Easy Rhubarb Custard Cake has a layer of creamy, tangy sweet custard below a fluffy yellow cake.
Have you ever played the game 2 Truths and a Lie? It’s a classic icebreaker, where someone shares two true statements about themselves along with one lie, and everyone else in the group has to guess which one is the lie.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had my stock answers:
I once cleaned a gas station bathroom.
I was a starting forward on my high school basketball team.
My grandparents grew up Amish.
Want to guess which one is a lie?
The first one is (disturbingly) true. It happened on a high school mission trip where we set out to surprise local businesses with extraordinary acts of service. Cleaning a gas station bathroom (for free!), seemed about as extraordinary as we could get. The look on the manager’s face when we asked if we could clean his bathroom almost made it worth it. Still, I wouldn’t mind NEVER doing that again.
The second one? Definitely a lie. While I spent nearly ever summer of my growing up years at basketball camp, my love for the game never translated into actual talent. I think my high school (and everyone else) is very glad I decided to stick with watching, and not playing, basketball.
Then comes the last one, which is, obviously, the second truth. My grandparents on both sides were raised Amish, but left the church as young adults. They remained in the conservative Mennonite faith for the remainder of their lives, and passed on the values of that community to my parents and on to me. I credit at least some of my love for food and gathering at the table to my Mennonite heritage. If you ever find yourself at a Mennonite family reunion, you can count on at least one thing: there will be plenty of food, and it will all be delicious.
Though I’ve branched out to cook and enjoy recipes from many different cultures, I still have a soft spot in my heart for the comfort foods I grew up with– Amish Apple Fry Pies, Amish Chicken and Noodles, and the best Homemade Amish White Bread— just to name a few.
That’s why I was thrilled to discover the new Amish Community Cookbook, filled with recipes gathered from Amish and Mennonite cooks across the U.S. and Canada. I spent an evening flipping through the pages, dog-earring recipes I knew I had to make. The book is filled with classics like Chicken Pot Pie and Ham and Bean Soup, but also has a few surprises (Dandelion Salad, anyone)?
Alongside traditional Amish desserts like Shoofly Pie was this unexpected recipe simply titled Fresh Rhubarb Dessert. I scanned through the ingredients and was shocked and intrigued to discover there were only four, with one of them being cake mix.
It might surprise you to find cake mix in an Amish recipe, but sometimes Amish families need shortcuts just as much as the rest of us (and maybe even more)! While I love to bake from scratch, there are days when a quick cake mix dessert is all I have time for. And when that day comes, I guarantee you I’m going to come back to this Easy Rhubarb Custard Cake again and again.
Wonderfully moist and perfectly sweet with a hint of tang from the rhubarb, this cake is made by sprinkling cake mix batter with sugared rhubarb then pouring whipping cream over top. Honestly, I felt almost certain this wasn’t going to turn out. It felt positively wrong to drench a cake in cream, but I trusted whoever contributed this recipe knew what they were doing.
Sure enough, the cake was a beauty. After 45 minutes, the cream and rhubarb had sunk to the bottom, forming a wonderful custard layer topped with fluffy, golden cake. I dove into the cake warm, because I have no self control around fresh baked goods, and it was heavenly.
I almost always prefer baked goods warm over cold, and this one is no different. However, if you refrigerate the cake for a few hours, the custard layer firms up and allows you to serve up neater slices, with a more pronounced and pretty layer of pink custard. The cold cake almost takes on the texture of a tres leches cake, where every morsel is soaked in rich cream. It’s really a delightful cake, a great way to use up rhubarb, and a hit at family reunions. I’m so glad to add this quick and delicious recipe to my arsenal!
Looking for more recipes for your next potluck? Try my Creamy Mac and Cheese, or if you’re assigned the vegetable side, try a classic crescent veggie pizza, or this Cucumber Tomato Salad.
Easy Rhubarb Custard Cake
This creamy, fluffy rhubarb custard cake is so simple to make and is a lovely recipe for spring!
- 4 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 yellow cake mix + Ingredients for making the cake mix
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 9 x 13 inch cake pan.
