A perfect way to enjoy Spring rhubarb! This rhubarb pudding cake is an easy, warm and comforting treat.

rhubarb pudding cake in pan with spoon

When it comes to Spring rhubarb, this rhubarb pudding cake is the dish I always make first. If you have nostalgic memories of stewed rhubarb (dating myself here :), then you will find that in this dish. The bottom layer fruits cooks up soft, sweet and saucy, while on top is a lovely light cake. And to top it all off, a crispy, caramelized sugar topping.

Enjoy this pudding cake warm from the oven, as it is, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

While this is a delicious rhubarb treat, you can make this warm pudding cake with any Summer fruit. Simply adjust the amount of added sugar to suit the sweetness of the fruit you are using. Blueberries, peaches, strawberries, plums, raspberries or blackberries are all great choices. You can even take it into Fall with apples and pears.

Ingredient Notes

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 a always a very subjective thing. I’m one who will rarely declare anything “too sweet”, but for others, you may want to tweak the amount of sugar in both the cake batter and to sugar topping, to taste. Rhubarb obviously needs more sugar to balance the tartness. Sweeter fruits, such as strawberries, would not need quite as much.

Cornstarch: You can substitute arrowroot starch for cornstarch, if you prefer. 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 be as thick.

Flour: Make this one gluten free by simply substitute any “1 for 1” gluten free flour for the all-purpose flour in this recipe.

Milk: To make it dairy free, simply use a milk alternative (almond milk, for example) instead of regular milk. For the butter, you can use a “vegan butter” or an oil, such as coconut oil. Use slightly less oil than the amount of butter specified. In this recipe, using about 2 Tbsp oil to replace the 3 Tbsp butter would be about right.

rhubarb pudding cake in pan with spoon

Cook’s Notes

  • 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 bubble-overs.
  • Feeding a crowd? Double the recipe and bake it up in a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  • 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, just to catch any bubble overs.

Top Tip!

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.

rhubarb pudding cake in baking dish with spoon

Get the Recipe: Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake

This rhubarb pudding cake is warm, soft and saucy, with a layer of rhubarb on the bottom, topped with a light cake, with a crisp, caramelized sugar topping.
5 stars from 8 ratings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 8 servings



  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups rhubarb, fresh or frozen, diced


  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup white granulated sugar, *see notes below
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

For topping before baking:

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup boiling water


  • Set some water to boil for adding later in step 3.
  • Cover the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch square pan with the diced rhubarb.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it or the sweetness of the fruit you are using), the butter, baking powder, salt, vanilla, milk and flour together. Spoon over fruit and spread to cover as much as possible. (There is not a ton of batter and it is thick-ish, but do try to cover the fruit as completely as possible, even if it seems quite a thin cover).
  • In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 3/4 cup white sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle over the batter in pan. Pour boiling water over the top.
  • Place baking pan on top of a baking sheet (to catch any bubble overs). Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes (slightly longer is starting with frozen or partially frozen fruit, about 5-8 minutes longer). Allow to stand a few minutes, before enjoying warm as is, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Adjust the amount of sugar in both the cake batter and the topping depending on the fruit you are using. For rhubarb, I generally use 3/4 cup in the batter and 3/4 cup on top. You can reduce both down to about 1/2 cup, to taste.
You can use any fruit for this pudding cake. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches or plums would all work well.
Gluten free, 1-for-1 flour can be substituted.
Milk alternatives, such as almond milk can be used instead of regular milk. Vegan butter can be substitute for the butter, or substitute about 2 Tbsp coconut (or similar) oil for the butter.
Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card, where I share some valuable tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe!
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Dessert
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 238kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 122mg, Potassium: 219mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 210IU, Vitamin C: 3.1mg, Calcium: 88mg, Iron: 0.9mg
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