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Individual Rhubarb Pudding Cakes

May 12, 2009




It’s here! Only a single stall at this past weekend’s farmer’s market had some, but (one of the many) advantages to showing up at the market as soon as it opens is that I get first picks of the small supplies of the season’s first arrivals, when they’re just starting to trickle in.


Our market runs from 9-3, and while some people like to make a leisurely day of it, arriving around lunchtime, browsing around, munching on the various tacos or samosas or stir fries available from all the food vendors, I have a different approach (though browsing is fun, our market gets mobbed around midday and I don’t like fighting through crowds to score a few stalks of rhubarb.) I get there right as it opens, do an initial pass by all the stalls to see who’s offering what that week, pick and choose what I’m going to buy, and zip on out. I have things to cook, after all!  Actually, I’m not all business; I’ve gotten to know a few of the farmers and vendors there over the past year, and I do make time to stop by and chat with each of them, which I really enjoy. But all in all, I’m usually in and out in less than an hour. I farmer’s-market-shop with a purpose.

Anyway, back to the rhubarb: are you as excited as I am that it’s finally in season? One of the reasons I love rhubarb so much is due to the fact that it’s the first “fruit” of the season that comes into season locally in spring (actually, it’s a vegetable, not a fruit, but transforming it from its tart original state with a little sugar does lend the rosy stalks to such delicious dessert creations, doesn’t it?) Living in a Zone 5 climate, where our winters are long and growing seasons are on the shorter side, the appearance of these decidedly spring season crops at the market feels very, very welcome after many months of kale and root crops.

I set aside a few stalks to make a rhubarb simple syrup, which we’re enjoying in homemade rhubarb soda (definitely give this a try if you’re looking for a new way to use a surplus of the stalks!)


But spring wouldn’t be spring without an inaugural fruit dessert, right? The first dessert I made with rhubarb was these individual pudding cakes. I have my Mom to thank for turning me on to this recipe; she made it with strawberries and rhubarb (which I will be doing once strawberries make an appearance here!) and raved about the results. With good reason, too; the pudding cake is tender, moist from the rhubarb syrup baked into the bottom and spooned over the top, and just the kind of homey, old-timey dessert I like to tuck into after a lighter spring meal (over the weekend, it was a simple spring pasta with asparagus, kale rabe, chicken and herbs.) So thanks, Mom, for the suggestion!




I think one of the reasons I like pudding cakes so much is because they’re very similar to cobblers, with the proportion of fruit:cake tipped more in the cake direction. Some days I’m in the mood for more cake, others I’m in the mood for more fruit (in which case a cobbler is the answer), but whichever direction you go, they’re both delicious.


And because I will not hesitate to make any dessert in individual portions, I opted to do the same for this pudding cake, baking it in 1-cup ramekins. The transition between the cake layer and the fruit layer at the bottom is deliciously moist and a little bit syrupy.


What are you doing with the season’s first rhubarb? I’d love to know!


Individual Rhubarb Pudding Cakes

Adapted from Gourmet, April 2007

view printable recipe

Since I used just rhubarb, I increased the sugar slightly to 1/2 cup from the original 1/3 cup in the recipe for the syrup portion. If you use strawberries, use only 2 cups of rhubarb and stir in 1 cup of strawberries after you’ve simmered the rhubarb in the sugar/water/cornstarch mixture.


1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar, divided
3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb stalks
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with the rack in the middle. Butter 4 individual 1-cup ramekins (or, an 8-inch square baking dish.)

Mix together the water, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan, then add the 3 cups rhubarb. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 1/2 cup sugar.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined — you’ll have a thick batter.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the rhubarb syrup mixture. Divide the remaining rhubarb mixture among the dishes, then spoon the batter evenly into each ramekin over the rhubarb. Drizzle the remaining rhubarb mixture over the top of the batter in each ramekin. Bake (I put all my ramekins on a small sheet pan) until a tester inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.

