a cake for the weekend :: rhubarb shortbread


I went to the farm shop in search of Seville oranges for my annual batch of marmalade, but when I came across a box of the thinnest, pinkest young forced rhubarb, I couldn’t possibly resist. I felt compelled to make a batch of this, my stalwart rhubarb recipe. If you happen to have been a reader of my craft blog (back in the day), you may find this recipe familiar. I make no apologies for posting it a second time, however. It’s an utter delight (assuming that you like rhubarb, of course…)



Rhubarb Shortbread is a recipe that I cut out of a magazine years ago, I really can’t remember which one. I do have an inkling that it may have been written by Nigella – the parting instruction to “eat it with a cup of tea and a delirious grin” sounds very much like her, I always think, as does the (completely accurate) description: “juicy, aromatic, buttery and irresistible”. At any rate, this is how you make it…


For the shortbread:

125g butter

125g plain flour

25g cornflour

2 level tablespoons sieved golden icing sugar

For the topping:

250g rhubarb (3-4 sticks)

2 large eggs

25g plain flour

200g demerara sugar

a few drops of vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 180ºC, 350ºF, gas mark 4.

First, make the shortbread. Mix together the butter, plain flour, cornflour and icing sugar  until the mixture comes together to form a dough.

Line a 23cm (9in) square tin, 4cm (1.5 in) deep with foil. Press the shortbread evenly into the bottom of the tin. Prick with a fork and cook for 15-20 minutes until beginning to brown around the edges.

Chop the rhubarb into small pieces. In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add the flour, the demerara sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract.

Stir in the rhubarb and spread the topping evenly over the shortbread base. Return it to the oven and cook for a further 40 minutes, or until the top is set and golden brown.

Allow to cool in the tin, then cut into pieces. Enjoy it with a cup of tea. A delirious grin is optional, but highly likely.

{Oh, and you can see snippets of me baking this over on Instagram, as part of my Scenes from the Weekend. I’m experimenting with making mini movies, thanks to Xanthe Berkeley’s inspiring new Make Films course.}

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  • i scribbled this recipe down the first time I found it on your blog and it has been a favourite ever since. A favourite at this time of year… Along with Seville Oranges of course!

  • Thanks so much for the Xanthe Berkeley Make Films comment – one of her e-courses is exactly what I have been looking for but didn’t know existed! Looking at her website just made me shiver with excitement – I have just subscribed to her mailing list and plan to do her Make films course in April – Yipee!!!!

  • The rhubarb shortbread is one of the yummiest sweet things I have made in a long time! So good, in fact, that I think I will try the same formula with apple and cinnamon, plums, apricots, blackberries, and any other fruit which cooks well! Thank you very much indeed – seriously delish!