About This Recipe
By: Chef Laura Bonicelli
Lemon Custard Rhubarb Cake is a perfect dessert for a Summer Celebration. It’s a delicious cross between traditional lemon bars and a rhubarb pie.
Where I live, lots of people have lots of rhubarb growing in their back yard. Consequently, they are always looking for recipes to use it up. This Lemon Custard Rhubarb Cake is a great addition to the rhubarb recipe library. I came by my rhubarb plants by way of a friend, the plants came from her mother. I always think of Blanche whenever I’m picking the stalks or working with them in the kitchen.
Rhubarb is a vegetable, but most people use it like a fruit. It’s incredibly tart, therefore it lends itself well to sugar. Like strawberries, which it’s often paired with, it’s cooked consistency makes a great jam.
Rhubarb resembles celery and chard, although it’s not related to either, and it’s leaves are poisonous. The leaves contain oxalic acid, as do broccoli, spinach, and other vegetables. But in rhubarb leaves, the oxalic acid is highly concentrated and, therefore, dangerous. Consuming a small amount won’t kill you, but it will make you sick.
You can find rhubarb at Farmers Markets from early Spring to mid-Summer. The price ranges from $1 to $4 per bunch depending upon availability. Look for firm, unbroken stalks. There are a lot of varieties of rhubarb; therefore, you can expect some variation in color. A single plant can produce skinny and wide stalks.
About the Recipe
I love using a rotary beater to make this cake and yup, I’ve had mine for 30 years! Alternatively, use a wire whisk to beat the eggs and sugar together until you get a light yellow, thick mixture. The butter should cool for a few minutes before incorporating it into the batter. Cooling will prevent it from cooking the eggs. Plain Greek yogurt makes an excellent substitute for sour cream.
I bake this cake in a 9-inch springform pan. Partially baking the batter will prevent the rhubarb from sinking to the bottom. Some of it will sink in, but enough will remain on the top of the cake to give it some color and texture. If you’re in a rush, put the rhubarb in at the beginning, right before you put the cake in the oven. It won’t have the color, but it will still be a tasty and beautiful cake.
Cool the cake for 10 minutes before you release the cuff.
It’s essential to run a thin spatula or knife around the top of the cake, otherwise, the cake tends to stick.
I hope you love this recipe! Happy Baking!
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Step by Step Instructions
Lemon Custard Rhubarb Cake
- 9-inch springform pan
- parchment paper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter -- cooled
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 8 ounces rhubarb stalks -- cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 º F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Cut a round of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Place the parchment in the bottom of the pan. Butter the parchment and coat the entire inside of the pan with flour.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, and sugar until the mixture is very pale and thick, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. I use a rotary beater for this.
- Whisk the melted butter, sour cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest into the wet ingredients.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and, using a spatula, fold in until the batter is smooth; scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake the cake for 20 minutes.
- While baking, toss the rhubarb with 1 tablespoon of sugar and set aside. At 20 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and gently top with the rhubarb; avoid the outer 1/2-inch to leave a rim. The rhubarb will partially sink into the cake.
- Return the pan to the oven and bake the cake until the rhubarb cooks through, the cake is golden brown, and the center is set, 25 - 35 minutes.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool in the pan, 10 minutes. Slide a knife around the sides of the cake to loosen and release the cuff. Place the cake onto a rack and let it cool completely. Once the cake is cool, chill before serving.
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