This old-fashioned rhubarb pudding cake is a perfect way to enjoy Spring rhubarb! Comes together quickly and easily and is lovely served warm from the oven.

Rhubarb pudding cake in baking dish with spoon.

If you have nostalgic memories of stewed rhubarb then you will love this rhubarb pudding cake! The bottom layer of rhubarb cooks up soft, sweet and saucy, while the top is a lovely light, sugar-crusted cake.

Ingredients and substitutions

Ingredients for making rhubarb pudding cake.

A few notes about the key ingredients …

Rhubarb: You can use either fresh or frozen rhubarb for this dish. In fact, I think frozen rhubarb makes the fruit at the bottom even a bit saucier.

Sugar: Sweetness is always a very subjective thing. Rhubarb typically needs more sugar to balance the tartness, but the exact amount is up to you. Use the lower amount for the topping if you want a more tart rhubarb note or the higher amount for sweeter rhubarb.

Cornstarch: The cornstarch is used to thicken the fruit sauce. If you don’t happen to have any on hand, it isn’t a deal-breaker. Your fruit sauce at the bottom will still be delicious, just not as thick.

How to make rhubarb pudding cake

Frozen rhubarb in baking dish.
Spreading the batter overtop of the rhubarb.
  1. Scatter fresh or frozen diced rhubarb into the bottom of a baking dish.
  2. Mix together the batter ingredients.
  3. Pour the batter over the top of the rhubarb and spread evenly.
Sprinkling the batter with sugar mixture.
Pouring boiling water over batter and sugar.
After water has been poured over.
  1. Sprinkle the sugar and cornstarch mixture over top of the batter.
  2. Pour the boiling water over the top of the sugar layer.
  3. Ensure that the baking dish is on top of a baking sheet to catch bubbleovers. Place into the preheated oven and bake.

Recipe video

Recipe tips!

  • Any glass or metal baking pan, square or round (or deep dish pie plate) around the 8 to 9-inch size will work here. Be sure to look for something not too shallow, to avoid too much bubble-over.
  • If starting with frozen (or partially frozen) rhubarb, add 5-10 extra minutes of baking time.
  • Be sure to bake with a baking sheet underneath, particularly for pans with shorter sides to catch any bubbleovers.
  • It will seem like a lot of sugar for the topping, but keep in mind that its purpose is to sweeten the rhubarb. Most will bake down into the rhubarb layer, with just a sugar crust left on top after baking.


Feeding a crowd? Double the recipe and bake it up in a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Change it up! As mentioned above, use any fruit of the bottom and tweak the flavouring of the cake batter by adopting any one or more of these additions, to complement the fruit you are using: adding some lemon zest and/or a bit of lemon juice; a bit of cinnamon, cardamom or nutmeg; a bit of almond extract or a more generous splash of vanilla.

How to serve rhubarb pudding cake

Enjoy this pudding cake warm from the oven plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. A drizzle of heavy cream overtop is also nice.

Rhubarb pudding cake in baking dish with spoon.

Storing and freezing

Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or cover loosely with aluminum foil and pop into a 350F oven until warmed about 10 minutes.

The baked pudding cake will freeze well for up to 3 months.

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Rhubarb pudding cake in baking dish with spoon.

Get the Recipe: Rhubarb Pudding Cake

An old-fashioned rhubarb pudding cake with a saucy layer of rhubarb on the bottom and topped by light cake with a crisp, caramelized sugar topping.
5 stars from 9 ratings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 8 servings



  • 2 1/2-3 cups rhubarb, fresh or frozen, diced


  • 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and levelled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, very soft
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For topping before baking:

  • 1/2-2/3 cup white granulated sugar, *see Note 1 below
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup boiling water


  • Preheat the oven to 375F (non-convection).
  • Set some water to boil for adding later in step 3.
  • Cover the bottom of an 8-inch square or round pan with the diced rhubarb. *You can also use a deep-dish pie pan or a ceramic baking dish of similar size.
  • Make the batter: In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, baking powder, flour and salt. Add the butter, vanilla and milk. Mix together with a wooden spoon, using the spoon to press any larger pieces of butter against the bottom of the bowl to break them up. The batter doesn't need to be completely smooth. A few butter bits are fine. Just avoid larger pieces. Spoon the batter over the rhubarb in the baking dish and spread to cover the rhubarb in a thin layer.
  • Make the topping: In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle over the batter in the baking pan. Place a spoon on top with the curved side up. Pour boiling water over the curved part of the spoon and allow it to spread overtop of the sugar mixture.
  • Place the baking pan on top of a baking sheet to catch any bubbleovers. Bake at 375°F for 45-60 minutes or until the cake layer is set and the top is golden. Frozen rhubarb will need extra baking time and be sure to test the cake in the centre of the pan with a cake tester to ensure that it is set. If the cake is at risk of over-browning before the cake is set, loosely lay a sheet of aluminum foil overtop for the last part of baking.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to stand a few minutes before enjoying warm plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • Refrigerate leftovers for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or cover with foil and pop into a 350F oven until warmed about 10 minutes. Leftovers will also freeze well up to 3 months.


Note 1: Adjust the amount of sugar for the topping to your preference for sweetness. Use the lesser amount for a more tart rhubarb flavour or the higher amount for more sweet rhubarb flavour. 
Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card, where I share some valuable tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe! You’ll also find step-by-step photos as well as a recipe video that you might find helpful.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Dessert
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 211kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 115mg, Potassium: 203mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 26g, Vitamin A: 199IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 77mg, Iron: 1mg
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