Country Rhubarb Cake

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • serves


Appears in

Darina Allen's Simply Delicious Suppers

Darina Allen's Simply Delicious Suppers

By Darina Allen

Published 2001

  • About

This delicious rhubarb cake made from an enriched bread dough used to be made all over Ireland. Originally it would have been baked in a bastible or baker beside an open fire. My mother, who taught me this recipe, used to vary the filling with the seasons – from rhubarb to gooseberries, to damsons, blackberries and apples.


  • 340 g flour
  • 55 g caster sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon bread soda
  • 85 g butter
  • 1 egg, preferably free-range
  • 175 ml buttermilk or sour milk
  • 675 g rhubarb, finely chopped
  • egg wash
  • 170–225 g granulated sugar
  • caster sugar for sprinkling

1 × 25cm Pyrex or enamel plate


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

Sieve into a bowl the flour, caster sugar, salt and bread soda; rub in the butter. Whisk the egg and mix with the buttermilk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour in most of the liquid and mix to a soft but not sticky dough; add the remainder of the liquid if necessary.

Sprinkle a little flour on the work surface, turn out the dough and pat gently into a round. Divide into two pieces: one should be slightly larger than the other; keep the larger one for the lid. Meanwhile dip your fingers in flour. Spread the smaller piece on to the plate. Scatter the finely chopped rhubarb all over the base, egg-wash the edges and sprinkle the rhubarb with granulated sugar. Roll out the other piece of dough until it is exactly the size to cover the plate, lift it on and press gently to seal the edges. Make a hole in the centre for the steam to escape, egg-wash and sprinkle with a very small amount of sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the rhubarb is soft and the crust is golden. Leave it to sit for 15–20 minutes so that the juice can soak into the crust. Sprinkle with caster sugar. Serve still warm with a bowl of softly whipped cream and some moist, brown sugar.