big-crumb-coffee-cake Recipes

big crumb coffee cake

It took me almost eight months to make this recipe. It took less than two seconds to regret waiting that long. Let this serve as a warning–it doesn’t have to happen to you.

rhubarbrhubarb

This is the Big Crumb Coffee Cake of my dreams, and oh, I have dreamed about this for a very long time–like, 15 years, I’m afraid to say. It dates back to the bakery where I worked in high school that used to fill a sheet tray with gorgeous, cinnamon and brown-sugar clustered buttery crumbs, spread a thin layer of cake doughnut batter over it and, once baked, flip it out onto a tray where it was showered with an avalanche of powdered sugar. The proportions were perfect every time: one-third cake to two-thirds of the kind of rubble that were impossible to walk by without pulling off a piece of crater-leaving telltale sign. Not that I would do a thing like that. Of course not. But I sure did think about it. Honestly, I still do.

rhubarbbarely any cake
protozoa! i mean, rhubarbbig crumb coffee cake

I haven’t found an acceptable substitution since, and please do not even waste my time with these so-called excuses for crumb coffee cakes from the Seinfeld-hoarding Drakes to Entenmann’s. I don’t even want their thin, small and barely-adhered crumbs near my Big Crumb Coffee Cake, lest their mediocrity smudge its splendor: a tangy, impossibly moist, vanilla-flavored cake base ceilinged with hefty crumbs that will make all streusels that came before pale in contrast.

rhubarb big crumb coffee cake

Oh, and rhubarb–or the reason it took me eight months to make this. Before I knew it, the rhubarb were gone from the store last summer and I was stuck waiting until this year’s rhubarb season, which is still months away. I tapped my feet. I marked my calendar. I pondered alternative fillings, ones I think you will enjoy as well, but I really wanted rhubarb. Then last week I saw some at the store–not even great-looking ones, mind you–and I snapped. I had Melissa Clark’s Rhubarb Big Crumb Coffee Cake in front of me in a matter of hours, and even though it is gone–foisted on coworkers and friends and anyone who promised to get it out of my arms reach–I can still smell it. I can still taste it.

I miss it so.

rhubarb big crumb coffee cake

‘Big Crumb’ Coffeecake with Rhubarb
Adapted from The New York Times 6/6/07

Not rhubarb season? Don’t fret. I think this cake would be amazing with a blueberry, raspberry, sour cherry or any other tangy fruit filling you can think of. Simply adjust the sugar level accordingly–most of these will need far less than rhubarb does to make them palatable.

Butter for greasing pan

For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (15 grams) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup (65 grams) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) butter, melted
1 3/4 cups (225 grams) cake flour (I was out and used all-purpose and it worked great)

For the cake:
1/3 cup (80 grams) sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (130 grams) cake flour (ditto on the all-purpose flour–worked just fine)
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.

2. To make crumbs [this step now updated, see comment #150] in a large bowl, whisk sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then, add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will look and feel like a solid dough. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.

3. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.

4. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.

5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

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417 comments on big crumb coffee cake

  1. rachelk

    Oh god, this I think tops the Babka as too too much. I LOVE crumb cake, and rhubarb, and this just has the two great tastes that taste great together thing written all over it! I thought I had reached the pinnacle in crumb cake with the CI’s ultimate crumb cake, but I think I’ll have to try this just to be sure…uh huh…

  2. MissAnna

    That looks fantastic! I grew up with 5 rhubarb bushes in our yard and while I love rhubarb crisp, this certainly looks like a fabulous alternative :-)

  3. deb

    Actually, Clark mentions that she adapted the big crumbs from CI! I bet there are more similarities. However, even though my nostalgia is not for a fruit-filled crumb coffee cake, I loved this and think I will only make it with fruit for now on. (Or chocolate chips, if Alex continues to beg.)

  4. Emma

    This is one of my fav. tea time treats – reminds me of summer. too bad im still living under 4-feet of snow!! My recipe is slightly different, but this one is definitely worth a try. Bring on summer!!

  5. Ali

    Oh yum. This is making me excited for rhubarb season. My dad’s family is from England, and around this time of year, he always reminds me about this crazy festival in honor of rhubarb in Wakefield, England. He’s coming to CA to visit me next weekend. I’ll have to make this coffeecake for him. thanks!

  6. Natalie

    Oh my…I’ve totally made this exact recipe, per my mother’s request for a way to use up rhubarb. It was delicious. You’ve made me want to go dig out the recipe and make it again. Yum yum!

  7. Long time reader – this looks fan-freaking-tastic. It also happens to be very similar to my husbands dream cake, so as soon as I pick up some rhubarb I will be making this right away. Thanks for posting :)

  8. Oh, yummmy… i was just cleaning out the freezer and found one lone leftover bag of rhubarb from summer… I think this will be the perfect use for it… weekend breakfast. (sigh)

  9. Gigi

    Hmmm so in Australia currently the only way to get berries or rhubarb is frozen. (tropical fruits on the other hand are awesomely fresh but not so nice for baking – no kiwi or mango coffeecake I think) Usually when I sub I just pretend they are fresh and things tend to turn out fine – I don’t know quite how I would deal with the cornstarch ginger messy frozen fruit step. How would you prep frozen fruit for this cake guy?

  10. Amy

    Wow, wow, wow — this looks SO GOOD. I can just taste the crumb topping, yum! I’m definitely making this. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

  11. Timon

    I came across your site about a month ago, and each time I visit I end up making whatever recipe you post. Needless to say, they steal the show every time. You are amazing.

  12. Amy

    As a Midwesterner transplanted on the East Coast I was intrigued by the “CRUMB CAKE.” As with you, the store brought brands never lived up to the original bakery made cakes. I also finally came up with a worthy recipe (mine included apples), and I’m going to give yours a try. Thanks!

  13. I have never had rhubarb before. This makes me want to try it. I’m not a fan of crumb cakes, but they’ve never looked like yours. Maybe I didn’t like them because they weren’t the real deal.

  14. Anjali

    Rhubarb just started appearing a week or two ago at the organic grocery store here and I could not resist buying the beautiful bold red stalks. I had never had rhubarb before but found a delightful rhubarb custard recipe to try. Its ruby red color cooked down to a lovely magenta sunset. And the final custard showed streaks of bold & soft pinks. A wonderful tart custard I will always remember as my true first rhubarb experience. Now I’ll have to get some more & try this delicious crumb cake. Thanks for the story, recipe & enticing pictures!

  15. Deb, That looks amazing. I have rhubarb in my freezer and I’ve been looking for the perfect recipe. Looks like I found it. Now, I have a question. I can’t figure out how to do that cool “Continued after the jump” thing on my blog. Since my posts are long, I have resorted to posting only one per page, but I’d rather do what do you. Any words of wisdom about how to accomplish that on blogger? Thanks!!

  16. I am absolutely in love with this dessert! I’ve just discovered rhubarb and this would really hit the spot for me, thanks so much for sharing.

  17. Tawnia

    OH. MY. This looks beautiful. Rhubarb grows like a weed around here–if you looked for it in the grocery store, the workers would get quite a chuckle. Everyone except me seems to have a rhubarb patch–the good thing is almost no one I know can use all that grows so people are dying to get rid of it. I am out of my frozen stash from last season, but this will be the first thing I make once I get my hands on some.

  18. oh. my. lord. i would like to devour my screen. every holiday my parents get the same blueberry coffee cake from michael’s in brooklyn. every holiday I, without fail, eat the entire crumb topping before the cake makes it to the table, and i don’t even like cooked blueberries. rhubarb though, now we’re talking.

  19. Laura Stokes-Gray

    Can you work on doubling this fantastic recipe for a 13″ x 9″ pan or perhaps a 9″ or 10″ springform pan?

  20. Oh, yum! The strange thing is, I’ve been dreaming of rhubarb also, and have scoured all the supermarkets here (unsuccessfully)… How is it that you guys in NY have it and we in LA don’t? :) I want to immediately pick all the crumbs off that cake. I think the all-purpose flour is the way to go in this case anyway because it makes for a rougher crumb which just fits this eat-with-your-hands mood of the cake.

    http://confessionsoftart.blogspot.com

  21. SantaDad

    Wow, do I feel ignorant. I had no idea what rhubarb was. When I saw it in the supermarket, I thought it was a funny colored celery. Cake with rhubarb? CRUMBCAKE no less? I have to find a dark quiet corner. I am very confused.

  22. Lisa

    wait… wait..

    it only makes an 8 inch square? and you actually had some left to give away? OMG do i admire your willpower.. im afraid to say the bf and i probably would have scarfed it down in 1 sitting. Well – the square i hid away for breakfast the next day.

    delish.

