Rhubarb and Custard

For those of you in the UK, you probably think of the cartoon show, for me it was Sunday pudding, but today it is Rhubarb and Custard cupcakes in number 7 of our Bake Off challenges.

I attempted  a couple of cakes from scratch when I first moved to Canada in 1988, but they ended up like hockey pucks.  The flour here just isn’t the same.  I switched to mixes, but mostly didn’t bother with cakes at all.  Brownies, yes; muffins, yes; cakes, no. This cup cake recipe comes from the Great British Bake Off; How To Bake book.

Beat 80g soft butter, 270g sugar, 240g plain flour, 1 tbsp. baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt together until it looks like crumbs. Mix 240 ml of full-fat (3%) milk with 2 large eggs and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Add 3/4 of this mixture to the dry ingredients while beating.  Once the mixture is smooth you can add the rest of the liquid ingredients.


Becky prepared the baking tin for 12 cupcakes.  We filled the cases 2/3 full, as instructed, but we had quite a bit of mixture left over; enough for another 5 cup cakes actually.  That seems to be a huge difference in amounts and I don’t know why.  Anyway, more cupcakes for us!

Bake the cup cakes for 18 to 20 minutes at 200 C/ 400 F.


Not bad for two amateurs. While the cakes were baking I made a rhubarb compote as there wasn’t any to be had in our neighbourhood.  Luckily I had some rhubarb in the freezer from last year.  I used one cup (250 ml) of sliced  rhubarb with 1/3 cup (80 ml) of sugar in a saucepan and brought them to boil.  I simmered it for about 15 minutes until it was mushy.  After tasting, I added another tbsp of sugar.  Leave to cool.

Becky was working on the custard.  Again, I have never made this from scratch, and I do miss Bird’s Eye custard powder, which is difficult to get here and super expensive. I put 75 ml of whipping cream, 75 ml of full-fat (3%) milk, and a 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract in a saucepan to warm. Do not boil! Becky mixed 1 egg yolk with 25g sugar, and 15g cornflour.  I added my warm cream to her eggy mix and stirred.  All of it was put back in the saucepan and heated over a low heat while stirring.  It soon thickens and smells wonderful.  Have a taste to make sure it’s yummy and leave to cool.

Then we tried the buttercream.  Becky whipped 2 egg whites into soft peaks, while I heated 65g sugar with 4 tsp water to make the syrup. It crystallized.  Start again with a new pan, and…it did it again.  I went to the internet to see what I was doing wrong.  I thought maybe the sugar wasn’t completely dissolved before heating it to 115 C/ 240 F. I tried again and it didn’t crystallize, it caramelized. The stove was covered in dirty saucepans at this point, so we moved on to Butter Icing.  Yay! Mix 125 g soft butter with 440g icing sugar and 3-4 tbsp. of milk. We added a tsp of vanilla.  That was so much easier!

Now for the assembly. Cut a hole in the top.  Put a small amount of rhubarb compote in the hole followed by some custard, and then cover cake top with icing.


We tried some fancy icing on a couple and realized there wasn’t enough icing, as we had 5 extra cakes, so we just used a butter knife to spread the icing on. We only used half the custard, so I don’t know what we did wrong, if anything.


This was a lovely cup cake. The cake mixture was pretty easy and was light and fluffy. We both love rhubarb and custard and enjoyed the flavours.  I added a little extra compote on top of mine. We shared the batch with the neighbours and got thumbs up from them too. We would make them again.  The butter icing was good, but we need to work on the buttercream. Also, the mixer died on us while we were making the icing.  I have a part on order, which I’m hoping will arrive before Easter. French Macarons for Easter!


About chebandbecky

I was born in Birmingham, England and emigrated to Canada in 1988. Becky is my daughter who was injured in a car accident. We are working towards her independence.
This entry was posted in Baking, Family, Food, Life, Photography, Photos and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Rhubarb and Custard

  1. This looks delightful! I’m sorry your mixer died though! I love reading your baking experiences!

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