Cool on a rack slightly before serving.

Makes 4 generous servings (we like our pudding cake!)

30 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2009 6:17 am

    We’ve had the forced early season rhubarb, but I’ve not yet seen any other at the market. Lucky you. I love rhubarb and the individual cakes look lovely.

  2. May 12, 2009 8:03 am

    I made a crumble with strawberries and added vanilla extract and sprinkled some vanilla sugar on top. I also made some simple syrup that I hope to try out in a cocktail tomorrow around 5 when I am DONE WITH LAW SCHOOL. Just had to throw that one in there.

  3. eheff permalink
    May 12, 2009 8:59 am

    where did you get that awesomely hilarious measuring cup!?

  4. May 12, 2009 9:13 am

    Thanks, Sylvie! Here’s hoping you’ll get some rhubarb near you soon.

    Whitney — yeah!!! Early congrats! The crumble sounds delicious.

    eheff — hee hee, isn’t it cute? My sister-in-law gave it to me as a gift last year…the other side *does* have real measurements, but I also like knowing the obscure equivalents. 🙂

  5. May 12, 2009 9:53 am

    I can’t wait to try these. My rhubarb plant is starting to take off. I made a big batch of rhubarb-rosemary-lemon syrup with the last of the rhubarb in my freezer. And, may I humbly suggest you throw some chopped rosemary in next time you make your rhubarb syrup? It’s really tasty. I started making /drinks with it last spring. . . yum.

  6. Andy K permalink
    May 12, 2009 10:44 am

    Oh man do I miss the samosas at the Ithaca Farmers Market. These were the first samosas I ever tried, probably back when I was 10 or so, and they’ve stuck in my mind ever since. There used to be an egg roll vendor as well who’s rolls have also remained my ideal for egg roll goodness.

  7. May 12, 2009 10:55 am

    These are just beautiful! Rhubarb is such a unique treat. Also, I agree with Emma – that measuring cup is priceless. I think we all need one.

  8. May 12, 2009 11:58 am

    So far, I’ve made a rhubarb crumble cake and a roasted rhubarb and strawberry compote which I then swirled into a fresh batch of vanilla ice cream. Hoping to get more in my CSA bag!

  9. May 12, 2009 12:58 pm

    Oh man–those photos are GORGEOUS! Now I’m salivating for rhubarb’s special tang.

  10. May 12, 2009 2:10 pm

    These look fantastic. Thanks for the recipe! My rhubarb is growing like mad, but I have no idea when it’s ready to harvest!

  11. May 12, 2009 2:26 pm

    I recently made a strawberry-rhubarb tart. Not too original, but oh so delicious.

    I really want to try this recipe! I’ll have to get over to the Farmers Market Saturday morning and see what I can find :]. My CSA box just came, and no rhubarb this time.

  12. May 12, 2009 2:30 pm

    WOW I’ve never seen a recipe with rhubarb like that before! YUM!!!

  13. May 12, 2009 3:32 pm

    Two things:

    1. I’ve never even seen rhubarb in person before, but I’m dying to try it.

    2. I must have one of those measuring cups! Where can I get one? 😀

  14. May 12, 2009 8:11 pm

    Your pudding cakes look fantastic! I just recently cooked with rhubarb for the first time and now can’t wait to try it in more recipes.

  15. May 12, 2009 8:14 pm

    I’ve seen it at the market but haven’t tried it yet. I’ve never tried it, period. These look tempting, wish I could taste one.

    And that measuring cup stopped me in my tracks too haha. Great gift.

  16. May 13, 2009 1:26 am

    Rhubarb is one of my favourite “fruits”. I think it’s highly underrated. A good rhubarb pie is tops in my books anyday 🙂

  17. Julie permalink
    May 13, 2009 2:18 am

    I’ve made the Big Crumb Rhubarb Cake twice, once exact to the recipe and the second time doubling the rhubarb while cutting the butter and sugar. We like it tart. I also canned a double batch of Orange-Rhubarb marmalade. I have friends with a huge rhubarb plant who are very generous. I plan to make some rhubarb syrup for soda and cocktails next.