  23. Hello Brooklyn

    New York New York it’s a hell of a town
    The Bronx is up and I’m Brooklyn down
    They don’t know my name they only know my initials
    Building bombs in the attic for elected officials
    I quit my job I cut my hair
    I cut my boss cause I don’t care
    You tried to get slick you bust a little chuckle
    You’re gonna get smacked with my gold finger knuckle

  24. Lily

    The best crumbs I recall were on the cheese horn(a family size cheese danish) at Rizzi’s Bakery on Jericho in Commack NY. That would have been about 40 years ago.
    I loved seeking the best crumbs off the cake, as we drove home from the bakery on Sunday morning after mass.

    Thanks for the memories–I can’t wait to try your crumbs!!!

  25. I saw some rhubarb at the store the other day. Dang, I almost bought it but had no clue what to make! I’ll have to go back and then try this recipe.

  26. I’m not a rhubarb fan, but I’d love to try a sour cherry version of this. I don’t know if it’s just that it has ‘BIG in the title, but something tells me this cake means business XD.

  27. A friend once gave me a cake just like this but made with plums instead of rhubarb. After slow progress in re-recreating the (lost) recipe, I am so delighted to see this. I know that this will be an equal (if not better) to that cake. I can tell from the photos that the texture is the most unctuous and satisfying and the fruit adds the perfect moist squidge. Thank you.

  28. charlotte s

    wow! this looks amazing! gorgeous photos- as usual! i would love to make this with choc chips instead of rhubarb- we dont have rhubarb over here- how much less sugar do you think i should use?

  29. I am rarely tempted by sweets these days, but as soon as I saw this I had to make it. I didn’t have rhubarb and was too impatient to buy any, so made without any fruit. A delicious, perfect crumb cake, better than any I remember from childhood. But the rhubarb, I’m certain, would make it even better.

  30. Cake looks lip-smackin’ — never made it with rhubarb before. I’m gonna have to try that. Now I don’t usually sing the praises of entenmann’s, but their deluxe coffee cake has similar proportions to yours (little cake, lots of crumb) and it’s to die for.

  31. OH. YUM!! tis one amazing looking crumb cake. You sound like me with muffins…. don’t foist any cupcakes on me when I am searching for a lovely rustic muffin!
    Highlight…copy, print…. and bake…must give it a go.

  32. I have so enjoyed reading your blog for over a year now. I just recently started my own and have added your site as a link. I think my friends should visit your blog, too! Anyway, it would be lovely if you would do the same for me. I hope that’s not too forward – I’m new to blog etiquette.

    It’s at breadbutterpress.blogspot.com
    Thank you!

  33. Lisa in Poland

    This is not a quick breakfast cake!! It’s very good, I made it with sour cherries, but my crumb was not a solid dough (I pressed handfuls together and broke them back apart) the batter creeped up through the crumb and covered more than half of it (I will try NOT using cake flour next time) and my stupid oven over cooked the top and the bottom was still soggy! PLUS, don’t make this if you still have dinner pans and dishes unwashed from the night before and you have a screaming baby!!! Yikes! This took lots of time and bowls, but my we still liked it and I’m going to try it without fruit next time and put al foil on the bottom of my oven for a more even bake, hopefully…

  34. So I am smitten, and I know I am not the 1st nor the last – your blog is a little bit of heaven, and I knew I had found a kindred foodie when you talked about your ‘pastry shrinking ordeals’ – which by the way I asked Chef Krebs about when I went to his in-house cooking class in Montreux and he said the best solution was a long chilling time – over night when possible, and then the use of cooking paper & weights (I use apricot pits). Please drop by to say hello

  35. Kim

    Our first patch of Strawberries are here in Charleston, and just yesterday I mentioned I can’t wait till the rhubard is in as I like to cook them with berries.
    My daughter lives in Alaska and has an overgrowth of rhubarb every season
    which yields a freezer full to last till the next crop arrives.
    I am a big big fan of the crumb coffee cake and this looks well…………I am not
    making the same mistake you did by waiting. I am asking her to ship me a freezer pack of rhubarb.

  36. Florrie

    Deb, I am totally addicted to your blog! I made this without the fruit, as all I had in the house were rock-hard pears and bananas, and I think it suffered a bit without the added moisture. It was still yummy, but a tad on the dry side. And like another commenter, my batter rose up over the crumbs in a lot of places.

  37. deb

    Mine rose up in a few places, too, but I didn’t consider it a concern. I actually liked that it meant that the crumbs were better adhered in those places.

  38. This crumb coffee cake sounds and looks delicious!

    I’m so glad you posted this recipe, even if it meant an eight month wait. I’m actually excited to make this and looking forward to experimenting with the different fruit fillings.

  39. Emily

    quick question… you don’t have to put fruit in it right? if so, are there any changes I need to make to the other parts of the recipe?
    This looks so good, I can’t wait to try it!

  40. deb

    I think you can definitely skip the fruit filling, and have a classic crumb cake, skipping of course the cornstarch/ginger/sugar that it is mixed with.

  41. I loved this recipe and have already tried it twice, but sadly, I’ve been disappointed. (I figured I didn’t do it right the first time, so the second was my hope to guarantee the awesomeness of the photos and description).

    My crumb mixture is way too dry and looks like just flour. It bakes into an “ok” topping, but the texture is certainly not batter-like before baking and cannot be broken into chunks – it’s just a fluffy mixture that sits on top. I was sad to not get the big yummy crumbs I was looking forward to. I used all-purpose flour, too. Should I decrease the flour? Increase the butter? Please help!

  42. I spotted some rhubarb at my green grocer’s last weekend and I resisted as I had a long list of other goodies to make for the weekend. Now I’ve got my fingers crossed now, that they’ll still be some around this weekend. My picky eater boyfriend happens to LOVE rhubarb, and I’m sure this cake will be making a repeat appearance at our house.

  43. Jessica

    I tried this out last night. I substituted blueberries for the rhubarb, I just dumped on frozen berries, without any sugar and threw it in the oven. I was worried about the frozen berries but it was just sweet enough.Now, it’s going to be part of Easter brunch!

  44. Elyse

    Made this for breakfast this morning and it was really wonderful! Substituted cranberries that I had in the freezer, which worked out well. The crumb topping was really dry, as others mentioned. Still, super tasty on a rainy morning.

  45. I made this last weekend and I didn’t have enough rhubard so I added strawberries to the rhubard and it was so amazingly fantastic. The crumb topping was perfect! Big crumbs that completely melted in my mouth…. I SO need to make it again!

  46. Made it. LOVED it. Served with ice cream and blogged about it. Couldn’t stop slicing off bite-size pieces and had to send it to work with my boyfriend. I miss it too.

  47. Kara

    I just recently found this website (and, accordingly, let every person who loves food know about it immediately and berated people who knew for not telling me about this place sooner), and I LOVE it. Just made these and they did NOT stay long either in my house or in the office — they were devoured. I don’t even particularly like rhubarb and I couldn’t stop eating it. It turned out exactly like your beautiful photos and will surely be a repeat recipe for my rhubarb-loving husband. Great site, great receipes, can’t wait to make more!!!

  48. dw

    Deb, I just made this today and it was totally excellent! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find rhubarb, not even frozen! (boo!) Anyway, swapped it for cherries and it is delicious. I cut back on the sugar as you suggested, and it turned our just fine. This was a satisfying recipe to make. And the smell of it cooking–pure love!

    Thank you for your wonderful blog and the way you write about food. Very inspirational.

  49. Been reading you since December and this is the first of your recipes that I’ve tried. I could find no rhubarb in my South Texas H-E-B store so I used plums instead. I probably over-did it on the cooking time as it was pretty dry on top (hard to see if it’s done with gooey plums in the middle and crumble on top) but it was good anyway.

  50. Allyson

    Made this yesterday and it’s delicious! The cake is really moist and tender (used all-purpose flour). The crumb topping is sweet, but not overly so.

    Next up is the brown butter cake! :)

  51. Hi Deb,

    I’ve been enlisted to bring coffee cake to an Easter brunch, and since I haven’t made a coffee cake since I was about 12, I did a little Google search and now my mind is spinning with all of the recipes and variationsout there. But this one looks like a winner, for sure. As the token Jew-at-Easter next Sunday, I really want to make sure I don’t don’t fall down on the job.

    So…QUESTION: Do you think I’d be asking for trouble if I tried to do this in a bundt pan? And if so, should I double the recipe? I’m a stickler for moistness in cake, and this one looks like it won’t dissapoint on that level. What do you think?

  52. deb

    Hi Joanna — I’ll be a token Jew too this Sunday! ;) Good question about the cake. A bundt would be much more festive. According to this handy-dandy PDF I keep on my fridge, a bundt is equivalent to about 2 8-inch circles, so I’d definitely double the volume to bake it in one. Good luck!

  53. Deb: thanks for that great-looking conversion chart. I’m printing it out, and based on it, decided to do the cake in a 9″ round Springform instead of a bundt, as the inversion/upside down aspect of a bundt, on second thought, seems problematic – as far as the crumb topping is concerned.
    I agree, rounds just seem more festive to me than squares – maybe it’s that egg/circle of life/ springtime renewal thing I’ve picked up from a lifetime of seders. Happy…Vernal Equinox!

