Rhubarb & Orange Tea Cake

Rhubarb Orange Tea Cake_7906_wm_2x3I should be planning my work schedule for the next two weeks, but I just needed some time out today as I’ve been unwell over the past month.  So I decided to put my time to good use and do a little food prep and get this tea cake recipe posted on the blog, after a couple of months of sweet nothings.

Simple cakes have always been my favourites.  When I want a piece of cake, nothing beats a plain butter cake, tea cake, or pound cake –  without frosting or creams.  I prefer to add some fruit or spice or maybe a little chocolate.  They are the most satisfying cakes to enjoy.  With a coffee.  Because coffee 🙂

Both oranges and rhubarb are abundant and so good right now.  I had to make my rhubarb and orange tea cake again.  If you follow CCM on Instagram you will have seen this cake before.  It’s so good and a lifesaver when I’m at the markets and get a little peckish.  I doubt it will last until Thursday though.

This tea cake has a light crumb as it is made with olive oil instead of butter. I do love my olive oil cakes.  I have made this with both sugar and with Natvia Baking Mix (a stevia based sweetener) and the results are perfect either way.

As my oven has yet to be replaced, I am still experiencing problems from time to time with uneven temperature during baking and this makes for inconsistent results.  You will notice the amount of browning on the sides and bottom of the cake.  It’s the first time it has occurred with this cake so I’ve been lucky until today.  It does brown nicely and the little crust is wonderful on the sides, but the base is generally not this brown 😦

Never fear.  The perfect result can be seen on my Instagram feed from the last time I made it, here.

Rhubarb Orange Tea Cake_7897_wm_2x3Rhubarb Orange Tea Cake_7909_wm_2x3

Note that this recipe is dairy free and can easily be adapted to be totally low FODMAP and gluten free, if required.  I have also included a higher protein variation in the options included with the recipe.  If you make the proteinised version, each serve contains 158kcals and 6 grams of protein with only 14 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of fat and very little sugar and saturated fats.

I hope you enjoy the recipe!


Rhubarb & Orange Tea Cake

Yield: 1 x 20cm square or round cake

Serving Size: 1/8 cake

You won’t need the whole bunch of rhubarb for this recipe. Every time I have made it, I’ve used about 75% of a bunch, but it all depends on the size and thickness of the stalks. Any leftover rhubarb can be cut into chunks or lengths and roasted, poached or used to make a bit of curd. I poach it with vanilla and orange and serve it alongside this cake with yoghurt or cream. It is also great on top of porridge, or just stirred into a bowl of yoghurt and topped with roasted almonds.

The raw sugar on top is entirely optional. I add it to slightly caramelise on top of the rhubarb as the cake bakes. It gives a little extra depth of flavour, without adding much sugar at all. You can leave it out if you wish.

This recipe is dairy free so a great option for anyone with lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy.


1 bunch rhubarb, trimmed

104 grams whole egg (shelled weight)

100 grams Natvia Baking Mix (or other granulated stevia sweetener or sugar)

zest of 1 small orange

5 grams (1 teaspoon) vanilla bean paste

140 grams plain flour

8 grams (2 teaspoons) baking powder

50 grams orange juice, freshly squeezed

50 grams extra virgin olive oil (a light, fruity style works best)

15 grams raw sugar (optional)


Preheat the oven to 180℃. Line the base and sides of a 20cm (8 inch) square cake tin and set aside. You can use a round cake tin if you prefer.

Weigh and measure out all the ingredients, except the rhubarb, and set aside.

Wash the trimmed rhubarb stalks and cut into 6cm lengths. If the stalks are very thick, cut them down the middle lengthwise so that all stalks are more evenly sized. Set these aside while you prepare the batter.

In a mixing bowl, add the eggs, Natvia sweetener (or sugar), orange zest, and vanilla.

If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix the batter. Beat on low to medium speed until the sweetener (or sugar) dissolves and the mixture is pale and light.

Sift the flour with the baking powder.

Add half the flour mixture to the eggs and beat until well incorporated and the batter is smooth.

Add the orange juice and olive oil to the batter and beat on low speed until the batter is smooth.

Add the rest of the flour and beat again on medium speed until the batter is smooth.

Transfer the batter to the prepared cake tin.

Top the cake with the rhubarb stalks, using 3 pieces across one length. Keep the stalks right next to each other and do not press them into the cake.

Finally, if you wish, sprinkle the raw sugar on top of the rhubarb.

Bake the cake for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let cool before removing and transferring to a serving plate.

This cake will keep fresh for several days if stored in an airtight container, at room temperature.


I love this cake and make variations of it all the time, as follows:

Protein Version: If you wish make this cake a little more macro friendly, simply substitute 110 grams of plain flour plus 30 grams of whey protein concentrate for the 140 grams of flour in the recipe. This will lower the carb content by a few grams per serve and will increase the protein by about the same amount. Use an unflavoured or vanilla whey concentrate, as other flavours will not suit this cake.

Gluten Free and Low FODMAP: This recipe works really well with a good gluten free flour used in place of the wheat flour. I really like the White Wings GF flour but use the one you get the best results with when baking.