Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Rhubarb Honey Cakes with Rose – aka Nonnettes

Rhubarb Honey Cakes flavoured with rose aka Nonnettes.

These delicious rhubarb honey cakes, known as nonnettes in France are lightly flavoured with rose. They’re made with the addition of rye flour but without eggs. This gives them an almost silky mouthfeel with a delightfully soft texture.

When I found that rhubarb had been picked for the One Ingredient blogging event in April, I so wanted to take part. But our rhubarb was ailing and I just can’t bring myself to buy something that we used to produce in prodigious quantities on our old allotment plot.

The other day, however, my mother, called in with stack of rhubarb from her garden. Luckily we had given her some of the plants from our old plot. Hooray, the one ingredient challenge might be over, but I could bake with rhubarb.

Since I saw the rose and rhubarb combination over at Laura of How to Cook Good Food, I’ve been itching to try it. My only dilemma was in what form?


Actually, the dilemma was easily solved. Turned out my one remaining duck egg supplier was attending a wedding this week and I had run out of eggs. I needed an egg-free bake. Bingo! Nonnettes it had to be. Not exactly a hardship in my experience. Since I first tried nonnettes back in December, I’ve become enraptured with these very tasty honey cakes.

Nonnettes are individual egg-free cakes originally made by French nuns in Dijon. The name, in fact, means “little nuns”.

What with friands as well as madeleines, the French are little cake bakers par excellence.

Roasted Rhubarb Jam

This is a really easy way to make a quick rhubarb jam. It won’t keep for ever as normal jam would, but it will keep for a month in the fridge if you keep it well sealed. All you need to do is place the rhubarb, sugar and rose water or rose syrup into an oven proof dish and roast in the oven for thirty minutes.

Roasted Rhubarb Jam

Spoon into a sterilised jar and seal. Here’s a useful link if you need a reminder on how to sterilise glass jars.

Roasting really brings out the flavour of the rhubarb. It also tends to come out a nicer colour too. The jam will thicken as it cools. You can use it in these nonnettes, spoon it onto puddings such as semolina, spread it on toast or indulge with some scones and cream.

Rhubarb Honey Cakes with Rose

I was quite excited at coming up with a nonnette nouvelle. The combination of rose and roasted rhubarb jam has probably never been used before. This in conjunction with some delicious Cornish honey, ought to be irresistible, I thought. As we still had quite a bit of cake in the house from my recent Clandestine Cake Club event, I used half the normal quantities to make six rather than twelve individual cakes.

Rhubarb nonnette - halved.

These rhubarb honey cakes turned out even better than I could have wished. After the first bite, I was very much regretting that I only made six. They were absolutely scrummy and as CT stated later, tasted French. I think this was a compliment.

They have a lovely soft texture which I attribute to the presence of rye flour. The rose makes its presence felt but isn’t in the least overpowering. And it contasts well with the distinctive tartness of the rhubarb. The roasted rhubarb jam was a delight in itself and has adorned various slices of toast all this week.

Other Rhubarb Cakes You Might Like

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Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make these rose flavoured rhubarb honey cakes, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

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Rhubarb Honey Cakes - egg-free individual French cakes.

Rhubarb Honey Cakes – The Recipe

Rhubarb Honey Cakes flavoured with rose aka Nonnettes.
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Rhubarb Honey Cakes Flavoured with Rose

These delicious individual French cakes, known as nonnettes, are lightly flavoured with rose. They’re made with the addition of rye flour but without eggs. This gives them an almost silky mouthfeel with a delightfully soft texture.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: cakes, egg-free, honey, rhubarb, rose, rye flour
Servings: 6 cakes
Calories: 303kcal


Roasted Rhubarb Jam

  • 300 g rhubarb (I used 4 sticks)
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 50 g golden caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar)


  • 40 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g good quality honey (I used local Cornish runny honey)
  • 50 g light brown sugar
  • 50 ml milk
  • 50 ml water (I used 40ml water and 10ml of homemade rhubarb liqueur)
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 50 g wholemeal rye flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ small orange - zest
  • 25 g white chocolate - chopped


