I searched for rhubarb to bake with all spring this year, as I mentioned in an earlier recipe for galettes. Rhubarb is my favorite spring food to bake with, so I was extremely disappointed but eventually gave up empty-handed. Then suddenly this weekend, at my local grocery store, I was grabbing some vegetables and saw it! A HUGE basket of fresh, red rhubarb for only $1.99 per pound. I stocked up immediately, and have been baking everything I can think of with rhubarb all week.
This crumb cake is easy to make, and topped with the biggest, thickest crumb topping you’ve ever seen. I got the topping idea from Smitten Kitchen, as Deb includes it in some of her recipes. I chose to cut my cake recipe in half and use a 6 inch round dish, but the full recipe below instructs you to use an 8×8 inch dish. This cake is delicious, so it’s never a bad idea to have more than enough!
Baking with Rhubarb
I grew up in a rural area and had huge rhubarb plants on my property, so it’s second nature to me to use it all spring each year. Since moving to Arizona, I’ve found that many people A. Don’t know what rhubarb even is or B. Have never eaten it/cooked with it. If you’re in either of these categories, I highly recommend trying it out ASAP!
It grows in stalks, much like celery or chard. For many recipes (like this one), you’ll be chopping the rhubarb horizontally into small chunks. Rhubarb isn’t a very naturally sweet vegetable, so it’s common to toss the pieces in sugar before adding to any batter. Lots of people like to add strawberries whenever baking with rhubarb. I am not one of these people. Recipes for strawberry-rhubarb pies and cakes are not my favorite because I find that the strong, sweet flavor of the strawberry completely covers the unique rhubarb taste and texture.
- 1/2 c butter
- 1 c sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 c sour cream
- 2 c all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Rhubarb Filling
- 1 1/2 c rhubarb (chopped)
- 1/4 c sugar
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Crumb Topping
- 1/3 c brown sugar
- 1/3 c granulated sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter (melted)
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.
- To make crumbs in a small bowl, stir sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then add flour and mix until combined. (It will look and feel like a solid dough) Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream.
- Stir rhubarb filling in and pour into greased 8x8 inch pan.
- Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. Sprinkle evenly over cake.
- Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan and serve.
Crumb topping from Smitten Kitchen.