    .

  54. I made this with blueberries and a preschooler the other day. :) It was delicious! Plus my son loved making it with me. He put together the fruit filling (using half the sugar) and spent at least 20 minutes mixing the crumb topping while I prepped the cake batter. He especially loved molding the crumbs and dropping them onto the cake. Who knew this recipe would not only taste so good, but also entertain my 3 1/2-year-old for at least an hour? I’m smitten!

  55. Nicole

    PLEASE give tips in how to make the crumbs MORE crummy (moist and piecy), i made this today and I had to cook it a few extra minutes b/c the bottom was not done and now the top is harder than I would like it to be. Ay suggestions?

  56. Carolina

    Hey!
    I just watched the video @ http://mfrost.typepad.com/cute_overload/2008/03/unbelievable-am.html and I must say…these cake pictures are making me drewl like the little doggie in the video.
    Love your blog – beautiful pics and always inspiring.
    Had a question regarding Cornstarch though. Is there a substitute?

    Either I haven’t looked well enough or …perhaps it goes under a different name over here.

    I wanna make these cakes for my dear bf* (*FOR him doesn’t mean consumed BY him. It’s the thought that counts eh?! – I mean if he get’s home late or somth :-))

  57. Melissa

    I’ve made this twice so far…and my crumbs do not look that thick and great! They are almost barely visible. You can taste them, but not see them too well. Next time I think i’m going to put all of the batter in the bottom and skip dolloping the 1/2 cup on top.

  58. Bebba

    I found fresh rhubarb for the first time of the year yesterday, so I wasted no time and made this. De-lish. I like that it was not overly sweet. The crumbs are hugenormous and so buttery-good. I did not have sour cream on hand, so I subbed Stonyfield’s vanilla yogurt. I plan to make again and take this to my IL’s next weekend.

  59. Nadia

    I made this cake yesterday and I think that next time I make it I will cut down on the amount of sugar that’s added to the rhubarb so that I can actually taste some of the sourness. It could just be that the rhubarb I used wasn’t particularly aggressive, but the absence of any sour contrast at all was a disappointment. Overall the cake wasn’t too sweet, which is good. I also used nearly double the amount of rhubarb recommended (half a kilo instead of half a pound) and would happily make this using a mix of rhubarb and sour bramley apples, or even just using sour apples if rhubarb is out of season.

  60. April

    I just made this for Mother’s Day yesterday. I used frozen raspberries. It was delicious!!! I even overcooked it and it was still moist and tasty.

    When I make it again I might make more crumb topping. My chunks were spread out a lot, and the batter rose up between them. It was still really yummy, but I wanted more crumbs! Maybe a combination of big crumbs and smaller ones would be good?

  61. I made it this afternoon, just ate my first slice, and am completely in love. As another person said- I needed to clump the crumle together with my hands, it didn’t really form a dough. Other than that it went according to plan. I used rhubarb from our garden, and it was delish!

  62. Mary

    I made this cake tonight with this recipe and it was NOT good. The crumbs have too much flour in the recipe and they turn out way too dry and powder like. You really need to double the amount of butter for the crumbs to be right. The cake part was nothing special at all, I would work on that as well. Over all I was majorly disappointed with this recipe. It needs a mojor revision to be good. Sorry, but it is the truth.

  63. Marilyn

    Oh–this is delicious. I haven’t even allowed the cake to cool yet and the rhubarb is a little too warm for comfort (it’s nearing midnight, a girl’s gotta eat sometime!), but I can’t stop. The only thing I need to change, perhaps, is the oven temperature. I may bake it slower longer, since the bottom browned before the center was fully baked. Otherwise, totally delicious. A good use for my rhubarb, since I’m always afraid to “waste” it in desserts.

  64. Alyssa

    I have been waiting ages to make this. I finally got my hands on some rhubarb and made it for the Parade crowd this morning.
    I agree that the flour measurement in the crumb is to much. It wouldn”t form a dough as suggested and tasted a tad floury as well. I would bake it in a taller pan next time as it rose more than expected. Also the lower slower bake time would help as a PP mentioned I had to dark edges and a rawish inside.

    That aside, everyone commented on loving the rhubarb. It wasnt til I came here to post that I noticed the pic & the recipe dont jibe, there is no powdered sugar notation. It would have been prettier with that :)

  65. Christine

    Made this to bring to my family’s shore house for Memorial Day weekend. I opted to leave out fruit filling all together, since I’ve never dealt with rhubarb before and it made me nervous. I’m assuming the addition of the fruit would have made it more moist, because the cake was a little dry, but overall it was delicious. Even my dad said it could rival their local bakery!

  66. Jess

    Rhubarb is my new favorite… root? I want to put it in everything, especially after having such fantastic results with the crumb cake and pie! Tangy deliciousness! Keep ’em coming!

  67. Eva

    Found this looking for a recipe my brother remembered from meetings of his church 30+ years ago! It was for apple crisp type stuff, and he loved it, I printed it off with the last of my ink! BOO HOO! Can’t print more now! However, this is very similar to what he remembers, and can’t wait to try it out. My rhubarb is tiny yet, we’ve never had much luck with the plants here, used to have wonderful ones in other places. But I do have fabulous frozen rhubarb in the deep freeze, now to make up the recipe. But that has to wait until tomorrow. But I will be making this soon!

  68. Jill

    I have made a very similar cake but instead of rhubarb I used some whole frozen cranberries I had in the freezer. I didn’t need to add sugar, the tartness was a wonderful contrast to the sugary topping.

  69. BentSpork

    Great recipe, especially the rhubarb. I found that the texture of the entire cake improves substantially after it cools completely. The rhubarb wept a bunch of water which I poured off before layering. I would consider using less sugar by half for more sour flavor. The topping had to be squeezed into large chunks individually to hold shape. Other posters noted that the cake rises halfway up through the topping, which I think is to be expected, but my cake had plenty of crunchy topping remaining. My oven has not been holding temperature well so it took over an hour to bake. This is the style of topping that I have seen at all the local bakeries; as a personal preference I might try a topping closer to an apple crisp topping… I’m curious what the texture of the topping would be like with less flour.

  70. Zou

    Oh my g*d! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!
    It took me a couple of months to make this recipe and now I realize that life is too short to wait for these kinds of cakes…
    I made this yesterday for my brother’s birthday and I ate almost half the cake myself….
    I couldn’t tell you if it keeps overnight (well, it probably doesn’t so eat it NOW) because it didn’t last long enough…
    This recipe is perfect, and so are all the other ones on your website!

    PS: Thank you!

  71. lemongrass

    I made this for a charity event and I think someone licked the pan clean once the bars were gone. I used frozen wild blueberries instead of rhubarb. All my topping crumbs sunk to the bottom (maybe the blueberries are wetter than rhubarb??). It didn’t matter though because people raved about it! Someone described the crumb topping as “nuggets of perfected yum”. Definitely a winner!

  72. Alyssa

    This recipe looks amazing!!! I have been lurking on your blog for some time now and everything I have tried has been a winner….so, I am dying to try this cake and am wondering if you think it would work with apples?? Just went apple picking and have about 20 lbs of apples laying around… any thoughts??

  73. Ruth

    I was looking for my mom’s crumb cake (we always called it coffee cake) and couldnt find it so I found this when I googled. I didnt want the fruit filling so I just made the cake and the topping. It was fantastic.
    And you know, all of those directions …. I just dumped everything together for the cake and mixed it in the mixer (melted butter, flour, and all) mainly because I am lazy and always in a hurry… and it came out great.
    We topped it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream but its good all by itself.

  74. Pam

    I’m so sad – I’ve wanted to make this recipe for 1 whole year since you posted it. I made it last night with frozen raspberries and almost all my crumb sank to the bottom & my cake rose to the top. I used to be an avid baker but I haven’t made anything new in a while. I don’t know what I did wrong! I used cake flour per the original recipe because I didn’t have any all-purpose at home so I don’t know if that had anything to do with it…

  75. Margo

    This spring I’m definately going to make this cake. I have alot of rhubarb in my garden. I think I might even try it in September with the glut of figs I always have.

  76. Annie

    I made this for Easter and it was fabulous. I subbed blueberries for the rhubarb–just tossed them in a little cornstarch and a wee sprinkle of sugar. Got nothing but raves. Thanks so much!

  77. Christy

    ok, my mother and i have been going to starbucks for years, not for their coffee but for this coffee cake they have i THOUGHT was the best. boy was i mistaken! this cake, was so delicious! my mother raved about this cake for days, saying that it was hundreds times better than starbucks’s little coffee cake! i didnt use rhubarb or any fruit, but next time ill think ill throw some blueberries in there, although my mother said she’ll kill me if i add anything to your already perfect coffee cake. thanks a mill!