  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • orange juice or rhubarb liqueur
  • 1 drop rose water


Roasted Rhubarb Jam

  • Wash & trim the rhubarb then chop into 1 cm lengths.
  • Place into a greased Pyrex dish and sprinkle a teaspoon of rose water over the top.
  • Spoon the sugar over the rhubarb.
  • Roast in a preheated oven at 200℃ (400℉, Gas 6) for 30 minutes.
  • Leave to cool, then spoon into a sterilised jar.


  • Melt the butter in a medium sized pan.
  • Add the honey and sugar.
  • Turn off the heat and add the milk, water, rose water and rhubarb liqueur (if using).
  • Stir until smooth then leave to cool.
  • Grind the seeds from the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.
  • Add the cardamom and the grated zest from the orange.
  • Stir in the chocolate pieces.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in the honey mixture. Stir until all combined.
  • Divide the mixture between six buttered silicone muffin moulds and leave in the fridge for an hour.
  • Place a teaspoonful of rhubarb jam on the top of each one.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) for 20 minutes.
  • Leave to cool, then turn out.


  • Mix the icing sugar with a little of the orange juice or rhubarb liqueur (I used homemade liqueur) and a drop of rose water to form a slightly runny icing.
  • Drizzle over the cakes whilst still warm.


Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on exact ingredients used.


Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 119mg | Potassium: 347mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 256IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 1mg


When I made these egg-free rhubarb nonnettes, I had not one, not two, not three, but four blog challenges in mind. Here they are:

Simple and in Season – a monthly challenge to get us to cook uncomplicated food using seasonal ingredients by Ren of Fabulicious Food. This month it is being guest hosted by Urvashi of The Botanical Baker. Rhubarb is in season right now, so these rhubarb and rose honey cakes fit in nicely.

Alpha BakesCaroline Makes and Ros of The more than occasional baker take it in turns to pick a random letter from the alphabet which inspires the theme of the bake. This month Caroline picked H and my H is for Honey Cakes.

Tea Time Treats – the fabulously sugar overloaded monthly tea time party run alternately by Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked. The theme this month is floral. Rose is my flower of choice. This is because I love roses as mentioned in previous posts and one of the reasons why I chose rose as one of the We Should Cocoa challenges.

Made with Love Mondays – Javelin Warrior’s weekly challenge to get everyone making dishes from scratch from Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w / Luv.



  1. laura@howtocookgoodfood

    17th May 2012 at 8:51 am

    Wow, this mat just be a flavour sensation! I love the sound of your nonettes and didn’t know you could make rhubarb liqueur. I must keep that in mind for when our rhubarb patch is in full flourish next spring.
    What a clever recipe and one I will be trying out for myself, love it! xx

    • Choclette

      18th May 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Laura, thank you. The flavour combination was yours, but it does work so very well in these gorgeous cakes. We’ve just planted some new rhubarb, so maybe in a year or two we’ll get lucky. Rhubarb liqueur is dead easy to make. It’s just a case of chopping some rhubarb up into a jar, adding sugar to taste and filling with vodka. Leave for at least 6 months and longer if you can. You could always add a vanilla pod to it too.

  2. Alida

    17th May 2012 at 11:25 am

    These are really good cakes. I love the flavour of honey, surely better than sugar! X

    • Choclette

      18th May 2012 at 2:25 pm

      Yes Alida you are so right. Honey has at least got some health giving properties and it does taste so good.

  3. Alicia (foodycat)

    17th May 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I had rhubarb jam in a cafe this morning, and it was so good I am now craving rhubarb EVERYTHING! These nonettes look lovely.

    • Choclette

      18th May 2012 at 4:12 pm

      Know what you mean. I’m feeling rhubarb deprived. I’ve been used to having too much of it in the past and now we don’t have it growing any more, it’s a bit desperate. This jam was so easy to do, I shall be making more next time I get my hands on some.

