Tart rhubarb, a sweet and nutty crumb topping, and a soft moist cake below. How can you go wrong? You can’t! This rhubarb coffee cake is great for dessert, for breakfast, and for snacking anytime. Grab a cup of coffee, a slice of cake and relax.
I adore baking with rhubarb and look forward to the first stalks showing up in the spring. I make sorbet and muffins and scones and custard pie, along with so many other recipes! And, of course, this coffee cake, which has been a fixture in our house in the spring for several years now. I love the soft, buttery crumb of the cake contrasted with the sourness of the rhubarb above and then the tasty, crumb topping to finish it off. Yum! 🙂
Believe me when I say that the family was fighting over the who would get the first slice of this cake. (Full disclosure: I did. It’s a perk of being the one taking the photos. They didn’t have to wait long though.) As soon as I got the shot I wanted of a forkful of cake, I sat down with my coffee and enjoyed. Then, since I’m a nice person, I called everyone else and let them have a piece too.
If you can, get thin stalks of rhubarb. The thin stalks are a little sweeter and have more flavor. You can see this when you are cutting them up. The thin stalks will be pink in the center, while larger stalks will be white. Don’t fear, though! Even if all you have available are larger stalks, this rhubarb coffee cake will still be awesome.
And one more thing. The rhubarb and sugar mixture is going to be quite liquidy. Do not worry about this. This perfectly normal and nothing to be afraid of. 🙂 Just spread out the rhubarb and put the crumb topping over it. The liquid from the sugar and orange juice will serve to keep the cake below beautifully moist and flavor it with citrus and any juices from the rhubarb.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- ¾ lb (about 5 medium stalks) rhubarb, cut in ¾-inch slices
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
- ¼ c packed brown sugar
- ⅓ c pecans
- ⅛ tsp table salt
- Butter (for the pan)
- Flour (for the pan)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cool room temperature (60F)
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ⅓ cup milk
- Set the oven at 350F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Dust it with flour, shaking out the excess.
- In a small bowl rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers. Add the rhubarb and orange juice, toss, and set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, butter, brown sugar, pecans, and salt. Process until well combined. Then put the crumb topping into the refrigerator while you make the cake.
- In a bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- With a standing mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter at medium speed for 2 minutes until light and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes more. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer set on low, mix in the flour mixture just until the dry ingredients are blended. Add the milk and mix just until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula.
- Spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Distribute the rhubarb over the batter and spread the crumb topping over the rhubarb.
- Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with only a few crumbs attached.