  78. You know, you can freeze rhubarb. I have a friend who lets me take all I want from her garden. I cut it up like I’m going to cook it and then just put it in quart-size freezer Ziploc bags. Two of those plus two of frozen strawberries (also cut up) makes a 9×13 strawberry-rhubarb crisp. But I will have to use some for this recipe, since DH loves rhubarb anything. (I also freeze rhubarb sauce! I have a large freezer.)

  79. Jean J

    My rhubarb patch is just starting to break through the soil here in Iowa–I can’t wait to try this recipe! Once I start harvesting rhubarb, I love to try new recipes and bring to my workers. They call me Jean-the rhubarb queen!!! I’m sure this one will be a big hit!

  80. I made this this morning (it’s in the oven now as we speak) and my crumb topping also was just like colored, slightly greasy flour. I added half again as much butter and got some “chunks” but not like you describe. Could it possibly be 3/4 cup flour instead of 1 3/4?

  81. deb

    The flour level is correct, and it is the level that has always worked for me. However, if you find you are having an easier time with less (there are likely variances in brown sugars, moisture in butters, technique) there’s no reason not to dial it back a quarter cup.

  82. Tawnia

    OMG! I Love Rhubarb! Lately I’m addicted to the strawberry rhubarb crumble that Starbucks is selling I have tried many recipes and no luck they have all been great but not the one. Please Please help! I am going to Starbucks now for my fix and it is making me broke! LOL

  83. Colleen

    I can’t wait to try this. I’m not sure if I’ve seen any rhubarb at the fruit market yet but I love it. Last night I had a strawberry pie from McDonald’s in Canada and swore there had to be some rhubarb in it. Why can’t we get pies like that in US without having to go across to Canada just to have a strawberry pie that fits in the palm of your hand. I will definitely try this. So far I’ve made four of your recipes and all have turned out amazingly.

  84. Sufia

    I just pulled this out of the oven and dusted it with powdered sugar and let me tell you, my house smells amazing!! I know I’m supposed to wait till it cools completely, but I just cut myself a delicious warm sliver, I couldn’t help myself. I also used fresh blackberries, and they are slightly sweet, slightly tart, just a perfect crumb cake. Thanks for this recipe!!

  85. Oh my…this looks like the queen of crumb cakes! One point of cunfusion though: the introduction says, “fill a sheet tray with…buttery crumbs, spread a thin layer of cake doughnut batter over it and, once baked, flip it out”, but the recipe part says the opposite, “batter into prepared pan…break topping mixture into big crumbs…sprinkle over cake”. Can you do it either way? I want my cake to be as beautiful as this looks =)

  86. Beth

    I’m a baker for a couple of coffee shops, and am given plenty of creative input to what gets made. So when I showed up for work last night and found rhubarb, I knew exactly what I’d be making! The rhubarb I had was massive gigantor rhubarb, so I had to cut it down into 1/2″ chunks (and isn’t it weird that some rhubarb bakes up pink, while others bake up green or clearish?) Anyway, when I make it again, I won’t reserve batter to put over the rhubarb since it all sinks to the bottom anyway, and I’ll try as hard as I can to let it cool before cutting in to it! (And then I totally gave away my secret when I left your website up on the work computer.)

  87. Glenda

    I made this last night using frozen rhubarb, nearly a pound, I love the stuff. What I would think about doing different next time (and there will be a next time) is reduce the rhubarb juice and then add it back to the thawed rhubarb. I don’t think extra cornstarch will do the trick. The center of the cake was a little underdone and the outer was a bit overdone, but still amazingly tasty!

  88. Stacey

    YUM! I just pulled this out of the oven, it is still piping hot on the counter as I type, but I couldn’t resist nicking a nice big crumb off the top to try, and it was heavenly- buttery, sweet, so cinnamon-y and just the right amount of crispness. My cake baked up through it, but only in 2 or 3 spots, and I reckon you’re right Deb, it just makes the crumbs adhere better. My crumbs didn’t form much of a dough, as others had said, but I squished it into handfuls and then broke them into little chunks, and then had lots of much smaller crumblier bits to scatter over. Made mine in a 9″ springform cake tin, which I was a bit nervous about, since the dough had to be spread quite thinly, but it seems to have risen up well enough. Rhubarb hit the shelves here in England a few weeks ago, and my bf and I both love it. Thanks for another brilliant recipe! Also, congratulations on your baby news! I hope you’re doing well.

  89. Thanks for the delicious inspiration! I was out the door elbowing my way down the veggie aisle right after reading this and the cake was a big hit. Thanks for sharing the rhubarb love!!

    cupcakemate.blogspot.com

  90. Grace

    I am thinking of making a double batch of this in a 9 x 13 and using blueberries instead. Anyone have success with that?

    1. deb

      I have made this with blueberries many times, and it is fantastic, whether you use fresh or frozen. Use a little less sugar, perhaps swap some lemon zest for the ginger. You can double the recipe to fit it in a 9×13.

  91. Kristen

    I just pulled this out of the oven! I made mine with fresh organic blueberries and instead of ginger I used cinnamon and a little pumpkin pie spice. I had some leftover berries that I tossed with cinnamon and sugar and covered with crumb topping in a second pan…will be awesome over ice cream!

  92. Kay

    I just made this today, first time…..My crumbs did not get”BIG”, they were just crumbly…..but all in all, it is a good coffeecake…..but I will probably go with a crisp the next time with the rhubbarb….

  93. Julie

    I made this for Mother’s Day and it was certainly to die for, but my rhubarb sunk to the bottom (which was fine) and my batter rose to the top covering the crumbs. Did this happen to anyone else? What can I do to make the crumbs stay on top?

  94. Grace

    I made this a few days ago and it was a huge hit. I’m making it again today to take to a potluck!
    I made an exact double batch of the batter and fruit mixture. At first I was concerned that there wasn’t enough batter but I remembered what previous posters said–the batter does rise! For the topping, I doubled exactly except for the flour. I used 2 cups of flour instead of 3.5 and the topping held together well, yet was still a little crumbly and crunchy. It came out perfectly as far as I am concerned!
    I would recommend making this in a 9 x 13 and using blueberries. I added some lemon zest and used fresh ginger in the fruit mixture.

  95. Susan

    I made this with blueberries this weekend and I had to tell you this cake is absolutely perfect! I did have just a little cake cook over my 8″ pan so next time (and there will definitely be a next time) I will use a slightly deeper pan.

    Just recently stumbled onto SK and I am certainly smitten with you. I just bought a new house and like you am trying to learn to love the new kitchen. Best of luck with the new apartment, baby and keep turning out deliciousness like this!

  96. Made this tonight for 3 adults and 4 kids <5. It was a HUGE hit with everyone, including the extremely picky 3 and 4 year olds! Thanks for such a consistently awesome source of recipes and inspiration.

  97. Chelsea

    My husband made this cake this morning for a brunch and it was a hit! Some of the attendees didn’t even like rhubarb but raved about this recipe!

  98. Julie

    I made this last night… two in fact – one with rhubarb and the other with no fruit. I made the rhubarb one first and after baking the full time and testing the “cake” it seemed done – later I found the center of the cake was not fully baked. Major bummer for me. The outer edges were excellent though. I also had issues with the crumb – seemed like way too much flour and I added almost 1/4 stick more butter and it still wouldn’t hold together. Still tasted great though. The second cake with no fruit came out beautifully – baked all the way through and I used about 1/2 cup less flour in the crumb topping and it was perfect. Both cakes were delicious and I definitely want to try the rhubarb again. I will not accept defeat when it comes to rhubarb. Thanks for the great recipe.

  99. akageorge

    I have one in the oven now. I made it in a 9″-square pan and there was plenty of batter, even with “pre-tasting”! The rhubarb was fresh out of my garden, picked an hour before I made the cake, so I don’t know if it was half a pound — I used four long stalks. And my crumbs crumbled, too, but I think it’s because the butter in them cooled while I was doing the rest of the recipe. I’d suggest making the crumb mixture last so it’s still warm and doughy. Funny thing is, I don’t even like rhubarb much, but this looked soooo good, I had to try it!

  100. maegan

    I made this this weekend, and am wondering if some of the confusion over the crumbs not coming together correctly could be due to the way the butter is listed in the recipe. It reads “1/2 cup melted butter”; in retrospect, I’m almost positive this means take 1/2 cup of butter and melt it, but at the time I took it to mean melt enough butter so that you have 1/2 cup. Due to all of the comments/problems about the crumbs (and my intense love for crumb topping) I added just enough flour so that the crumbs came together the way you’ve described. This totalled 3/4 cup of flour. Had I gone ahead and added the complete amount of flour, I think it would have resulted in “flour-y crumbs” others have described here.

    So, maybe a bit of clarification?
    Thanks so much–the recipe was fab!

    1. deb

      Good suggestion, I will clarify. It should be 1/2 cup (one stick or 4 ounces) of butter, melted. I am unsure why the crumbs aren’t coming together for folks; I’ve made this cake half a dozen times and never had trouble. I wish I had a better answer!

