Blushing Betty

A Blushing Betty is a rhubarb sponge pudding with a moist and delicious cake baked on top of a luscious rhubarb compote. Recipe with step-by-step photos.

blushing betty rhubarb dessert in white pie diesh

Rhubarb Dessert

There was a time last year when I accidentally ordered 3 kg (6 lb) of rhubarb instead of 3 stalks with my online grocery order. It was one of those errors where, upon realising the magnitude of my mistake, we could only laugh and be thankful that I hadn’t confused the order for, say, broccoli or beetroot.

I was also rather grateful that the mistake pertained to my favourite forced rhubarb which is generally only available from January to March in the northern hemisphere.

Forced rhubarb is the bright pink variety which, when cooked, turns a vivid fuchsia pink. This makes them perfect for using in rhubarb desserts like this Blushing Betty.

blushing betty rhubarb pudding in white pie dish

Blushing Betty

My favourite recipes for rhubarb include my Rhubarb Crumble with Strawberries (which I make at least a dozen times in winter!) and Rhubarb Custard Cake.

As I was looking for more ideas on how to use up my excess rhubarb, I came across a recipe for Blushing Betty in Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion. I fell in love with the name of the dessert and instantly knew that I would love it!

A Blushing Betty is a cake sponge baked on top of stewed rhubarb. In other words, it is like a Rhubarb Crumble but with a sponge topping instead. It is a deliciously comforting rhubarb dessert, perfect on those cold, wintry nights when you need something warming.

blushing betty rhubarb dessert with flaked almonds

Blushing Betty Recipe

This Blushing Betty recipe is loosely based on the recipe I use for Eve’s Pudding, which is made with apples instead of rhubarb.

For this rhubarb dessert, I like to make a simple rhubarb compote using just rhubarb, vanilla sugar and water.

Forced rhubarb is best for this Blushing Betty so that you have that vivid pink contrast against the tender cake sponge. However, regular rhubarb, i.e. the green/red variety, works just as well in this recipe and will taste exactly the same.

blushing betty rhubarb dessert with spoon

How to Make Rhubarb Pudding

Step 1

Make the rhubarb filling by chopping it into 1 cm slices. Place the rhubarb into a large saucepan, together with the sugar and water. Cook the rhubarb over medium heat until the rhubarb softens and starts to break down.

As the rhubarb will continue to cook in the oven, try to not overcook it at this point, so that you still have some chunks of rhubarb in the filling to give a bit of texture to the pudding.

You also want the rhubarb filling to be somewhat moist, i.e. not too thick in texture, so that the resulting pudding is moist and luscious underneath.

Pour the rhubarb into a pie dish with a 1 litre/4 cup capacity.

stewed rhubarb in baking dish

Step 2

Make the batter by creaming the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla, and then add one egg at a time, followed by a tablespoon of flour to help prevent the batter from curdling.

Add the rest of the flour, together with the milk, and beat until you have a thick and smooth batter.

Dollop the batter over the cooked rhubarb, and use a spatula to gently spread the batter. Don’t worry too much about covering the rhubarb completely – the cake will spread and rise as it bakes in the oven.

cake sponge on top of stewed rhubarb in baking dish

Step 3

Generously sprinkle the batter with demerera sugar and flaked almonds.

blushing betty rhubarb dessert before going into oven

Step 4

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the pudding is lightly golden and set in the centre.

Check the pudding at about 25 minutes, and if it is browning too quickly at this stage, loosely cover the pudding with a sheet of foil for the remaining baking time.

blushing betty rhubarb dessert just baked in the oven

What to Serve with Rhubarb Pudding

A soft pouring custard, served warm, goes best with a Rhubarb Pudding or Blushing Betty.

Vanilla ice-cream is also a good option, although my family are often happy to eat this Blushing Betty as it is, like a warm cake.

blushing betty rhubarb dessert on marble surface

More Rhubarb Recipes

If you are looking for more rhubarb recipes, you might also like:

Rhubarb Crumble with Strawberries

Rhubarb Custard Cake

Rhubarb & Vanilla Friands

Print

Blushing Betty

A Blushing Betty is a rhubarb sponge pudding with a moist and delicious cake baked on top of a luscious rhubarb compote. Recipe with step-by-step photos.

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4-6
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Australian

Ingredients

For the rhubarb filling

For the cake topping

To serve

  • vanilla ice-cream or custard

Instructions

For the rhubarb filling

  1. Slice the rhubarb thickly.
  2. Place the rhubarb into a large saucepan, together with the sugar and water.
  3. Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb has softened but still retains some of its shape. Stir frequently to make sure the rhubarb is not sticking to the pan, and to gently break up the rhubarb.
  4. The rhubarb mixture should be relatively thin (i.e. not a thick mixture). If not, add a splash or two of water so that the rhubarb filling is more on the wet side than dry.
  5. Taste the rhubarb to see if you need to add more sugar.
  6. Pour the rhubarb into a baking dish. I generally use one which measures 23 cm/9 inches in diameter or which has a 1 litre (4 cup) capacity.

For the cake topping

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F (without fan).
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the vanilla extract.
  4. Beat in one egg at a time, followed by a tablespoon of the flour to prevent the batter from curdling.
  5. Add the remaining flour and baking powder, as well as the milk.
  6. Beat everything together until you have a thick and smooth batter.

To bake the Blushing Betty

  1. Dollop the batter on top of the rhubarb in the baking dish.
  2. Use a spatula or palette knife to evenly spread the batter. Don’t worry about stretching the batter to completely cover the rhubarb – the batter will spread as it bakes in the oven.
  3. Sprinkle the batter generously with demerera sugar and flaked almonds.
  4. Bake the pudding on the middle shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the pudding is lightly golden and set in the centre.
  5. Check the pudding at about 25 minutes to make sure it is not browning too quickly. If necessary, loosely cover it with a piece of foil.
  6. Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream or custard.

Kitchen Notes

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Did you make this recipe?

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