Place the rhubarb in a bowl and sprinkle sugar over top. Allow to sit while you prepare the other ingredients. Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Toss together the rhubarb and sugar then sprinkle evenly on top. Pour the cream over the entire top.
Place the cake in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until top is set and a toothpick comes out clean (the bottom third of the cake will still be wet so don't base the toothpick test on that portion). Serve the cake warm (it will be messy!), or chill for a few hours or overnight to have neater slices.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 353Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 333mgFiber: 1gSugar: 37gProtein: 3g
I just took it out of the oven, looks and smells delicious, can not wait to taste it. Thank you for the easy recipe.
Awesome! I hope you loved it!
As in an above comment, I also have been making this dessert for years. While working in memory support units, this was a go-to recipe; it utilized fresh rhubarb, (which all farm wives baked with), the residents could practically make this without supervision and then enjoyed the fragrant, delicious result!
It’s a definite keeper!
I love that story. So glad it’s brought joy to so many different spaces.
I like the idea where one reader did a 1/2 rhubarb and 1/2 strawberries. I make a strawberry/rhubarb custard pie & it call for almond extract. Any suggestions on where I could add the extract to this recipe? Thanks!
I would add the extract to the cake batter.
I always make this cake with frozen rhubarb. Do not thaw. Just try to separate the pieces before adding it to the cake. I bang the bag on the counter before opening it. Using thawed rhubarb creates more liquid. Same goes for rhubarb pie.
My MIL made this and was great. It’s almost better after being in the frig, because then the custard is.almost.like cheesecake!!!
This cake was absolutely delicious. My daughter requested it for her birthday cake. She liked it because it isn’t real sweet. The rhubarb makes it tangy.
I’m so glad you liked the rhubarb cake! Thanks for sharing!
I have made this many times one of our favorite and is easy to make
Do you just pour the whipping cream on…or do you have to whip it first? I am really not a baker so please forgive the dumb question. Thanks
You don’t have to whip it–just pour it right on!
Is this a heavy whipping cream you use?
Yes! I recommend using heavy whipping cream.
The cake was done but the custard part wasn’t firm. More on the liquid side. I followed the recipe exactly, what did I do wrobg
I’m sorry to hear that. The custard layer shouldn’t be liquid, but it will still have some jiggle for sure.
I’ve made this an frozen it many times. Works great! Just thaw overnight in the fridge!
This is one of my favorite cakes to have. I’m not a big frosting fan so the is great. I’ve used frozen rhubarb before and it turn out just fine. Made it many times like that. This cake makes me miss my grand mother. We uaed to make it together.
Could this be done with apples or other fruit?
Does this cake have to be refrigerated?
I would refrigerate it if you’re not eating it the same day.
This is such a great dessert. I often make it for potluck. It is always a hit. I have also used a lemon cake mix and substituted blueberries for half of the rhubarb. It was delicious!
Oooo! A lemon custard cake sounds divine! Thanks for sharing!
Can this cake be frozen?
I wouldn’t recommend freezing this.
Has anyone ever tried to freeze this dessert?
I have been making this cake for years. Every time I take it somewhere I’m asked for the recipe. Even people that don’t like rhubarb love this cake. I’ve made it with 1/2 rhubarb & 1/2 strawberries and another time all strawberries. A friend made it with fresh sliced peaches. Just be sure if you use another fruit besides rhubarb that you cut down on the amount of sugar.
I bet peaches would be absolutely fantastic with this. Thanks for sharing!
I have made this desert many times but now I’d like to make it for Easter using frozen rhubarb. Do you think using frozen rhubarb will work? Or will it be too liquidy?
Hmm that’s a good question. I think you would need to thaw them first, but then I think it would be fine! Rhubarb doesn’t have the same juice factor as berries so I think you’re good!
Have you ever tried it with a strawberry cake mix?
I haven’t but I bet it would be wonderful.
I was happy to see this favorite recipe of mine in print. It is a winner. I have been making it for twenty years or more and enjoyed it every time. Even though I am not Amish.
It’s definitely going to be a favorite of ours from now on too! Do you ever try it with different fruits?