  101. Dancer who eats

    WOW! I have never tried rhubarb, ever. I am sold. I think most coffee cakes are too sweet and have a high cake to crumb ratio. This one is just my style.

    Next time, I would lower the flour in the crumble but it still tasted great and that is just personal preference. It didn’t taste “floury”.

    This is a serious keeper….. I make 90% of all recipes once … but I can’t wait to try it with raspberries or blueberries… yum!

    This recipe is not super low maintenance but it is fast for a dessert….especially a dessert with fruit. And, we ate it warm and it was wonderful.

  102. MplsCathy

    Hi Deb,
    I first tried rhubarb when I was 6 – back then, we used to munch away on the freshly picked crispy stalks dipped in a little bit of sugar. I have loved its sour juicy goodness ever since and rejoice when the first batches are available every spring; I find mine at the local co-op and farmers’ markets. I jumped for joy when I saw your Big Crumb Cake post. I have made it twice now, once in an 8×8 pan and also doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan. Though I have a question. When I doubled the recipe, all of the batter seeped up to the top – which changed the texture of the crumb topping since it was all engulfed in batter. It was still delicious – but I would have liked the crumb topping how it was intended (I’m such a sucker for a good crumb topping). Do you have any suggestions as to what I should do differently? With both recipes, I used cake flour and followed all the ingredients and measurements.
    Oh and by the way, my boyfriend nearly cried tears of joy when he tasted this for the first time. He is also a lifelong rhubarb fanatic. So thank you!!!

  103. Daria

    I made this recently and the cake was a little soggy.. maybe i should cut the rhubarb smaller to get more juice out of it while it sits? I had the same problem as many others with the crumbs, but added more butter and it worked out fine.

  104. Marilynn

    This crumb cake was the best! My question is, have you ever frozen it? And if so, how long would could you keep it frozen. I have made it twice this past month and everyone loved it. Thanks for such a great recipe.

    1. deb

      Any cake can be frozen if well wrapped. How well it keeps in the freezer has to do with your freezer itself — some let that “freezery” smell seep after only a week or so, others will keep things as-is for months.

  105. LA

    Baking this now. I swiped all the rhubarb they had left at the grocery store. MINE! I have enough to bake at least 2 more recipes I think! This one was first on my list!

  106. Lyndsay

    Thank you for this recipe. I absolutely love rhubarb. I’m not always such a fan of crumb topping, but this recipe has converted me. I took the advice of others and reduced the flour in the topping to about 1 1/4 cups or just enough to make it dough-like in texture and it was great. I’m looking forward to trying this with other fruit when rhubarb sadly goes out of season.

  107. Marie

    I was looking for something to take to the ladies at my mother’s office, and this crumb coffee cake was the perfect thing. I used blackberries instead of rhubarb, since that was what we had on hand, and I added less sugar, since the berries aren’t as tart. Everyone at the office loved it, and they asked for the recipe. I’ll have to make it again with the rhubarb. Thanks for the great recipe!

  108. Christi

    made this recipe this week – it was WONDERFUL!! my boyfriend loved it. plan on making it again next week (and for as long as we have rhubarb in the stores!)
    any advice on freezing rhubarb?

  109. Just came across this (how cool is it that you’re still getting comments over a year later?). I’m wondering if it’s worth trying to make without a stand mixer. Often when I get to that part of a recipe (the one that mentions a mixer) my excitement turns to disappointment and the recipe doesn’t get bookmarked.

  110. John

    One explanation for the crumbs not mixing properly at the stated proportions is adding the flour too soon. By whisking the sugar and butter to the point where the sugar has fully dissolved, the fat and water content of the butter are then available to coat the flour (with the added benefit that the dissolved sugar inhibits gluten formation once the flour is added). To test the problem, I tried combining the butter with the sugar and flour simultaneously, and sure enough, it resulted in a sandy mess. But for a batch where the sugar was fully dissolved into the melted butter first, there was easily enough moisture to then incorporate 1 3/4 c flour.

  111. Barbara

    This was FANTASTIC!! I added fresh cherries and it was sooooo delicious!! If you love coffee cake and Rhubarb, then you have to make this recipe!!! YUM!!

  112. Audra

    I am not a fan of rhubarb so I made this recipe minus the rhubarb. WOW is what I said when I tasted it!! Really this is out of this world!!! Thanks for the recipee and I plan to make it many many more times!!!!!

  113. deb

    What John (147) said! I made this again this morning and paid careful attention to the crumb step. As previously, I did not have an issue incorporating all of that flour to get hearty, boulder-like crumbs but I realize that I mix the ingredients they way John explains it, without realizing it — first stirring the sugars then spices into the melted butter, then adding the flour to the now-liquid mixture. I will update the recipe to reflect this; hopefully, this will help others.

  114. I know I’m about a year and a half late, but I just wanted to say that I made this yesterday and it was AMAZING! I used blueberries instead of rhubarb and swapped out the ginger for some lemon zest (there are pics up on my blog). I didn’t have any trouble with the crumbs, although I used cake flour as the original recipe stated. I’ll definitely be making this again. Thanks!

  115. Amy

    I know I am, like, years behind on posting but I just tried this recipe with plums (I have a tree full that causes me desperation every fall to use them) and it was TO DIE FOR. O dear, the crumbs were amazing, the plum was sweet but not overly so, and the cake was a perfect base. I did decrease the sugar (just by taste) but I loved the plum maybe more then rhubarb even – and I really like rhubarb. Thanks for the recipe. I have recently found your blog and enjoy it very much.

  116. Julie

    This is delicious! I had discovered after mixing the batter, and ready-ing the fruit (rhubarb and raspberries!) that I didn’t have enough butter, so I used 1/2 butter and some extra light olive oil ( which tolerates high heat, and can be used in baking!) in the topping and used 4 1/2 T in the batter. It turned out wonderful! Rave reviews from everyone who ate it! I also used spring white wheat organic flour. : )

  117. Joanne

    I am an rhubarb apple crumble expert – can make it with my eyes closed. Grow it. Freeze it. Love it. It’s my daughter birthday on Sunday and when I asked her what kind of cake she wanted – she wanted the crumble. I’m making this one instead. Can’t wait to surprise her. This is just a nice twist and sounds way too yummy. Only thing is I don’t have any fresh rhubarb left … just frozen. I’ve read through the comments and there were a few on the frozen rhubarb. Hopefully it’ll work. The frozen rhubarb can produce too moist results….I’ll make it work! And I’ll be using the wheat organic flour too…. thanks Julie (153) for letting me know it works well.

  118. Delia

    I made a double recipe to take to work, then got cancelled on the way in for a low census (I’m a nurse). Oh well, more for me! It is delicious. I had never tasted rhubarb before, but I have made about 15 of your recipes (so far) and you’ve never steered me wrong, so I gave it a shot (nurse pun intended). Sooooo good. I’m only sorry I didn’t try it sooner. The great thing about living in Texas is that summer lasts longer and we still have plenty of fresh rhubarb at the stores.

  119. Eileen

    I’m a transplanted New Yorker in search of the crumb cake I grew up with. I just made the very similar Cook’s Illustrated N.Y. crumb cake recipe and I had the problem of the crumbs sinking, like others who tried your recipe. I came here looking for answers , which I didn’t find, but maybe I can help. I believe my crumbs may have sunk because I used jumbo eggs instead of large and I may have overbeaten the batter, making it too light to support the crumbs. CI uses 1 1/4 cup of cake flour vs. your 1 cup, so that might play a role. As for the complaints of dry floury crumbs, CI uses the same measurement of flour but twice the butter as your recipe. The crumbs were great, just at the bottom of the pan.

  120. Kat

    Made this today, seemed a little on the bland aside from the bites where you get some rhubarb. I also think it would be really good with some ice cream or whipped cream, but today I don’t have room for that many calories.

  121. Laura

    Made this today using leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving – amazing!! The flavors worked together so well and the cake itself was perfectly moist. I believe this will be a weekend-after-Thanksgiving tradition.

  122. Jen

    Oh I just made this with blueberries – and it was heaven! Seriously, is there anything better than that crumb-y goodness and then the soft layer of fruit? I think not!

  123. Lori

    I just made this with rhubarb and blueberries and we loved it!! I didn’t have enough rhubarb left in my freezer so I took some blueberries as well. YUM!

  124. Hi Deb – Made this cake and LOVED it. I just picked up more rhubarb from the farmers market to get more but I have a question. When I made it the first time I noticed that the batter baked up and over the gorgeous crumb. I’ve had this happen before with other crumb style recipes and I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. any suggestions?

    Thanks!
    Chassie

  125. Omgosh….. it is the best. I actually got it right the first time around. I used blueberries but it was wonder, my kids enjoyed. :) Seriously, when it comes to me in the kitchen its a challenge . Thank you!

  126. Grace

    Deb, thanks for the recipe. This coffee cake was so lovely. It tasted soooo good. Except, that mine didn’t look as nice as yours. When I tried to cut it into to squares, it sort of crumbled into pieces even though it tasted great. My oven has been known to take 5-10 minutes longer to bake, do you think it just didn’t get enough time in the oven?

