amount through a sieve onto the top.
You will need to keep the cake in the fridge if not using immediately as it contains cream and Rhubarb Curd. If stored in the fridge, remove it around half an hour before eating to allow it to come up to room temperature.
I make a lot of Upside Down Cakes – they are really versatile and can be used as puddings or are great mid-morning with a cup of coffee or with afternoon tea! I usually use them a lot as puddings as they are very quick and easy to do and are fantastic, served with cream or ice-cream, at the end of a meal. Rhubarb Upside Down Cake tends to go down well with those who have past form as rhubarb-haters (such as my eldest son) as the topping is effectively a jam and so is less astringent than in some other dishes and therefore more palatable.
In the past, I have been a bit ambivalent about rhubarb. On the one hand, I liked its sharp/sweet flavour but I also had a lot of unfortunate memories from my school days of pink mush shrouded in lumpy custard… The turning point in my relationship with rhubarb was when we moved into our current house a few years ago and found a huge rhubarb plant in the middle of one of the flower beds. Over several years, I did my best to kill it and, when this failed, to move it, as I wanted to plant pretty flowers! It resisted all my attempts at destruction and, in the end, in a spirit of defeat, I decided to start trying to use it and looked for tasty recipes. I am now quite pleased that I failed to get rid of it, although it still looks a bit odd in the middle of the flower bed, and have adapted a lot of my favourite recipes, including the one for Upside Down Cake, to include rhubarb.
You will need a cast iron tarte-tatin dish or a cast iron frying pan which can be used on the hob and also can be put in the oven
Rhubarb Upside Down Cake can be served as a pudding with cream or ice cream or as a cake with morning coffee or afternoon tea (or anytime you fancy, frankly!)
For the rhubarb topping:
300 g rhubarb
180 g caster sugar
50 g butter
For the cake:
125 g butter
125 g caster sugar
125 g self-raising flour
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4.
Wash the rhubarb stalks thoroughly. Cut into small pieces of around 1 cm.
Put the rhubarb pieces, 180 g caster sugar and 50 g butter into your tarte-tatin dish or frying pan and put on a low heat for around 15 minutes. The rhubarb will soften and, initially release a lot of moisture, but by the end of the time the mixture should be syrupy and jam-like in consistency. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
Make the cake batter by creaming together the 125 g butter with the 125 g sugar. Add the eggs gradually to ensure the mixture does not curdle. Then add the 125 g self-raising flour followed by the 1 tablespoon of milk.
Spoon the cake batter on top of the syrupy mixture in your tarte-tatin dish or frying pan.
Put the dish into the oven for around 30 minutes. At the end of this time, the cake should be light brown and springy to the touch.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for around 5 minutes. Then, put a plate over the pan, turn it upside down and remove the pan so that the cake is on the plate rhubarb-side upwards. Don’t leave it any longer than this or it will be hard to turn it out as the jammy mixture will solidify as it cools and glue the cake to the pan!
You can either serve immediately when it is warm or leave to cool to room temperature.
Keywords: rhubarb cake
See my other recipes for using Rhubarb to make flavoured Gin and Cordial