Saturday, May 27, 2017

Easiest Rhubarb Cake: a spring favorite #recipe #mystery #giveaway

Thanks to Sheila  Connolly for the reminder earlier this month that the rhubarb in our backyard can turn into something delicious.  We have an exuberant plant!  Have learned a few things about harvesting it:  twist off the stalks, don’t cut.  Harvest before it ‘flowers’ or the rhubarb will be tough.  Discard the leaves: they can be toxic.  And the good news: rhubarb loves the freezer.  

Easiest Rhubarb Cake


2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
½ cup plus one tablespoon sugar
½ cup plus one tablespoon flour
1 – 2 tablespoons chilled butter
1 cup chopped fresh (or frozen rhubarb)
¾ tsp good quality vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract


Chop the rhubarb.

Beat eggs until light and fluffy. 

Gradually beat in sugar until thick. Add vanilla and almond extract. Beat in flour (don’t overbeat) Ooops! This photo has vanished!

Pour into greased 8 inch baking pan.  

Arrange a layer of rhubarb on the top.  Top with dabs of butter.  I like to use these little red pans I got more than twenty years ago in England.  The cakes do turn out better if you make one at a time, rather than doubling the recipe. I don’t know why.   Of course they can bake together.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.   

When the cake is cool, dust with icing sugar.  The sweetness counteracts the tartness of the rhubarb.

Serve as is or with whipping cream or ice cream.  I think it would be nice with some lemon zest added too.  I'll do that next time and, of course, there is always a next time with this little cake. 

The rhubarb cake freezes beautifully. I usually freeze the second one if I can save it in time. And now on to related topics: tulips. Ottawa,  mysteries and giveaway.

May is our month for rhubarb but it's also our month for tulips and in Ottawa, we have the Tulip Festival which is at the heart of my first published mystery: Speak Ill of the Dead, a Camilla MacPhee book.   

Of course, being a lawyer and victims' advocate, Camilla is a bit grumpy and doesn't care for all those tulips or tourists. Now she's trying to save her friend, Robin, from murder charges.  I still like tulips though and I am still happy with my first book. To honor its May origins I will have a draw from your comments today.  Tell me why YOU would like to read a book about a grumpy lawyer with an interfering family living in Canada's capital or just say something about rhubarb or cake and your name goes in the hat.  I look forward to hearing from you!  If you have already read it, we can make a deal.  DON'T FORGET TO INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL!

Mary Jane Maffini is the author of thirteen books in three mystery series and co-author of the book collector mysteries along with her daughter, Victoria, writing as Victoria Abbott.

Here are the Camilla MacPhee books Be careful: may contain humor, difficult relatives and the world's worst office assistant.  Also animals.

Visit MJ at and MJ and Victoria at  Victoria Abbott

You can friend her on   FACEBOOK.

MJ and Victoria are happy to give you the news on their e-newsletter:  Sign up HERE



  1. The book sounds like a great read; and I LOVE rhubarb! Such a versatile ingredient and perfect for a summer cake recipe.

  2. I do I love rhubarb! The recipes look de
    licious! Thank you for sharing!

  3. I'd like to read about a grumpy lawyer because she's trying to save her friend ROBIN from murder charges! ;) I'm not crazy about tons of tourists either, but I do love tulips! My mom used to make the best rhubarb pie! Your cake recipe sounds yummy! Thanks!

  4. I have a rather mature and robust rhubarb plant, myself. My family loves rhubarb and we are always on the lookout for new recipes. Thanks for sharing yours.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  5. I am a grumpy lawyer with too much rhubarb so this cozy and recipe are perfect.

  6. A grumpy lawyer sounds like a wonderful read. And rhubarb, my favorite memory of my granmda, making pie in the summer. Can't wait!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. my best friend is from Ottawa, and she talks about the tulips,i'd love to read about them, also, i like grumps, so this book sounds like a lot of fun.