  18. May 13, 2009 4:47 am

    Hi Amy,

    Love this dessert! I am hoping to pick up some rhurbarb this weekend – hopefully there will be enough for the cake and the soda!

  19. May 13, 2009 8:41 am

    Wow What a cup full of flavor. Thanks for sharing your great idea.

  20. Mom permalink
    May 13, 2009 5:18 pm

    They look beautiful, Amy! I really like the individual servings and I love your measuring cup!! Can’t wait to see what you do with next week’s Farmer’s Market produce!

  21. May 16, 2009 6:33 am

    Cheers to you for using rhubarb all on its own in so many variations, too. It’s hard to find recipes just using rhubarb without strawberries.

    These look wonderful. Also, I love your measuring cup.

  22. May 16, 2009 6:49 pm

    Carrie – that syrup sounds delicious! Thanks for the tip on the rosemary – yum.

    Andy K – they are really good, aren’t they? There’s so many vendors selling delicious food there…it’s really tempting!

    Erin – I think it’s uniqueness is one of the things I like so much about it – you hit the nail on the head. 🙂

    croquecamille – ooh, both of those sound delicious!

    Anna – thanks!

    redmenace – you’re so lucky to have some plants…we’re planning on planting some next year.

    Alison – oh, but strawberries and rhubarb are a no fail combination…so delicious!

    Jen – thanks!

    Kristan Ann – unfortunately, I’m not sure where to get one…I received it as a gift.

    lisaiscooking – thanks!

    Melissa – oh, you have to try it!!

    Marianne – agreed!

    Julie – wow, you’ve been busy! I just made the Big Crumb Coffee Cake, too — great idea to double the rhubarb; I thought it was delicious!!

    sue bette – yeah! Hope you can get some!

    Lynette – thanks!

    Mom – thanks 🙂 wish I could share some with you!

    Tiffany – it is too bad that there’s not more recipes with solely rhubarb…I love it both ways, with strawberries and without.

  23. Jen permalink
    May 16, 2009 7:16 pm

    Heading to the kitchen to make this right now!

  24. May 19, 2009 1:32 pm

    Delicious! I adapted your recipe to my cast iron pan and added almond meal to the mix. You can check out the recipe at Thanks for the inspiration!

  25. May 22, 2009 8:54 pm

    What a lovely recipe _ will be giving it a try – along witha link back here!

  26. June 7, 2009 7:49 pm

    Excellent! My husband brought home some rhubarb from the farmer’s market and I wanted to try something different from the usual crisp or crumble.
    Be careful not to overfill your ramekins though – mine poofed all over – which was made a nice extra crispy edge, but a bit messy. Definitely use the cookie sheet underneath the ramekins, too. Use less dough rather than overfill!

  27. June 17, 2009 9:47 pm

    Did I already tell you that I made these 3 times so far?
    Once as a cobbler…..we loved this!
    Thanks for getting me hooked on rhubarb!
    Stacey Snacks

  28. Judi permalink
    June 18, 2009 2:17 pm

    The adorable measuring cup is available online at and I like it so much I just bought two!

  29. Sara permalink
    November 20, 2009 9:10 am

    I love my grandmother’s rhubarb custard pie recipe and always wanted to try something different with rhubarb (I’m not particularly fond of rhubarb and strawberries together) so last summer I found a fantastic recipe for a blueberry rhubarb crumble. I highly recommend anything combining the two “fruits” and I can’t wait until next spring/summer to get my rhubarb fix!

  30. June 1, 2010 10:14 am

    We are a small B&B in the Finger Lakes, and we made this recipe AND the Rhubarb Streusel Muffins for our guests over the weekend. They were both terrific and will be offered reguarly during rhubarb season !

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