Rhubarb Pudding Cakes

I guess you could call me a fruit purist.

I’m not really interested in your bumbleberry mixes, your apple-cherry pies or any strawberry-rhubarb co-mingling.

I like my rhubarb straight up, please, with a little crisp topping, a flaky crust or simply folded in with whipped cream. Or, in this case, in the form of a pudding cake.

Rhubarb Pudding Cake II

Rhubarb, to me, is the quintessential summer dessert. The ruby-ish stalks with slight green tint always made at least one appearance a summer when I was growing up. Usually it was in the form of Rhubarb Fool, a stewed fruit and whipped cream dessert that always tasted like more work went into it than really had.

So, I was excited to see the slim stalks make their first appearance at the farmers’ market.

The decision was not whether or not to buy them. It was: how do I narrow down the recipes I want to try? Rhubarb custard tart. Rhubarb scones. Rhubarb crumb cake. My recipe folder is brimming with possibilities. But I had recently come across a recipe for Rhubarb Pudding Cakes baked in ramekins. And, if nothing else, I am a sucker for individual desserts.

Rhubarb Pudding Cake I

This recipe comes together quickly and easily. A quick chop of the rhubarb, a little simmer on the stove, some stirring of wet and dry ingredients. I didn’t even pull out a mixer. And while you do have to turn on the oven for a bit, I promise the payoff is worth the extra heat in the kitchen.

These are moist little cakes, slightly studded with softened and sweetened rhubarb on top and another layer of the fruit on the bottom. The cake-to-rhubarb ratio is perfect and I like eating it right out of the ramekin, sweeping my spoon around the bottom to scrape up all the pinkish syrup.

The original recipe calls for one cup (250 mL) of strawberries–taking the place of one of the cups of rhubarb–and only 1/3 cup (75 mL) of sugar for slightly stewing the fruit. Feel free to make that adjustment.

But I’ll be keeping mine strictly rhubarb, thank you.

Rhubarb and sugar

Slightly stewed rhubarb

Rhubarb and ramekins

Rhubarb and Batter

Rhubarb Pudding Cake III

Rhubarb Pudding Cakes

Adapted from Gourmet, April 2007

  • 1/4 cup (50 ml)water
  • 1½ tsp (7 ml) cornstarch
  • 1 cup (250 ml) sugar divided
  • 3 cups (750 ml) chopped fresh rhubarb stalks
  • 1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ tsp (8 ml) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400°f (200°c), ensuring the rack is in the middle. Butter 4 individual 1-cup (250-ml) ramekins.

Mix together water, cornstarch and half of the sugar in a small pot, then add the rhubarb. Simmer, stirring constantly for about three minutes. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and the remaining sugar.

In a second bowl, whisk the egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined. It will make a thick batter.

Reserving ½cup (125 ml) of the rhubarb mixture, divide the rest of the fruit and syrup among the ramekins. Spoon the batter evenly into each dish over the rhubarb. Top each ramekin with a portion of the remaining rhubarb syrup mix.

Bake until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and the tops are slightly golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly and then serve.

Note: mine took less time than this. Start to keep an eye on them at the 20-minute mark.

This story first appeared in the Real Life section in the Calgary Herald. For more delicious recipes, visit CalgaryHerald.com/life.

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  1. I don’t need any more cake. I DON’T NEED ANY MORE CAKE!! This would free up some freezer space though… too much bagged rhubarb..

  2. Whoa.
    I made these today — a double batch, so I made a big pan, plus two ramekins — and it is indeed scrumptious. I shared with the neighbours, who concurred. Pure rhubarb is definitely the way to go. I did use frozen rhubarb (why can I not find rhubarb in Farming Central?) but it was still damned delish.

  3. I have the same ramekins, and must admit that I haven’t been using them much cept for bread puddings :P This looks really good, I should give them a go at the next gathering/party! I’m a sucker for individual desserts too :P

  4. Just made these tonight, yummy! Mine made 5 overflowing ramekins so I could have made 6, but admittedly I didn’t really measure the rhubarb. They were very delicious though!!

  5. Funny, I am just the opposite of fruit purist–just love the strawberry-rhubarb combo and the bumbleberry idea as well. My strawberry-rhubarb freezer jam is, frankly, to die for! Gotta say, though, these look good.

  6. I just found you and I think I’m in love. After growing up with rhubarb sauce, rhubarb bread (like banana bread) and rhubarb crumble, I finally tried strawberry rhubarb pie last year. I don’t get it. Why even put the rhubarb in there? Why ruin rhubarb that way? :)

    My first stalks are about ready and I will be making this asap.

  7. I made the rhubarb pudding cakes in my small ramekin dishes, it made 10 Individual ones. I baked them on a cookie sheet, a few spilled a bit but over all they were wonderful. I cooked them 25 minutes.
    Everyone loved their own little dish or two.
    Thanks for the great recipe.

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