Rhubarb, vanilla and soured cream crumb cake

  • Serves 8
  • Hands on time 30 minutes, cooking time 45 minutes, plus cooling
  • Easy
British rhubarb goes beautifully with vanilla and soured cream in this tasty crumb cake.

Nutritional info per serving

  • Calories283kcals
  • Fat18.2g (9.2g saturated)
  • Protein4.4g
  • Carbohydrates27.4g (15.4g sugars)
  • Salt0.7g
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  • Butter for greasing
  • 275g rhubarb (untrimmed weight)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • Icing sugar for dusting

For the cake

  • 6 tbsp soured cream
  • 1 large free-range egg, plus 1 yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 75g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 50g ground almonds or hazelnuts

For the crumbs

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 25g light muscovado sugar
  • 40g caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 100g plain flour, sifted
  • Pinch of salt


  1. For the crumbs, melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat. Remove from the heat, add both types of sugar and stir constantly until dissolved into a smooth, toffee-like sauce. Stir in the vanilla bean paste, pour into a small mixing bowl, then stir in the flour and salt to make a stiff, biscuit-like dough. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the bowl and set aside to go cold.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Grease and line a shallow 20cm square, 5cm deep loose-bottomed cake tin with baking paper. (Or use a 23cm round cake tin to replicate our cake on the cover.) Wipe the rhubarb stalks clean, trim off the ends, cut the remainder into 2.5cm pieces, then put into a mixing bowl. You should be left with about 225g rhubarb. Mix the sugar with the flour, stir into the rhubarb and set aside for 15 minutes or so, stirring now and then, until the flour and sugar mixture has become moist and clings to the fruit. Set aside.
  3. For the cake, stir the soured cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl. Sift the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt into another bowl. Add the butter and mix using a hand-held electric mixer until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the nuts, then gradually beat in the soured cream mixture until smooth.
  4. Spread the cake mixture into the base of the prepared tin, then scatter over the rhubarb mixture. Break the crumb mixture into hazelnut-size pieces (or smaller if you prefer) and scatter over the cake. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the cake comes away clean (don’t forget – if you hit a piece of rhubarb it will still be moist). Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then dust with icing sugar. Cut into 9 squares and serve either warm with crème Anglaise, or cold.

From March 2011

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  • "
    dianne d'souza1:45 Jul 25 2017

    Came out very nicely. Used chopped strawberries, rhubarb isn’t widely available here. But would go with raspberries next time for a firmer fruit filling. The crumb layer was awesome, especially when fresh out of the oven.

  • "
    ashley sumner12:13 Aug 05 2016

    Lovely recipe! Didn’t have any plain flour, so ended up using self-raising but it still turned out delicious. Will definitely be making again. The tartness of the rhubarb against the light vanilla sponge is fabulous. x

  • "
    djkirby20:25 Jul 13 2015

    I love this recipe. It is amazing – very British and very delicious!

  • "
    deannathomas16:40 Jun 07 2015

    I love this recipe because it works really well after a variety of main dishes and is easy to match with a lovely light dessert wine

  • "
    karyn ryan12:15 Jun 01 2015

    I love this recipe because it was the first recipe that I actually used Rhubarb to bake with..My nana always used to boil the rhubarb with 2 tbsp sugar and serve it with custard or arrowroot made up with milk..and that’s the way I always used it.I never realized how delicious it was in a cake till I tried this recipe..Have swapped the rhubarb for raspberries a couple of times and its equally as delicious..I still prefer it with Custard 🙂

  • "
    carolinefry16:58 May 26 2015

    This is a really lovely recipe and the different textures make it quite special

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