I don’t know about you guys, but I got a TON of rhubarb in my garden this year. So, I decided to make some mid-century desserts with it!


Here is a lovely piece of cake that I made from a vintage handwritten recipe card that I got with a recipe collection I recently bought from eBay.

Lemon Rhubarb Cake
An interesting take on Pillsbury’s Strawberry Shortcut Cake
  • 2 heaping cups mini marshmallows
  • Lemon cake mix
  • 5 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 small pkg raspberry Jell-O
  1. Grease a 9×13 pan and spread marshmallows evenly over the bottom.
  2. Prepare lemon cake mix per box instructions and pour batter over marshmallows.
  3. Mix together rhubarb, sugar and powdered Jell-O. Spoon over cake batter.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.


Here’s the thing about these recipe cards. Many, many, MANY times, the recipe on the handwritten cards isn’t an original recipe at all, but a copied recipe from a cookbook or a promotional recipe that has been adapted or changed. Which I think is fun, since then I get to play detective and figure out the origins of the recipe. But the detection on this one goes to my mom. The handwritten recipe card called this “Lemon Rhubarb Cake” but she recognized it as having its origins in another recipe: Pillsbury’s Strawberry Shortcut Cake.


This scan of the recipe is from my mother’s friend (and my friend!) Carol, who sent me this recipe over a year ago with these notes:

I increased the mini marshmallows to 2 cups and use a cake mix instead of the “from Scratch” cake mix.

I substitute the other fruit choices ( Rhubarb, Raspberries, Apples and Cranberries, etc for the strawberries with equal amounts to the strawberry recipe..

Does that make sense??. The cake is good with any fruit combo..


So, it seems the person who wrote this recipe card had the same ideas as Carol did, changing out the fruit and using a cake mix. This time I used a cake mix, but I am definitely going to make the “from scratch” cake topping next time!







Can you see the marshmallows on the top and the rhubarb on the bottom?? I love mid-century “magic” desserts where the layers rearrange themselves!

Tom TastingIMG_2010

“What do you think?”

“Pretty good. The top tastes like a cake mix with marshmallows on it, but the bottom part is really good.”

The Verdict: Good

From the Tasting Notes:

This was a sweet dessert! Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but there was a lot of sugar in it. The marshmallows were fun in that you put them on the bottom and they rose to the top, but they didn’t really add much in terms of flavor. The bottom layer with the rhubarb was really good and the lemon cake tasted very good with the rhubarb. As an experiment, when I make this again I am going to use the cake base from the Pillsbury recipe, leave out the marshmallows and sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar before I put it in the oven!