Thursday, January 14, 2010

Birthday baking

It was my birthday last weekend so I did some baking to take into work for morning tea during the week. I made Rhubarb Custard Cake from A Treasury of New Zealand Baking and cupcakes using the blueberry cake recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

Either the cake or the cupcakes probably would have been plenty as there was already a Pandoro chocolate cake in the kitchen at morning tea time. Several people also seemed to be on post-Christmas diets but those that weren't managed polish everything off.

I followed Becs advice and doubled the quantities of rhubarb and custard and am glad I did. I also added extra milk to the custard once it had cooled as it was very thick and gluggy.

The flaked almonds are optional, but I think they finish the cake off nicely. The almonds are essential when cooking in my oven as it cooks very slowly and doesn't give cakes a nicely browned crust. The almonds hide it well.

Rhubarb Custard Cake (Tina Duncan) from A Treasury of New Zealand Baking

200g chopped rhubarb
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp water

2 tbsp custard powder
2 tbsp sugar
¾ c milk
1 tsp vanilla

125g butter
¾ c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
½ c sour cream
1 ½ c self-raising flour
½ c ground almonds
½ milk
flaked almonds

To prepare the rhubarb combine all three ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until tender, approx 4-5 minutes. Allow to cool

To prepare custard, place the custard powder and sugar in a saucepan and gradually add milk. Add vanilla and cook over a moderate heat until thick and smooth. Allow to cool.

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 20 cm round cake tin.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the sour cream. Fold in the flour, ground almonds and milk. Spread half the mixture in the base of the tin.

Drop spoonfuls of rhubarb and custard over the mixture. Cover with remaining cake mixture and sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Bake for 1 hour, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin and then move to a wire rack.

For the cupcakes I halved the recipe for blueberry cake from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. Making only half the recipe was a good decision – it made 18 cupcakes which was plenty. I was very pleased to have received a lovely new 12 cup muffin tray from Miriam for my birthday (until then I only had one six cup tray). Without this I would have been up all night baking the cupcakes in batches of six.

The blueberry cake recipe says to ice with cream cheese icing. I used lemon buttercream icing instead but think cream cheese would have been better. The buttercream was just too sweet.

Here's the full recipe for blueberry cake from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook:

350g unsalted butter at room temperature
350g caster sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
450g flour
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp baking powder
280ml sour cream
250g fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla, flour and baking powder. Add the sour cream and mix well until everything is combined and the mixture is light and fluffy. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into a ring tin (or cupcake cases) and bake for 40 minutes (or 20 minutes if making cupcakes) or until the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave to cool slightly in tin before turning out onto wire cooling rack to cool completely. Ice when cold.

Lemon frosting
250g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
a couple of drops of yellow food colouring
25ml whole milk

Beat all ingredients except milk until well combined. Turn the mixer down low and slowly pour in milk. Once the milk is incorporated, turn the mixer speed up and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, at least five minutes.


  1. Cute cupcakes! Buttercream looks great.

  2. I agree - very cute cupcakes, glad the muffin tins are being put to good use. I must keep up with the rest of the lovely wee days team and try making the rhubarb custard cake too x

  3. These look so good. The icing looks like it would be so yummy! From Jane


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