  127. kristin

    hey deb,
    made this last night with my roommate and turned out great with one exception– the cake took almost double the time specified to bake. I bake quite frequently and haven’t noticed my other recipes taking longer to bake in this particular oven, so just wondering what your thoughts on this are..

  128. Britni

    Tried it with peaches and was, in a word, awesome. Didn’t experience any of the problems others had with the crumb, mine turned out fabulous. In fact, the juicy peaches gave it an almost breakfast pudding consistency, which I imagine would be totally fabulous had I capitalized on that and added some more juice and cornstarch to the cake.

  129. Katy

    I’ve just tried to bake this – no problems at all with the crumb, it worked just as you said it would. It is, however, nowhere near done batterwise, although the crumbs are starting to burn. I think this could be because I used a very thick creme fraiche instead of sour cream, and then had to thin the batter a little with milk, or alternatively because I suddenly realised that I had used half a kilo (!) instead of half a pound of rhubarb, and had to pick out roughly half the rhubarb from the batter, but may have made it all too liquid. I’ve left it in the oven, which I’ve turned off, as in the past I’ve found that wobbly cakes firmed up overnight if left like that – but will certainly be trying it again tomorrow with the other half of the rhubarb and some decent sour cream.

    It smelt amazingly good baking and I’ve already started picking the rubble off the top…

  130. Katy

    … just wanted to add that the cake was just right this morning. If I’m baking late at night I often just switch the oven off and leave the cake in there overnight if it needs more time, as it’s easier than bobbing backwards and forwards every ten minutes.

  131. Katy

    … oh, also, by the time I came to make the cake part I was a bit flustered (suddenly realising you have no eggs mid-recipe will do that) and couldn’t face the elaborate wet mix/dry mix/gradual combination thing, so I bunged everything into one bowl and mixed like billy-o and it worked beautifully.

  132. Hi Deb,
    Ran home from Market with the season’s first rhubarb to make this cake and really liked the flavor and texture. Like Kristin, baking time was a lot longer and have thermometer in oven. I did use a more conventional technique for making cake batter (cream butter and sugar, add eggs, then vanilla, and alternate sour cream and dry ingredients); can’t see why this would make a difference. Any thoughts? Which leads to second question, what’s the advantage of the technique you use for making cake batter? Thanks.

  133. Karina

    I baked this cake today for the first time and it was fabulous! The only thing is I would love to have the crumbs a bit more moist and chewy-do you have any suggestions on how I accomplish this? More butter? Less flour?? Many thanks for any advice!

  134. Delaney

    I just made this with blackberries (I live in Northern California so they are literally EVERYWHERE right now), and it is spectacular.

  135. Julie

    With rhubarb and strawberries it is sensational…..I always double it to go in a 9×13 as my family of 5 love it SO much! : )

  136. Susanna

    This is officially the best cake I have ever made, according to my boyfriend, mother, and most importantly, me (and I’ve made a lot of cakes). One on my friends introduced me to your blog last week and this is the 6th recipe I’ve made. I’d never even heard of a crumb cake (we don’t have them in Australia) and I’d never made anything with rhubarb, but fate must have intervened because I was driving in the mountains yesterday and came across a roadside stall selling big bunches of rhubarb for $2. I made it exactly as you said but added some raspberries as well. Although I haven’t had a crumb cake before, I have to say that the cake part was perfect and moist, the rhubarb just the right amount of sour, and the crumbs large, crispy, and delicious. I”m about to go and share the cake love with some friends.

    1. deb

      Hi Marlo — CI is Cook’s Illustrated, a magazine and the folks behind America’s Test Kitchen. It’s so popular among home cooks (at least in the US) that we assume everyone knows what we’re talking about. They take great pains to develop “perfected” recipes…

  137. Susanna

    And I forgot to say before: my sour cream looked seriously suspect so I used natural unsweetened Greek yoghurt and it worked out perfectly.

  138. Eliza

    YUM! I made this for Mother’s Day brunch today and it was wonderful. I added extra butter to the crumb mixture, since it wasn’t holding together (but I was stuck on the phone for a bit and it had cooled before I added the flour, which was whole wheat too). I would appreciate the rhubarb measurement in cups, chopped. We picked ours fresh from the backyard, so I approximated the amount. We had a very generous, almost double layer, of rhubarb but could have used even more. This is a WONDERFUL crumb cake. I’ll make it again when the strawberries come in.

  139. Linda Roe

    My crumbs sank/were enveloped by the rising to layer of batter……But the flavours of the cake are phenomenal!!

  140. Melissa

    This crumble looks amazing!

    Any suggestions for a strawberry-rhubarb muffin? I’d love to make some, eat some, and freeze some for a later time when rhubarb is no more…

  141. Sandra

    I loved the look of this cake too and decided to try it as my father in law has a ton of rhubarb this time of the year. I too however, would have liked the rhubarb measurement in cups as I feel I could have added more. I did not use all the crumbs but it turned out fabulous. So light in texture and the crumbs on the top are fantastic. I have made many a coffee cake, but none this good with such a texture and lots of crumbs on top.
    I will definately try it with other fruit, being on the West Coast of Canada, fruit is in great abundance from April till November. I think cranberries would be good to try as well.
    Cheers.

  142. This looks so delicious. My mom went to Michigan recently and came back with a big bag of rhubarb (that she apparently picked herself!) And since I’ve already made two strawberry rhubarb pies this spring, I think the situation definitely calls for a rhubarb coffee cake.

  143. Deb

    Hi Deb. In case you are ever inclined to stop back to this recipe, I made it this weekend — rhubarb season, you know. The crumbs were totally subsumed (is that a word? I’m going to pretend it is) by the cake. That is, the batter rose up over the crumbs. Was still delicious, but didn’t have that crumbly, crunchy texture. I did use cake flour — wondering if I’d be better off with all-purpose flour?

    May have to try a strawberry-rhubarb pie next. Mmm, rhubarb.

  144. Juliane

    It’s really, really good and YES it works great with plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream, which isn’t a staple in my fridge. My chocolate-mad husband even loved it. I checked your lovely pics during baking time and saw how orderly your rhubarb are placed – versus my puddle-dumped lot. I’ll try for better presentation next time with the other two stalks….and maybe the cake batter will lay nicely under the crumble.

  145. Stephanie

    This cake is delicious! I made it the other day and I just reheated a piece in the microwave and topped it with some strawberry ice cream – it’s a perfect match for a hot spring day! Thanks for the recipe!

  146. Cyndy Eng-Dinsel

    I loved your Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble recipe so much, I decided to try this one as well. It is currently baking in the oven as we speak. I didn’t have half a pound of rhubarb, so I added a few strawberries. It made it a little watery, and I didn’t pour the extra juice in.

    I’m sure it will taste awesome, but feh, this one was time consuming with lots of dishes! (I HATE washing dishes. )

  147. Erika

    Made this for a brunch this weekend and was told it was on par with a prof bakery by my husband with a very discerning palette. I take this as a high compliment and must pass the credit to you too :)

  148. Kat

    I just made this and it’s the oven now as we speak. I used frozen blueberries instead and reduced the sugar on them to 2 Tbs. I also used yogurt instead of sour cream, since I always have that on hand (I’ve never had a problem using yogurt in cakes).

    Everything was great, except I also didn’t get huge crumbs for the topping. I made sure to mix the butter/sugars together well first before adding the flour, but still the topping was more crumbly & sandy rather than big chunks of dough. To remedy this, I pressed down a bit on the topping a bit after I dumped it on top. I can’t wait to eat it, though, it looks fantastic :)

  149. Kat

    Katy #170,
    I’ve had problems with tarts/pies/lemon bars getting too dark before they are done so I just loosely throw a piece of foil on top if I notice it’s too brown, and just let it keep baking. That usually does the trick.

    Betsey #172, I heard mixing the butter into the flour (as opposed to with the sugars & wet ingredients) produces a moister and slightly more dense cake. :)

  150. I made this tonight and it was great. Everyone who tried it liked it. I used a melon baller to mash the topping bits together, and then I knocked the tool against the side of the cake pan and the ball of sugar, etc. fell onto the cake. It worked like a charm. Thanks for the recipe. We may make another tomorrow. We have lots of rhubarb, thankfully!!!

  151. Mariam

    I made this today deb!
    I doubled the recipe.. My crumbs came together fine. The cake was just perfect with tea.I skipped the rhubarb and layered it with homemade raspberry jam. I’m gonna try your moms recipe with the chocolate chips this weekend.

  152. I made this last week. It was delicious, but the rhubarb flavor is very subtle. I didn’t have any problems with my crumbs coming together, but they did form a solid mass on top of the coffee cake. You could taste the crumb layer when you bit into it, but there definitely wasn’t the beautiful look of a crumble topping like in these pictures.

