This versatile cake is best served warm as a pudding or cold as a teatime treat. I like it with whipped cream but it would also be good with crème fraiche, clotted cream, vanilla ice cream or custard.


  • for the crumble:
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 4 tblsp caster sugar
  • 75 g butter (at room temperature)
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • for the fruit:
  • 750 g rhubarb (cut into 1 cm (½inch) pieces)
  • 1 tblsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp freshly grated orange rind
  • juice of ½ orange
  • seeds from ½ vanilla pod
  • for the cake:
  • 175 g butter (at room temperature, plus extra for greasing)
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • seeds from ½ vanilla pod
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 175 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tblsp milk
  • whipped cream, to serve


  • Heat the oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5), butter a 23cm (9 inch) spring-form cake tin, line the base with non-stick parchment paper.
  • To make the rhubarb crumble topping, place the flour, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a food processor, pulse until crumbly. Place the rhubarb in a bowl and tip in the sugar, orange rind and juice and vanilla seeds. Toss until evenly coated. Set both aside.
  • To make the cake, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla seeds together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, adding one tablespoon of the flour when you have added about half of the beaten eggs, this will stop curdling. Sift over the rest of the flour and the baking powder and then fold gently but thoroughly. Finally fold in the milk.
  • Spread the cake mixture over the base of the prepared cake tin, pile the sugared rhubarb on top and then sprinkle over the crumble topping. Bake for about 1 hour until the sides of the cake have shrunk slightly away from the tin, the rhubarb is soft and the crumble is golden brown. To test if the cake is done, insert a fine metal skewer into the middle - if it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes set on a wire rack.
  • To serve, cut the rhubarb and orange crumble cake into slices and arrange on plates with a dollop of whipped cream.

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