29 Jan 2013

mum's rhubarb apple cakes

This is the best cake I have enjoyed for quite a while – and I’m not just saying that because it was mum’s! Of course, whenever someone else does the cooking, it’s a good thing, but mum-made cakes are in a special category all of their own, don’t you think?*

This was a soft moist cake, with just a touch of cinnamon and an ever-so-slightly sugary topping. It is nicest, I think — the cake itself is softer, and its homely quality even more evident — when served warm, perhaps with a blob of cream, and definitely with a cup of tea. It doesn’t shout its fabulousness; it’s just a very lovely, traditional-style, home-made cake. It looks and tastes like something you should get from a CWA shop, or a country flower show, or … your mum’s kitchen.

The strange thing is, when I was ate my first slice of this (before Christmas), I thought, this would be just as lovely using apple instead of rhubarb (or even with rhubarb, as apple and rhubarb is such a good combination). Apple cakes are amongst my favourite kind; many of the best ones I’ve made are like this cake: soft and moist with a fairly plain flavour that you can enjoy with a cuppa.

So when I got too baking on the weekend, I added an apple that I’d rescued from the work fruit bowl on Friday afternoon; I cut it into small chunks to match the rhubarb, red skin and all. You'll note I have been talking about mum's cake as singular but my pic is plural, cakes - I also decided on cupcakes instead of one large cake, as I had loads of those firm paper cups begging to be used.

As an aside, I also checked the recipe just before I added the crumble topping to all those little cakes and realised I’d omitted one of the ingredients! I almost had another ‘blunder’ post for you. So I scooped out the cake batter (thank goodness they were the rigid paper cups, not the soft fluted ones), added the almond meal, and went at it again to turn out these pretty moist little cakes.

*If I’m ever half as good a cook as my mum is, I’ll be very happy.

Mum's rhubarb apple cakes
From mum. Use either a 23 cm springform tin for one large cake, or 24 paper cups as I did. Use all rhubarb, apple and rhubarb as I did, or just apple.
  • Preheat your oven to 180 and prep your cake tin or paper cups.
  • Cream 125 gms soft butter with 1 cup sugar (mum used half white, half light brown; I used not quite a cup of white topped up with some raw sugar. We're recipe adapters, mum and I).
  • Then add 3 eggs.
  • While that's creaming, chop enough rhubarb to give you a heaped cup of small diced fruit; how many rhubarb stalks you'll need will depend on the size of the stalks. As above, add apple if you wish (I used one red one).
  • To the creamed mixture, fold in 1 and 1/2 cups SR flour, 1/2 cup almond meal, 2 tspn cinnamon, and 3/4 cups sour cream.
  • Then fold thru your chopped fruit.
  • Spoon into your cake tin or papers.
  • For the 'crumble', melt 80 gms butter then stir in 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup plain flour. Stick in the fridge to 'set' a little (and while you swear, scoop out the batter, stir in the almond meal and spoon back the batter ... just kidding).
  • Break the crumble up with a fork and crumble it over the cake (it looks unpromising but trust me - trust mum!). Then sprinkle over some flaked almonds (no quantities given - you'll know how much you like).
  • For the large cake, mum instructed to bake for 1 hour. For the cupcakes, it took only 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy warm.


  1. Few things frustate me more in the kitchen than a recipe turning up wrong because I omitted an ingredient. Many times it´s because I just don´t read instructions thoroughly. I can´t wait to try to find some rhubarb here, which is not common. These cakes looks amazing!

    1. I admit i rush thru recipes sometimes too - i obviously did this time. In all honesty, perhaps the almond meal could have been omitted, but i didn't want to risk a definite flop!
      Rhubarb is a lovely old fashioned thing here, Paula; many australians i dare say would know rhubarb crumble and stewed rhubarb served with ice cream or on their breakfast muesli.

  2. Lorraine04 May, 2013

    I just found this recipe!!I was given some rhubarb at work. I doubled the mixture, forgot to add any cinnamon at all and fogot to double the crumble topping...so divided the topping between the two. Theyre cooking right now. Will let you know the outcome!!

    1. hello lorraine, and welcome to dig in! it's so great to hear someone using one of my recipes. i'm sure even with your tweaks they were delicious. i hope!


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