  9. I like tulips of all colors. I love to see those pictures that show fields and fields of tulips in bloom. The book sounds good too.+

  10. My mom always liked rhubarb pie so I will have to show her this recipe. I might even eat it too. Not opposed to rhubarb flavor just how stringy it seemed in my grandma's pies. The cake looks pretty delish! And the book sounds pretty cool so yeah I would be interested barbie17 (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. Mmmm rhubarb! We do rhubarb pie often but this looks like a winner too, I will have to try it this weekend! And I have to admit that I've not seen your books before, but summer is a great time to take on a new series!

  12. I live in Dartmouth, NS and I love reading stories by Canadian authors set in Canada. Also, while I really hate rhubarb, I think I can substitute blueberries quite easily, so I'm going to try your recipe 😍

  13. Having had to deal with a grumpy lawyer, regarding my Mother's Estate, I'd like to read a mystery with a grumpy lawyer, especially if he ends up being the victim! I'm not fond of rhubarb but this cake sounds like one I would try. I usually use rhubarb in a jelly made with canned pie filling and flavored gelatin dbahn(at)iw(dot)net

  14. I like rhubarb but it's hard to find in the stores here.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  15. Now that I've finally made friends with rhubarb, I'll have to try this!

  16. My sister loves rhubarb. I'm going to give her this recipe. Ithink I will try it . too. Thanks!
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  17. I love Ottawa, especially in the summer. Perfect place for a holiday and so much to do and see. Rhubarb is wonderful in pies, muffins and as a topping when cooked like applesauce. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  18. The recipe sounds good. The book sounds better I'll have to give both a try.

  19. Wonderful and enticing recipe. I will be making this cake this summer. Who could resist rhubarb? I would enjoy the book since it involves Ottawa, a very special and unique city. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  20. Well, I'm not a lawyer but I can be pretty grumpy. And after growing up with the difficult family my goal was to BE the difficult family. Kidding. Mostly. As for the rhubarb? I was so thrilled the last time at COSTCO - mini-strawberry-rhubarb pies! Yay. It is still a huge amount of food but easily justifiable because I wasn't eating one enormous pie. Thanks for the giveaway. xx

  21. I worked for a number of years for a very kind and caring lawyer so it would be interesting to read a out a grumpy sort. We had a lot if rhubarb in our garden before we retired and moved into a Cindi where we cannot plant anything but herbs or flowers in pots. Love rhubarb desserts and also use it in a couple of u usual reciows too. So delicious.
    Would live a copy if your latest book,. Thank you for the chance. Cynthia ceblain (AT) tmlponline (DOT) net

  22. Each interfering family is interfering in its own way! I adore rhubarb (my late grandmother grew it in her garden in Kansas.) I'd be delighted to win this book! rebarger at bellsouth dot net

  23. Sounds like a wonderful summer read. A grumpy lawyer sounds like an interesting main character.
    I sent this recipe to my daughter as her rhubarb crop is flourishing already. Looking forward to reading your book. Thanks for the great giveaway

  24. MJ/Victoria - lovely post. I remember my mother enjoying rhubarb and I couldn't wrap my tastebuds around it, but I bet it makes a terrific cake, and anything that freezes well is "gold." Hugs, ~ Daryl (Sharing your giveaway on twitter.)

    1. thanks, Daryl! The sweetness of the cake counteracts the tartness of the rhubarb!

  25. I had never eaten rhubarb until about two years ago when I tried Noosa Rhubarb and Strawberry yogurt. Now I am a big fan, and definitely need to try this recipe!

  26. I've misplaced my super easy rhubarb cake recipe---so I must try this one. Thanks for the book contest.

  27. Great recipe. It's a keeper. Thanks

  28. "a book about a grumpy lawyer with an interfering family living in Canada's capital " AND written by you? What more do I need?!
    I don't remember when I had rhubarb, but it did not leave me with any fond memories. I'm thinking bitter and slimy? Or am I mixing it up with okra?
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

    1. LOL! Rhubarb is quite tart, but hasn't seemed bitter. Okra on the other hand .... Hugs MJ