strawberry rhubarb buttermilk pudding cake

strawberry rhubarb buttermilk pudding cake

We are, believe it or not, in the full throes of spring. I know, I know, those of us living in the Northeast are still wearing sweaters and can’t leave home without our umbrellas, but spring with its bounty and harvest has certainly arrived. Just look at the offerings at your farmers markets. My eyes (and heart!) leap at mere sight of the bounty: strawberries! rhubarb! sugar snap peas! asparagus! I can’t resist putting an exclamation point behind each of these because I am so excited to finally see these guys in season. Much as I love a good curry or soup, it’s finally nice to have more than just root vegetables in season. No offense to all the turnips and parsnips out there.

strawberries at the market

So when I finally got out to the Prospect Park farmers market this past Saturday (thanks to Jennie for bringing me along!), I nearly lost my mind. The smells alone render you faint with excitement. I pretty much gathered all the produce I could get my hands on. I also bought some meat and leaf lard from these guys as well for some future delicious experiments.

You know how sometimes you read a recipe through and you realize how good it’s going to be when you make it, and then a flash of brilliance goes through your mind and you figure out a way to make it even better. And then you make the recipe, hoping, praying that it does, indeed, deliver fabulous results. Lastly, you taste, worrying that instead of what you’re hoping to be the most winning recipe ever, you have on your hands an epic fail. And then, when you finally taste your creation, you want to dance around your apartment, squealing for joy, because what you made is not only amazing, but happens to be way better than anything you could have even anticipated in your mind’s palate.


This is such a recipe. Words elude me, my dear readers, because this is so breathtakingly good, and so breathtakingly easy, things like this, at least in the kitchen, should be illegal. You almost feel shame, yes shame, for creating something so delicious and yet with so little fuss. In fact, and this is my favorite sentence to write of all today, the whole thing comes together without the use of a mixer. So if you’re lacking one, or want to lessen that carbon footprint, or just want something unfussy to cook for your next Sunday supper, this recipe here is for you.


The cake name itself is like a great seduction song to my senses. Strawberries! Rhubarb! Buttermilk! Pudding! Cake! Now put these words together and what you get is something that is transcendent: Strawberry Rhubarb Buttermilk Pudding Cake. Like a sweet nothing, a whisper in your ear. Much like the pumpkin bread pudding souffle I keep waxing poetic about Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving (and the most requested holiday dish to date!), this is going to be filed under of “now-why-didn’t-anyone-think-of-this-earlier” or “I’m-going-to-have-to-make-up-for-lost-time-and-eat-lots-of-this”.

stewing the rhubarbfruit, batter, fruit

I’ll claim part genius to this recipe since the buttermilk addition is my idea. The original recipe calls for regular milk, but I had some leftover buttermilk nearing its expiration date, and thought, if anything, it was going to add to the depth of flavor to this cake. And so, I substituted the buttermilk in, and hoped and prayed that it would work. It did. And then some. And what I’ve got now is a recipe that I want to make over and over. I want to serve it straight out of the oven and pour cream over it. I want to serve it at room temperature with some coffee. I want to drop a big dollop of ice cream on top and enjoy it as an afternoon snack. But most of all, I want to share it with you, if not in the physical I’m-going-to-put-a-slice-on-your-plate way, then here, on these pages. It’s not quite as nice as having you over for a Sunday supper, but it’s the next best thing.

strawberry rhubarb buttermilk pudding cake

Rhubarb Strawberry Pudding Cake
Adapted from Gourmet Today

1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
2 cups chopped rhubarb stalks (about 3-4 stalks)
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 cup AP flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (don’t discard the butter wrapper, use it to butter the baking dish!)
1 tsp vanilla extract


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400F. Butter an 8 inch square glass or ceramic baking dish, using the butter wrapper from your stick of butter – it’ll have enough butter for adequately buttering the dish.

In a small saucepan, stir together water, cornstarch and 1/2 cup sugar, then stir in rhubarb to coat evenly. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once simmering, stir occasionally and let cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in strawberries. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and remaining sugar.

In a large bow, whisk together egg, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture until just combined – careful do not overmix.

Add 1/2 cup of the fruit mixture to the baking dish, spreading it evenly over the bottom of the dish. Pour batter over fruit, spreading it evenly. Don’t just pour the batter in one spot, pour it over fruit throughout the dish and then use a spatula to make sure it’s spread out evenly. If you just dump the batter into one spot and then try to distribute the batter throughout, you’ll run into mixing the fruit with the batter. Spoon the rest of the fruit mixture over the batter, making sure to distribute that evenly as well.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until a wooden toothpick or a cake tester inserted into center of cake (not fruit!) comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a rack for 5 minutes before serving.


  • Winnie

    So lovely! “Pudding cake” sounds so moist and delicious! I admit I am a little rhubarb-ed out (I love it but made so many recipes over the last few weeks, I am just over it), but strawberries, I can never tire of, and they are now ripening in my garden…

  • baahar

    Oh my !! This pudding cake looks delicious !!