  4. Javelin Warrior

    17th May 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I love the multi-tasking this recipe accomplished! I’ve never baked with rose water before but it sounds like it would be good with rhubarb. And I love how you managed to work in a little chocolate 😉 Thanks so much for sharing with Made with Love Mondays…

    • Choclette

      18th May 2012 at 4:14 pm

      I’m not usually this organised JW, so I was feeling rather pleased with myself 😉 Rose can be an acquired taste (although I love it), but it really works with some things and rhubarb is one of them. And of course I have to get a bit of chocolate in somewhere!

  5. chilliandchai

    17th May 2012 at 6:41 pm

    I’m about to put rhubarb in the oven, glad I stopped to read this first, will definitely be adding rosewater! Beautiful combination.

    • Choclette

      18th May 2012 at 4:16 pm

      It’s all in the timing! Glad it worked for you.

  6. Working london mummy

    17th May 2012 at 8:51 pm

    these look lovely, so delicious and a great combination of flavours. Your friand and nonette posts have inspired me to cook some Lemony friands today for this months One Ingredient challenge!

    • Choclette

      18th May 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Ooh now lemon friands sound really good – look forward to seeing those.

  7. Baking Addict

    17th May 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Thank you for entering these to Alphabakes! A lovely entry – I love the combination of rose, rhubarb and honey. Your nonnettes look so cute! You’ve almost beat me with the number of challenges entered with 1 recipe 🙂 Well done on the multi-tasking!

    • Choclette

      18th May 2012 at 4:19 pm

      Ros, it was you that inspired me to enter so many in one go – I wouldn’t want to take the title of champion from you 😉

  8. thelittleloaf

    18th May 2012 at 6:47 am

    You always make such gorgeous little cakes using really interesting flavours. I love the idea of combining tart rhubarb with floral honey and rose.

    • Choclette

      18th May 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Yes, I want to try and find all the classic little French cakes and give them a go, but I don’t really know how to find them. There don’t seem to be any books about it, only patisserie which I love to eat, but not to make! This was a lovely combination which I really must remember.

  9. Jacqueline

    18th May 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Those sound amazing Choclette. And wow, the flavours. Amazing!

  10. Karen S Booth

    18th May 2012 at 8:40 pm

    FABULOUS cakes and I am SO impressed that these cakes fitted FOUR blog challenges! LOL! Good for you! I LOVE Nonnettes, our local patisserie stocks them! THANKS for this fab Tea Time Treats entry.

  11. Caroline

    19th May 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Oh, thanks for reminding me about the nonettes – I meant to make them when you first posted them. Must get round to it. Bookmarking this post to remind me! Love the sounds of your flavour combo too.

  12. Janice

    19th May 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Thank you for this recipe. My rhubarb is at it’s peak just now, so I could do to make something with it. Probably make a variation on this rather than with the rose flavour, will let you know how i get on.

  13. celia

    19th May 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Sounds like a fabulous combination of flavours, Choc! You’re always so creative! 🙂

  14. Kit @ i-lostinausten

    22nd May 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Lovely cake with all the flavor that I love! Glad to find another rhubarb recipe coz I’m actually looking for some rhubarb recipes. I’ve just planted a rhubarb in our veg patch! And again another amazing recipe from you, Choclette! Have a lovely day! 🙂

  15. Phil in the Kitchen

    22nd May 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Nice variation on the old nonnette – sounds delicious. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a rhubarb version before.

  16. cakeboule

    23rd May 2012 at 9:34 pm

    These were what you were talking back a while ago – I have never made any of the nonnette or madelines but I am going to – love the fact they are egg free as I have not done that yet!

  17. Homeandfood

    29th June 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Rhubarb and rose are flavours that are perfect for summer, these look really good.
    Never tried making nonnettes myself but will have a go soon hopefully.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  18. Lucy Taylor

    11th February 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Rhubarb is so underrated – and so easy to grow! Ths recipe looks divine.


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