June 6, 2022

Old-fashioned magic rhubarb pudding cake

Rhubarb magic pudding cake in a baking dish with a slice on a small plate.

This old-fashioned magic rhubarb pudding cake is a special treat to enjoy during rhubarb season. A crackled sugar top with a moist cake and a bottom layer of rhubarb in a pudding is sure to be a family favorite. 

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Rhubarb season is here and I never tire of new ways to enjoy this springtime vegetable. While rhubarb is a vegetable, it is treated as a fruit in most cooking and baking, and most often used in sweet recipes.

Rhubarb is very tart, and this is what makes it so perfect for desserts. It needs a bit of sweetening to really enjoy it (in my opinion), so using it in cakes, crumble, jams, crisps, and more is a perfect way to do so.

This recipe is for a "magic" pudding cake. It's magic because during baking the top of the cake gets a crackled sugar crust and the bottom turns into softened rhubarb with a pudding-like texture, and in between is a cake layer. 

The trick to making the "magic" cake putting a layer of sugar and cornstarch on top of the batter, and then topping that with some boiling water. Then while baking the magic occurs. I love these kind of nostalgic and old-fashioned dessert recipes.

Pouring the boiling water on top of the sugar and cornstarch layer of the magic rhubarb pudding cake.

Remember when you are eating rhubarb, that the stalks are the only edible portion of the plant. Do not eat the leaves as they are toxic. The leaves are generally already cut off when you buy it in the grocery store, but if you are picking it from a garden or see it at the farmers' market, just discard the leaves before using.

This cake is very simple to make and uses a lot of pantry baking staples like flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. You do need to have cornstarch which is something that everyone may not have on hand all of the time, so grab some from the store if you need it. 

This old-fashioned rhubarb cake is perfect to eat as a spring and early summer dessert during rhubarb season. You can enjoy just how it is, or top it will a bit of whipped cream. I don't like to use anything else (or too much whipped cream) because I want the top to stay nice and crackly and crunchy.

Slice of magic rhubarb pudding cake on a serving plate.

If you have rhubarb fans in your life, this rhubarb magic pudding cake is sure to be a family favorite. 

Don't forget to checkout this round-up of 25 Rhubarb Recipes that aren't Strawberry Rhubarb Pie for even more rhubarb recipe ideas.

Yield: 9 servings
Author: Amy (Savory Moments)
Old-fashioned Magic Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Old-fashioned Magic Rhubarb Pudding Cake

This old-fashioned magic rhubarb pudding cake is a special treat to enjoy during rhubarb season. A crackled sugar top with a moist cake and a bottom layer of rhubarb in a pudding is sure to be a family favorite.


  • cooking spray
  • 2 heaped cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1-1/4 cups white sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup boiling water


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Spread the chopped rhubarb evenly in the baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of white sugar, brown sugar, butter, baking powder, vanilla, milk, and flour until well-combined. Spread the batter over the rhubarb making sure to reach the edges of the pan.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of sugar with the cornstarch until well-combined with no lumps. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the batter.
  5. Gently pour the boiling water over the top and carefully place the pan into the oven.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is cracked and golden and the rhubarb is bubbling.
Did you make this recipe?
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Recipe adapted from Yey Food. 

I hope you give this Old-fashioned Magic Rhubarb Pudding Cake a try! Let me know in the comments below.

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Finished magic rhubarb pudding cake in a baking dish.

Check out these other rhubarb recipes: 

Chocolate Chip Rhubarb Brownies

Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars

Old-fashioned Rhubarb Crumble 

Rhubarb Applesauce (No Sugar Added)

Whole Wheat Cardamom Rhubarb Scones 


  1. That crackly and crisp top looks absolutely irresistible!

  2. You wonder how this cake was first invented as it is so different from most cake recipes. It certainly does look good with that crunchy top. Karen (Back Road Journal)

  3. What a neat recipe! Love rhubarb, and this looks amazing. Thanks!

  4. I make something similar to this with peaches, but have never used rhubarb, which I love. This boiling water poured over the top has me curious, but your pictures show that the results are amazing. Easy and tasty.

  5. I need to get more rhubarb. This looks delicious!

  6. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I love rhubarb too and I'm always looking for new recipes.

  7. I have lots of rhubarb so I'm going to try this looks delicious

  8. Turned out perfect i highly recommend everyone to try this recipe

  9. I’ve made this and we loved it! Can you sub with apples?

    1. I haven't tried it, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.


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