Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Cake Recipe

Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Cake Recipe

I love an old-fashioned cake. You know the kind, they’re tall and compact and have a chew. A small slice goes a long way. They’re maybe not always as moist but people love them with a bit of custard or cream on the side.  They are the kind of cakes your granny would make at the start of the week in case people dropped by. They keep well in a tin and age beautifully, as the fruit sinks into the cake, it becomes more moist and succulent. I love all kinds but I love an old-fashioned rhubarb cake best. 

I had bought rhubarb which is currently in season in Ireland and I asked for recommendations for cake recipes. I was sent this one by a kind follower called Jill McKillop and it instantly picked my interest. My cake was a good bit different but the base recipe is fantastic and so I wanted to share my variation along with the original. 

My variations on this old-fashioned cake were simple. I chose not to go for the sugar crust. It felt too much to me. I used a whole lot of rum just because why not. I used duck eggs instead of hen ones for added richness. I used self-rising flour instead of plain with bicarbonate soda. I did not have enough rhubarb and still made the cake, shoot me.  And finally, I think this would be glorious with pineapple instead of rhubarb and coconut instead of the sugar crust from the original recipe. 


  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 330 g of soft brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 300 g self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 500 g of rhubarb trimmed and cut up in chunks
  • 1 pot and a bit of sour cream (full fat)
  • 2 shots of rum (one for the cake, one for the cook)


  • I used a robot mixer but if doing it by hand just make sure your butter is quite soft. 
  • Preheat the oven to 180
  • Butter your springform dish or whatever you have that will fit this much batter and fruit. 
  • Mix the butter, eggs, and sugar until all smooth. Add everything else apart from the rhubarb.
  • The rhubarb is the last thing to go in and should be folded gently. 
  • Stick it in the oven for about an hour but you know your oven best. Keep an eye on it from 50 min. I did one hour with the oven on and 10 min still in the oven but with the temperature turned off. 
  • It needs cooling before unmolding and goes very well with cream, ice cream, custard or all of the above. 
  • I did give it a sprinkle of powdered sugar but I’m not convinced it was needed at all. 


Old-fashioned rhubarb cake - Properfood.ie

Share ON:
Load More… Follow on Instagram