The Sweet & Tart of Rhubarb Cake

Rhubarb is in-season

I have chosen Rhubarb as our in-season vegetable this week. Rhubarb is usually eaten as a fruit, being a popular ingredient for desserts, cakes and jam. It is a perennial, living for up to 15 years,  that is native to Siberia. There are both red and green stalk varieties of rhubarb. The stalks are the edible part of the plant. The leaves are poisonous. Whilst I usually eat rhubarb stewed, I do have a favourite rhubarb cake recipe to share with you.

Fresh picked rhubarb alongside home made rhubarb cake served with natural yoghurt

Nutritional Profile of Rhubarb

Rhubarb provides a range of vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of Beta carotene, which is converted in Vitamin A in the body. It also provides Vitamins C and K, and dietary fibre. Rhubarb supplies phyto-nutrients, such as antioxidants. Slow cooking and baking increases the availability of the phyto-nutrients.

The flavour of rhubarb is often enhanced with sugar and spices. The amount of sugar can be varied in my rhubarb cake recipe—I suggest reducing the amount of sugar to a level where you can still experience the tartness.

Eastern nutrition classify rhubarb as bitter, and there are very few bitter foods in the Western diet. The Eastern philosophy encourages us to balance all of the flavours in food, so it is best not to override the bitter flavour with too much added sweetness.

Rhubarb extracts have been used in traditional medicine as a laxative for thousands of years.

Rhubarb Cake Recipe

Cake Mix

  • 1 1/4 cups wholemeal flour
  • 1 teaspoon mix spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons rice bran oil or macadamia nut oil or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • about 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 stalks rhubarb


  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mix spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 deg C. Grease a 23x23cm cake tin. Place baking paper in the base of the tin.
  2. Place flour with 1 teaspoon mix spice, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg in a bowl.
  3. In your main cake bowl, mix the oil and sugar, beat in eggs one at a time, stir in vanilla.
  4. Alternate between the addition of the flour and milk to the sugar and oil mix.
  5. Spread batter into prepared pan and cover the top with sliced rhubarb.
  6. Sprinkle over the topping ingredients.

Bake for 50 – 60 minutes. Check at 50 minutes.

Enjoy your rhubarb cake warm. It is delicious served with natural yoghurt or custard.

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