  153. maureen

    I am making this cake for the 4557 thousandth time tonight for a meeting with my girl scout troup. There has not been one time I’ve served it or brought it that someone has not asked for the recipe. One note – I find the crumbs make enough for two pans – so I always have an excuse to make it again!@Jessie – you might try it again and use only half the crumbs….

  154. rose

    I made this last night. I too have childhood memories of eating the big crumb chunks off coffee cake from the bakery under my apartment (incidentally it was owned by the landlord and he gave me treats if I brought the rent check down for my mom). This fulfills all the fantasies I’ve had the coffee cake since, but next time I’ll make one change–I’ll actually make it less sweet. I like the cake base to barely sweet and the crumb to be more spiced than over-sweet.

  155. Denise

    Hi Deb. I made this cake a week or two ago. We signed up for Community Supported Agriculture share for the first time this summer and had a lot of rhubarb which I’ve never used before. I had the same problem as some of the others with the cake batter rising up over the top of the crumbs. In the few areas where the crumbs were on top, they were as they should be. Even so, the cake was delicious, especially served warm with a little ice cream. The batter issue won’t stop me from trying the recipe again – next time I may use a little less batter or spread it more evenly before the crumbs. Or maybe add the crumbs after the cake has baked a while??

  156. Suezy

    i made this for the first time tonight and it came out amazing. i used a pint (2 cups) of blueberries (subbed for rhubarb), i also subbed lemon zest & juice of 1/2 lemon for ginger in filling–next time i might use fewer berries. perhaps people are confused about how soft the “softened” butter should be for the base batter? maybe the temp of the butter is the variance in the outcome?

  157. Miz Cleaver

    Fellow Bakers–
    What is this thing about “Comment #150” and new directions for making the crumb topping?? I can’t find any comments after #103 (from “insanity fitness”). I’m desperate to make this today before my blueberries just give up and turn to mush in the fridge…please advise! Thanks!

  158. Vicky

    Miz Cleaver #204. Send me your email and I will send you the entire page. Your comment is #204. I am just making this recipe for the first time tonight so I have no comments on the recipe.

  159. Kelli

    My friend recommended this site- I’m in love! Awesome sounding recipes. This one really caught my eye- I could eat a bowl of Big Crumbs. I followed the recipe exactly (except for substituting blueberries instead of rhubarb) including the mixing sugars and spices well with the melted butter before adding the flour for the crumb. I think it turned out beautifully- and tasted awesome. Loved it! The only change I would make the next time would be to toss the blueberries in flour so they dont sink to the bottom.

  160. This is my go-to dessert for summer time guests. I’ll be making it with blueberries since the blueberry cobbler I made two nights ago is gone. Who am I kidding, it was gone by breakfast the next morning, just like this will be. You’ve never failed me, Deb.

  161. Indigo

    Feel I should let you know that my mother just inhaled two pieces of this and concluded that the crumb topping on it is absolutely perfect – just the right size, and perfect quantity of brown sugar. I have a lot of cookbooks and favourite chefs and so on, but you are the one I absolutely trust not to steer me wrong!

  162. Pat

    I have never made a crumb cake but I saw one on “The Cake Boss” show and it looked SO good. I have never tried rhubard and we LOVE cream cheese. Could you please tell me the changes you would make to add the cream cheese instead of any fruit? I am anxious to make this.

  163. Alison M.

    I made this today. I had no sour cream so I substituted plain yogurt, and I used blackberries instead of rhubarb. Now I just have to figure out how not to eat the whole thing. It’s AWESOME.

  164. Gina

    Not sure what I did wrong, but I had more of a sandy consistency to my crumb. There were no boulders for me, and it wasn’t super moist (then again maybe the lack of rhubarb was the reason for that), but I’m looking forward to eating it anyway!

  165. Gayle

    I couldn’t wait to post- I am really anxious to see how these turn out! I wish I could find rhubarb, but it just isn’t here. I have a lot of substitutions! I am living in brazil and believe or not there isn’t any sour cream. I put mango in for the rhubarb which I think will be nice with the ginger. I made some sour cream substitute with sour milk and butter. Maybe yogurt will be better next time. We’ll see! Hey, beautiful food photos!

  166. Sonia

    Have been searching for quite awhile and so happy to have stumbled upon this recipe. Two of these are in the oven right now; made with blueberries and blackberries. (From all the comments, I couldn’t imagine one being enough so had to make 2 to start)

  167. Lisa

    Well, you are our new favorite cooking blog. First, I saw your granola bar recipe on Parenthacks and had to try it. Was it delicious? Did my family keep asking for more? Yes and yes! Today, I had a hankerin’ for rhubarb coffee cake, if it existed. I asked google, and it delivered smittenkitchen again. With fresh rhubarb from our garden, this recipe was a real winner! I decreased the ginger for my kindergartner, but otherwise left it just the same…and it disappeared. Yum, and thank you!

  168. Cayla

    I just finished reading Melissa Clark’s “In the Kitchen With A Good Appetite” and low and behold this recipe was in there!!! I totally forgot she wrote “The Last Course” with Claudia Fleming!!! Clark adapted the technique of tossing the rhubarb in sugar from Flemming’s rhubarb crisp. So is this Clark’s recipe?

  169. deb

    The source link below the title goes to Clark’s recipe in the New York Times. The recipe, minus the rhubarb, almost precisely follows Cook’s Illustrated’s Crumb Coffee Cake (though she mentions starting there in the article). I’ve also made Fleming’s Rhubarb Cobbler though the rhubarb part of the recipe is different from this filling.

  170. Jules

    Does this cake freeze well? If so would you just wrap it in saran wrap a few times and let it thaw before using it? It looks so delicious and I ll be making it for a family get together in a few weeks. I cannot wait!!

  171. Kathy in St. Louis

    Wowee wow wow, this is a winner. I did use fresh cranberries instead of rhubarb and full-fat yogurt instead of sour cream, and I made it in our new nine-inch springform, and boy, it’s wonderful. I have always been a sucker for a crumbly topping on anything, but, like you, Deb, I always find the sum of the whole to be too sweet. This was just right. (This is one of the reasons I love your baked goods recipes: your sense of sugar is just like mine. Balance, people, balance…!)

    Having the same reaction here, too — I slice off a tiny wedge here and there, trapping bits between fork tines, so I can see that most of it needs to go in the freezer, and soon. Thanks, Deb!

  172. rebecca

    breakfast was incredibly delicious today thanks to you! i used raspberries & lemon zest/juice instead of rhubarb & ginger–the flavors worked together beautifully.

  173. Monica

    I just pulled this out of the oven. Used unpeeled Granny Smith apples and whole cranberries instead of rhubarb.

    I doubled the recipe to make two but for some reason, I ended up with enough of everything except the cake mixture. I must have messed that up somewhere. Oh, well. Will just make another cake mixture tomorrow.

  174. Julie Gordon

    I have been thinking about using up the rhubarb that I froze last summer, and lo and behold, I come across this recipe – will be making it this weekend, and I can hardly wait!

  175. Lia

    I just made this recipe right before the weekend and it is almost gone!To make it dairy free I substituted the sour cream for apple sauce and the butter with palm oil shortening and with fingers crossed i hoped for the best. It came out delish! I used frozen blueberries too since i had no rhubarb in the house and since the only apple sauce I had was peach flavored the end result was a moist, light, heavenly peachy-blueberry thing. my husband ate half of it almost as soon as I took it out of the oven! Thank you for the greatest recipe! I will be definitely making again very soon!

  176. Mary Ashley

    I made it yesterday. and it’s all gone this morning at work… only lasted about an hour and a half. I dind’t use any rhubarb — I don’t like fruits mixed in my cakes… but it came out a dream!

  177. Cait

    I just made this for a potluck dinner with my friends. Everyone loved it (especially me)!!! SOOO DELICIOUS. I used frozen raspberry instead of rhubarb, but I’m excited to try it with the latter once I can get my hands on some. This recipe does take some time to make, and there are a few extra bowls for clean-up, but I didn’t mind as that really made the dish more rewarding in the end.
    My taste-buds thank you.

  178. I just took it out of the oven! It did rise as some others said, and one side of it looked like a little mountain had formed lol..that could partly be from my lack of spreading it evenly enough into the pan. I do notice that it calls for both baking soda and baking powder. Cook’s Illustrated has a recipe almost exactly similar to this, except two big differences is they use buttermilk instead of sour cream and only 1/4 tsp of baking soda–no baking powder. Perhaps that’s why this one did rise quite a bit. I tried this with cake flour and I love how it makes the cake delicate and delicious, but yours looks more rich and dense with all purpose flour. Maybe I’ll try it that way next time. :)

  179. I’d like to add on that this was supposed to be for my family members tomorrow, but it cooled a little and I tried another piece…and now 1/3rd of it is somehow already gone. I might need to make another tomorrow morning. It’s soooo good. Goodnight. :)

  180. Nataline

    Thanks for posting this! I made it last night for my girlfriend, who love love loves rhubarb and has been asking for a coffeecake that is “two parts crumble to one part cake.” At her request, I doubled the streusel portion and divided the batter into one small cake and a few cupcakes. WOW! The cake had two parts crumble, one part sticky, tangy, rhubarby cake, and where the two met, a layer of dense, cakey goodness. It was fabulous. My girlfriend, who is obsessed with coffeecake, pronounced it the best one she has ever had, but admitted that the recipe as written would be better (she wanted just a tad more cake). Thank you so much for this recipe. We will be making it quite often.