    I will make it when I have guests over, because those are the only times when I use white sugar and white flour in my cooking/baking.

    And I love the 1. and 2. photos :)

  • Kate F

    This looks absolutely scrumptious! I too could find many times of day to enjoy this cake. Also, photos are gorg!

  • Alyssa

    I’ve been hunting for something sweet to make with the strawberries and rhubarb I picked up at the farmers market this weekend, and I think i’ve finally found the one! But I think there might be a small error in the recipe. It says “1 1/1 tsp cornstarch,” what exactly is 1 1/1 tsp? thanks!

  • emily

    MMM, yum! I made something similar ! I was inspired by gourmet’s recipe as well : ) I love the strawberries that are involved in this! Too bad it isn’t strawberry season here yet!

    Great photos and recipe! Thanks!

  • Amanda

    I am liking your idea of vanilla ice cream on top. That sounds like the best idea ever. And I am drooling over my farmers market strawberries too. So plump and juicy!

  • Jamie

    Oh, I am right there on the “YAY it turned out fantastic” dance! And boy this cake looks perfect! Scrumptious! And the kind of fruity cake husband loves for breakfast and I for snacking. I have so been into the strawberry-rhubarb thing this past month that I must try this recipe. Excellent!

  • Beth @ 990 Square

    I’m having a similar experience these days at our local farmer’s market. There’s so much produce after such a long winter that I just want to hoard it…all of it! As for strawberries and rhubarb, you can never go wrong there. The only problem? Deciding which recipe to make next!

  • Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

    I hear ya on those root veggies and soups. I’m in Denver and can’t wait to hit the farmer’s market this weekend to see what anew. I just got back from California where strawberries and cherries were abundant. Warm weather states have it good.

  • Lauren

    Although I made a completely different version of this (tapioca pudding and whatnot), it was delicious! Thank you so much for this recipe – it’s absolutely fantastic :), and has so much room for possibility.

  • Natasa

    Sadly, I can’t find any rhubarb where I live (Croatia), I have never even tried it…imagine…
    Any idea what I could use instead of it in this recipe?

  • emiglia

    I love your enthusiasm… makes me want to try this right away! Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait til I have an oven again, but I’m looking forward to it…

  • Radish

    Natasa – you could try a few different berries and maybe add a bit more cornstarch?

    Emiglia – I hope you get that oven soon!!

    Katie – yes, fruit makes it okay for breakfast :)

    Lauren – your looks excellent – I’m glad it worked out well.

  • kamran siddiqi

    The post, the photos, the everything is just gorgeous! I especially love the photo of the strawberries taken at the farmer’s market! The cake looks absolutely scrumptious and is actually making me forget about the palmiers I am currently making with my homemade puff pastry.

  • Jennifer

    Tonight we decided to “whip up” dessert and came across this recipe. We followed it to a T (with local Ontario strawberries and rhubarb) and it was PERFECT. I cannot tell you how amazing his cake was–the taste and texture were to die for. We loved every single bite, and we will definitely be making this one again. Thank you, SassyRadish!

  • Rebecca

    I made a gluten free version of it. Turned out super yummy. I was playing around with my gluten free flour stash and decided to substitute the 1 cup AP flour for
    1/2 cup Millet flour, 1/4 cup brown rice flour and 1/4 cup of Coconut flour, added 1 1/4 tsp Xanthan gum to the mix and proceeded as normal form there. I needed double the amount of Buttermilk though and since I didn’t have any on hand I made some myself using 1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar and 1 cup of organic whole milk.

    It looked beautiful when I took it out of the oven and when we finally eat it it was fantastic. The flavors melted together nicely… I think the coconut was a nice touch and my BF was sad he couldn’t have more..
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Kat

    This is a very good cake – I also made it with local Ontario strawberries, and with rhubarb from my mother’s garden in… BC. Cross-Canada cake!

  • Marie S.

    Yum,Yum,Yummy. I made this on the week-end and it was a great hit. I live in Ottawa Canada and our strawberries aren’t ready yet so it will be that much better with fresh ones. Thanx for the absolutely Delisious recipe. I will certainly make this one again for sure. Thank U SassyRadish.

  • Erin Patterson

    So, after checking the farmers market and two separate stores this weekend…no rhubarb! I substituted blueberries for the rhubarb. Did not add the extra cornstarch but probably should have. Even so, the cake was delicious! Made it for friends and everyone loved it and yes, we all had some for breakfast the next day too! Thanks O!

  • Megan Gordon

    Oh boy! Can you believe I’ve made nothing–absolutely nothing–wth rhubarb yet this year? I don’t know what I’m waiting for…this looks like it could become my favorite thing ever. A pudding cake made with buttermilk? Heavenly. Thanks so much for the nudge: hitting up the farmer’s market in the morning to see what I can find.

  • emily

    just wanted to say i made this DELICIOUS cake tonight after a neighbor brought over some fresh rhubarb from her garden. absolutely divine! thank you.

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