Monday, April 18, 2011

Mr Cake's Rice Pudding Birthday Cake

Though he accepts with good humour the very unhealthy baked goods I frequently offer him (to a point - he does like it when I take the rest to work!) Mr Cake definitely has a preference for healthier options - so I thought that for his birthday cake I probably shouldn't go too overboard with the butter. He is also obsessed with rice pudding (most frequently in the form of tinned creamy rice, because of its accessibility, though would definitely rather have the proper homemade kind) - so when I saw this rice cake I thought it seemed apt. It doesn't have any added fat (other than what is already in the milk, egg and almond meal) so has to tick the healthy box, right?

It's pretty simple to put together - unlike the chestnut cream truffles I spent two hours on because Mr Cake has been enjoying chestnuts lately (and which weren't nearly as well-liked as the cake) - and also reasonably cheap, thanks to the lack of butter. 

The base is essentially rice pudding - arborio rice, and milk, cooked for a while - but don't leave your milk unattended while you wrap birthday presents, as it is milk and it will burn badly and be a nightmare to get off the saucepan. ;-) Anyone got any tips for that?

A fringe benefit of the rice pudding base is that there is no flour required, so this cake is completely gluten free, in case that's a dietary requirement for you and yours.

Once the rice is pudding like (assuming you can  resist eating it in that state!) you add a little bit of almond meal, lemon zest, sugar, and egg yolks. You want to be gentle with this mixture so the rice doesn't get too smushed - just gently work the yolk through until it looks custardy and loosens up a bit. Yum!

The egg whites get beaten up to make the cake less dense - then you fold them through the ricey stuff and that's it. Because there's no fat in the cake you do need to make sure your tin is very well greased - I used almond meal to make a bit of a crust (the original recipe recommended panko crumbs), though I think it would be better without this, so long as you slather on the butter.

It's really not a pretty cake at all - in fact I think it's pretty hideous - so you'll definitely want to gussy it up a little. Icing sugar sprinkled over top works wonderfully, and if you wanted a really warming, wintery flavour you could mix a little cinnamon and/or nutmeg in... Or you could drip delicious custard over the top, to make it more pudding-y.

We had ours with some of that delicious Piako yoghurt and it was great - Mr Cake definitely loved it! Me, I'd rather have something with a whole lot of chocolate and butter on my birthday. ;-) Which way would you go?

Rice Pudding Cake (adapted from Cafe Lynnylu)
Butter and almond meal to coat a 22cm springform cake pan
2 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup ground almonds
zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar

Warm the milk, rice and salt over medium heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the milk (but before it is sticky).  Transfer to a bowl and add ground almonds and lemon zest. Lightly beat the egg yolks with the sugar then add to the rice, folding through gently.

Preheat oven to 160 C. Generously brush the springform pan with butter, and if desired sprinkle with almond meal, rotating the pan to coat the inside all over. Shake out any excess.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold them into the rice mixture. Pour into prepared springform pan and bake 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Let stand for 10-20 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely. Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.


  1. I agree... the more chocolate the better. After all, you only get one birthday a year!

  2. I'll say! Mr Cake must be mad. ;-) Mind you, I think our friends enjoyed this too - maybe it's a good everyday cake, because you need some of those up your sleeve, right?

  3. I'm so with you - chocolate and calories all the way -what's the point otherwise!

  4. Indeed! Though he is still swearing by this cake and completely disagrees, I am firmly in the chocolate and calorie camp. :-)

  5. Last night I made this cake, again for my husband who pretends to prefer healthier and less wheaty home baking.
    Instead of lemon zest I added a scant handful of dried cranberries and to make me feel like it was still a tad decadent I added a chopped up regular sized bar of Milky Bar (minus the piece that my husband stole). I omitted the ground almond in the baking tin as you suggested and used brown sugar to enourage a toasty brown look.
    First of all, this is the first time I’d made rice pudding so I thought it was a good first effort. On testing this morning it I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was as I am not a rice pudding fan. Some of the rice was a little firm, next time I will cook it a bit longer or experiment with partly cooked rice. The cranberries didn’t add as much sharpness as I anticipated but added interesting colour instead, next time will add a bigger handful or some dark chocolate chips. The white chocolate added a creamy sweetness. For a tad more chocolatey goodness when I take the rest to work (if there is any left) I will drizzle some warmed nutella over the top.
    My husband decided to eat a quarter of the cake for breakfast with a hot chocolate, and said that as it was clearly a breakfast food it would not infringe on his usual morning tea allocation.
    So all in all a success. Thanks for the recipe, we will be eating this one again.


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