Rhubarb Cake

There must be a rhubarb karma in the world.   In Ottawa last month, I hooked Lianne up with some of the rhubarb from my dad’s garden, and what happens?  The next day I get her rhubarb crisp for breakfast.  Then, in Elmvale last weekend, I ended up with my own bag full of rhubarb from Melissa’s sister Dara.  Cue: cake.

Reasons to make this cake:

Usually I make crisps or pies with rhubarb, but I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and was curious.  Because I was thinking cake, I baked it in my cake pan instead of the 9×12 baking pan that her recipe recommends (whoops), but no harm done – it just took an extra 10 minutes or so in the oven.  The larger pan would make for a thinner, more snack-like cake, in case that’s more your style.  In case you plan on bringing this cake to a party, note – like the pear ginger cake, it keeps well on the counter, but wrap it up and its aesthetic elegance will be gone forever.  That topping holds a grudge.

Rhubarb Cake

slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen


Layer 1:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup yogurt

Layer 2:

1 1/4 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
juice of 1 lemon

Layer 3:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1. Butter a spring-form cake pan (or, alternatively, a 9×12 baking pan) and line it with a square of parchment paper.  Set it aside.

2.  First layer: In a medium bowl, whisk flour with baking powder, salt, & ground ginger.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together butter, remaining sugar, & lemon zest until the batter is light & fluffy.  Mixing after each addition until just combined, add: egg #1; egg #2; 1/3 flour mixture; 1/2 yogurt; 1/3 flour mixture; 1/2 yogurt; 1/3 flour mixture.  Scrape batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.

3.  Second layer: In a medium bowl, combine rhubarb, lemon juice & 2/3 cup sugar.  Scoop it over the cake batter, spreading evenly.

4.  Third layer:  In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, salt & cinnamon.  Use a spoon or fork to incorporate the melted butter.  Sprinkle over the cake.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees until golden and a knife comes out batter-free (50-60 minutes if you opted for a 9×12 pan; 60-70 minutes if you went cake pan).  Cool on rack before lifting the cake out by the parchment paper and serving.

One Comment

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  1. My parents have a rhubarb that was chopped off from my uncle Tom’s. Now passed away, many people who knew him have “Tom’s rhubarb”, so spring always brings fond memories with the rhubarb crop.

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