In Season: Easy Rhubarb Traybake

I made this rhubarb traybake in super-quick time and snapped a very quick photo on my iPhone – not thinking a great deal of it since I make it so often. The cake batter is made to a recipe given to me by my mother (on most occasions, over the phone) but this time I’ve made the effort to write it down and share it. It’s the kind of traybake that is so simple to make and can be adapted to use any fruit in season. I often add stewed apples with cinnamon, or ripe pears and you can even use berries or at a push, tinned fruit. Using vegetable oil or very light and mild olive oil and yogurt keeps this cake lovely and moist – it is perfect with a cup of tea!

We are getting to the end of forced rhubarb season now, generally available from January to April. It is grown indoors, in almost total darkness and is harvested by hand in candlelight. The rhubarb is covered and pink shoots begin to appear as the rhubarb tries to grow and find light. It sounds very strange, but the method was developed so that dessert fruit would be available when other seasonal fruits were not available. British rhubarb tends to be grown in West Yorkshire and forced rhubarb tends to be sweet and delicate. From around April onwards, you will more likely be able to find outdoor rhubarb, which is slightly tougher and may need more sweetening. Interestingly, although rhubarb is botanically a vegetable, it is considered to be a fruit because it is most often used in desserts. Rhubarb leaves are toxic, so if your rhubarb is from the garden, wash your rhubarb well and throw away any leaves rather than composting them.

My mum uses a highball tumbler glass to measure when baking rather than scales, which in fact, holds the same weight/volume as American cups. I have converted the recipe into grams, below.

Easy Rhubarb Traybake
Serves: 12
  • 225 g Caster sugar
  • 4 Free range eggs
  • 240 ml Vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoon Plain yoghurt
  • zest Orange or lemon
  • 240 g Self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 500 g Stewed, seasonal fruit
  1. Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius/gas mark 4/350 farenheit. If using rhubarb, bake in your oven for 15 minutes once the oven is hot and begin making the cake batter.
  2. Beat the sugar and eggs together for at least five minutes, until pale and thick. Slowly pour in the oil and beat again. Add vanilla and two tablespoons of plain yoghurt and mix in well. Grate in the zest of one lemon or orange.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and carefully mix (with a metal spoon, not mixer) until it is all combined.
  4. Line a baking tin or tray (approx 30 x 23 x 4cm) with baking paper and pour in the cake batter.
  5. Dot the baked or stewed fruit around the cake batter, pushing it down a little with your fingers, but making sure some of the fruit is still visible. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until a tooth pick or cake tester comes out clean. Dust with icing sugar and cut into squares. Serve warm, or cool. Keeps well in a tin for up to five days.
If you are using rhubarb, you can chop it into one inch pieces and roast it in the oven while you make your cake batter, for around 15 minutes. Sprinkled with sugar, maple syrup or honey and cook. Draining off any juice beofre adding to the cake.  If you are using apples, peel them, core them and chop them into pieces, add them to a pan, sprinkle over a few tablespoons of sugar and a little water and stew for about 5 minutes just to soften. Do the same with pears if they are un-ripe. You can use tinned fruit, perhaps pears or apricots, in which case there is no need to stew as the fruit will already be soft enough.

I’m sending this recipe across to Nazima of Working London Mummy who is hosting this month’s One Ingredient Cooking Challenge – Rhubarb. Laura from How to Cook Good Food will be hosting this in May. I’m also linking up to April’s Simple and in Season here on Fabulicious Food! There are still a few days to enter your easy, seasonal recipes.


Are you a fan of pretty pink rhubarb? Forced or outdoor?

Don’t forget to enter my current cookbook giveaway (worldwide) to win a copy of Eat London 2!



  1. says

    Hello there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a
    quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your articles.

    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?

    Thanks a ton!

  2. Clare says

    Thank you for the recipe it went down very well at a cake stall I was running for a (cold) spring fair at a local cemetery park here in London!

  3. says

    Hi Ren,

    I have some rhubarb just waiting to be cooked and as chance would have it some cardamom sugar so it seems your recipe will be perfect-many thanks indeed!

    • Ren says

      Thanks Kellie. Fleur tweeted today to say she made it with spelt flour and it came out really well, too :-) Good to know!

  4. says

    I am just about to write up my Simple and in Season post and yep, you guessed it I’ve used Rhubarb to send to One Ingredient too!!

    I do like this traybake, it reminds me of the 100mph cake in Prepped that I’ve always meant to try. I’ve never had an opinion about forced rhubarb or non forced. Most rhubarb I’ve had has been just as rhubarby as the rest of it. :-)

    • Ren says

      A popular ingredient! Yes, I did try Vanessa’s recipe when I first got Prepped – she uses cardamom sugar and walnuts, too. I’ve never really tried jazzing this one up, apart from by using different seasonal fruit. Vanessa’s recipe uses one egg – my mum adds up to five in this recipe, I go with a more conservative four! This cake was a classic growing up in my house, particularly when our Victoria Plum tree was still alive!

    • Ren says

      Pear is great and forgot to mention it works very well with very ripe Victoria Plums, too. Sliced and stoned and popped in!

  5. says

    Cor this looks good! We’re lucky enough to have our own rhubarb growing down the allotment, so I’m gleefully making something rhubarb-themed every week at the moment. I did a batch of rhubarb muffins at the weekend that were pretty good. I’ll be posting them on my blog tomorrow. Think I’m definitely going to have to try your traybake – looks unctuous.

    • Ren says

      Lucky you! I founnd a crown in our garden when we moved in. Had a few sticks of rhubarb and then it seemed to disappear. Will see if it re-appears this year?! Ooh yes, custard or cream :-)

  6. says

    I like both forced and outdoor rhubarb taste-wise, but must say I’m a bit more drawn to the look of the pink ones(: the tray bake looks fab ren, and best of all, simple and easy enough to make!

  7. says

    I love this cake as you have proved just how easy it can be to make a cake. No need even for scales, so no excuse not to get baking! Also love how adaptable it can be depending on what fruit you have to hand. Even better that it has a seasonal element to it :-) xx

    • Ren says

      Thanks Laura, yes, pretty much throw it all together! My mum always measures using a glass – a very Polish thing!

    • Ren says

      Aah thanks Jude, so simple to whip up and any fruit will do. Hope you had a lovely Easter x