Tart fruit, 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.
As you may know if you’ve visited here before, I adore baking with rhubarb and look forward to the first stalks showing up in the spring.
Rhubarb Coffee Cake
I make rhubarb crisp and sorbet and muffins 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.
Believe me when I say that the family was fighting over the who would get the first slice. (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.
Tips and Tricks
While this recipe is fairly straightforward, I do have a few tips here to help you get this right the first time!
- Thin Stalks – 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.
- Consistency – 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.
- Thawing – If you’re like me, you may have some of last season’s rhubarb cut up and frozen and stored away. It is very important that you completely thaw the fruit before you make the cake. If it isn’t thawed, the cake won’t cook properly and some will be dried out and overdone by the time the rest is fully cooked.
Storing – For best results, keep the cake for 2-3 days at room temperature. Cover loosely so it doesn’t dry out or get soggy. If you want to keep it longer, refrigerate after the first day and it will keep 4-5 days, though it will get dried out and not as tasty.
Freezing – Freeze until firm, then wrap well and put in an airtight container. Will keep 2-3 months.
If you try my recipe for Rhubarb Coffee Cake, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Rhubarb Coffee Cake with a Crumb Topping
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp lemon zest, from one lemon
- 3/4 lb (about 5 medium stalks) rhubarb, cut in 3/4-inch slices
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup pecans
- 1/8 tsp table salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 tbsp 1 stick unsalted butter, cool room temperature (60F)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup milk
- Get Organized: Set the oven at 350F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Dust it with flour, shaking out the excess.
- Make the Rhubarb Filling: In a small bowl rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers. Add the rhubarb and orange juice, toss, and set aside.
- Make the Crumb Topping: 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.
- Make the Cake Batter: 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.
- Assemble the Cake: 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: 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.
- Whole Wheat Flour: I use white whole wheat flour from King Arthur Flour.
- Eggs: To bring the eggs to room temperature quickly, put them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.