Little Rhubarb Crumble Cakes with Ginger Custard

, from Issue #31. September, 2015
Photography by Nick Tresidder.
Little Rhubarb Crumble Cakes with Ginger Custard


50 grams plain flour
40 grams butter
1½ tablespoons brown sugar

150 grams rhubarb
1 tablespoon brown sugar
175 grams butter, softened
175 grams brown sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
175 grams plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
2-3 tablespoons milk 

Custard (optional)
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 cup cream
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1½ tablespoons stem ginger syrup


Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Line 8 x 125 ml capacity muffin tins with paper baking cases. 

Crumble: Put the flour in a bowl. Using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine bread crumbs then stir in the sugar.

Cake: Rinse and dry the rhubarb then cut into approximately 1 cm pieces. Sprinkle over the sugar and toss gently to coat.

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour if it looks like it might curdle. Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder then gently fold into the butter mixture together with the milk. The mixture should be soft enough to just drop off the spoon.

Divide evenly between the cases (it should fill them about two thirds). Pile 3-4 pieces of rhubarb on top then sprinkle over the crumble. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  

Custard: Place the egg yolks and sugar in a heat-proof bowl that will fit snugly over a saucepan. Using an electric beater, beat until thick, pale and creamy and the beater leaves a trail when dragged through. Place the bowl over gently simmering water and slowly stir in the cream. Stir almost continuously until it thickens and leaves a coating on the back of the spoon. The custard will gradually lose the foamy appearance on the top as it heats and thickens. Stir in the vanilla and stem ginger syrup. Serve warm or leave to cool with the surface covered directly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming.

Serve warm as a pudding with custard or left to cool and served as a little cake. Makes 8 cakes.

Stem ginger in syrup: available at Asian stores and some good supermarkets.

Vanilla bean paste gives an intense vanilla flavour as well as adding vanilla seeds to your dish. A good vanilla extract can be used as an alternative.