  181. MelissaBKB

    I’ve seen rhubarb in the store twice now this season, and this coffee cake is calling to me, so I’m making an 8×8 for work and four mini loaves tonight (one for a friend who just had a baby). I’ve made it the last two years with rave reviews everywhere I take it. Maybe my technique’s off, but I always end up with shards instead of crumbs. Giant, tasty, tasty shards. Thanks for posting a recipe I look forward to making year after year!

  182. Louisa

    I’ve made this with blueberries (1/2 lb plus 2 Tbsp. sugar) before, always to rave reviews, but I’ve been longing to make it with rhubarb ever since you originally posted this recipe. Sadly, while the produce in Southern California is generally out-of-this-world amazing (apples and corn being the notable exceptions), I hadn’t seen a single stalk of rhubarb at the Farmer’s Markets since we moved here 3 years ago. And, trust me, I looked. I followed rummors and harassed vendors. Still nothing. Until last Sunday, when a crazy morning caused us to miss our usual Market and go in search of a replacement. Sure it was 1/2 an hour away (rediculous in SoCal), but the very first booth at this new market had rhubarb. Stacks and stacks of it. I promptly bought all of it, and I’m now working my way through your rhubarb archives. With strawberry-rhubarb pie accomplished, I think this little beauty is next, and I can’t wait…

  183. Hi, caa you help please I want to try this recipe but in your ingredients you list 1/3 cup of sour cream.

    Is there another suitable ingredient that could replace this, as I dont like sour cream.

    Thanks in advance

  184. Noelle

    I didn’t even know you could make crumb cake until I tried and I did.

    @baba, I ran out of sour cream and used 1/6th cup of sour cream and 1/6th cup of plain yogurt (I should have checked my ingredient stash before starting!) and the cake was moist and delicious…but then again you wouldn’t taste the sour cream anyway.

  185. Dora

    Having had this open in a back tab of my browser for weeks, I made it as muffins this morning. The recipe as written made exactly a pan full of regular-sized muffins; each cup had a glop of batter, a spoonful of strawberry-rhubarb goo, a drop more of batter, and a hefty topping of crumb boulders. They took 23 minutes at 400F, and rose and browned perfectly. Like some other readers, I replaced the sour cream with yogurt since that’s what I keep on hand.
    I recommend this modification to anyone. They are the most gorgeous muffins I’ve ever made! And oh so delicious. My coworker was thrilled that I brought some to share.
    I’ll be keeping this recipe. Thanks so much, Deb.

  186. Shannon

    I decided to try this because I loved the idea of rhubarb in coffee cake. I had reservations because I usually stay away from crumb cakes (probably from having had too many bland, dry ones), but your photos looked too good (and luckily my cake turned out looking a lot like your photos, just a little thinner). The crumb topping was delicious, it was hard to stop from picking it off the top of the cake once it was done. The mixture was a little too crumbly on its own, but I just used my hands to roll it into big round crumbs. I loved the rhubarb filling and would even use a little more next time. The cake itself was delicious as well, but I wish it rose a tad bit more (I could also probably use fresher baking soda). Overall, excellent and will be making again. My husband and I both thought it was great how this was not overly sweet, but very well balanced.

  187. Angel

    made these without the rhubarb and into cupcakes instead of one big cake (figured it would be better for portion control haha) and let me tell you they are absolutely delightful. never again will i buy entemann’s. thank you lord.

  188. Camelle

    I’m in the middle of baking this right now. It smells SO SO SO good. VERY glad I made 2 pans of it. One is for my son’s teachers for “National Teacher Appreciation Day”. I think they are going to LOVE IT!!! :) I am sure I will. The batter even tastes DELICIOUS!!! Thank you for all the amazing recipes. I’ve NEVER gone wrong with one of your recipes. You rock!

  189. Mary Nelson

    Made this morning for our staff breakfast. Doubled recipe, used 9×13 pan, baked at 350 (was in a hurry), done in 60 minutes. It was amazing! I had to smell it all the way to work and it was torture. I was out of ginger so I’m trying it again soon to see what difference it makes. I’d recommend this to anyone who loves a good crumb cake, even those who don’t care for rhubarb-

  190. Anna

    Just a quick question: does the order of adding the ingredients into the cake matter? I made this today and found mixing all of the dry ingredients + butter together really tedious, so I was wondering if it would make a difference to mix the sour cream/egg/vanilla in with the butter and sugar, and then add the flour to it after.

  191. Kelly

    I tried this yesterday for snacks at a meeting, and was quite disappointed…I followed the recipe and had no issues. It turned out fine, but the recipe itself is just not that yummy!! I really wanted to try a new, fantastic coffee cake but this one just didn’t win us over.
    I would definitely suggest adding more rhubarb. You can scarcely taste the 1/2 lb that’s in it. Also, the crumbs, although impressive in looks, taste and have the texture of plain flour, essentially. They crumble all over the place, and aside from the big chunks, you are left with floury bits all over your plate. The sheer size of the crumb recipe overpowers the cake, and we found ourselves scraping it off in order to actually taste the cake itself (which, it turns out is yummy). I would cut out at least a 1/4 cup of flour (see posts 108/109), and I would add more butter. I may even substitute in a third or half of the flour with oats to give a nicer, lessy “floury” flavour.
    Good luck!

  192. Beth

    I couldn’t disagree more with last post about the crumbs; I love them. I did use a full pound of rhubarb and white whole wheat flour which I always use in coffee cakes now.

  193. Nush

    These look amazing! I just went out & got some rhubarbs! just a question, probably a silly one.. but when you write ground ginger.. is that ground ginger powder or freshly ground ginger or stem ginger in syrup?! Would be really grateful if you could help me out please! Thanks! :)

  194. Barbara

    I just made this and felt like there wasn’t enough fruit so I mixed in some apples that I had on the counter. I made this in a 9×9 pan and it seemed there wasn’t enough batter. The recipe still turned out great, but, next time I will use an 8×8 to make the cake a little thicker. I loved the crumble on top! Yum!

  195. Beth

    Deb, I’m really disappointed. I am a loyal fan, and i hate to say it, but I tried this recipe, and it was a bit of a disaster. I followed the directions, but as some others have said, my cake rose up over the crumbs and the crumbs sank.

    I’m not sure what could be wrong. I’m going to try it again, and bake the cake partially before adding the crumbs, I hope it will work ..

  196. Jane

    Made this yesterday, and it was awesome! The tartness of the rhubarb chunks nicely complimented the sweetness of the batter. And there were lots of crumbs! At first I didn’t think there would be enough of the cake batter but it turned out tine. I added a little extra sugar and butter to the crumb mixture.

  197. Jane

    Made this yesterday and it was yummy. The tartness of the rhubarb complimented the coffee cake wonderfully. I added extra sugar and butter to the crumb mixture. I thought there would not be enough cake batter as it barely covered the pan but it turned out fine. Very yummy and addicting!

  198. Julie

    Made this for my birthday treat! Delicious. I used about double the recommended rhubarb and my powdered ginger was very fresh and potent. I substituted Greek yogurt for the sour cream. Other than that, I followed the recipe and it came out perfectly. Huge yummy boulders of topping, tart rhubarb in moist cake, and the structure was perfect. I will definitely make this again. Thanks!

  199. Jenny

    I am not a fan of rhubarb, but we are very broke and I have been trying to utilize things in my garden so that my family doesn’t have to go without, perse. I have a lot of rhubarb and although butter is exorbitantly high priced right now, I thought I would risk it as I love crumb cakes. Well, as your beautiful pictures go in stages, my cake looked exactly alike until the end. The oven was on 325 (I double checked with an oven thermometer and I used the rack in the middle of the oven), I followed directions to a tee as I have never made the recipe before – there’s time for tweaking to my personal preferences later. The actual cake batter bubbled up over the “crumbs” so they ended up in the middle of the cake so to speak, the middle of the actual cake part wasn’t done despite had I cooked the cake much longer the top would have burnt since there were no “crumbs” on the top……unless there is a recommendation of something I did incorrectly, I will sadly be finding different and cheaper ways to use my rhubarb. :(

  200. Eliza

    We LOVE love LOVE this with rhubarb! 2 comments. can you update the ingredients/instructions to include the powdered sugar? (I’ve always skipped it, but would love it include it). Also, I think you should add this to your rhubarb category. I didnt see it show up there, but I did find some other amazing recipes ;-)

  201. liza

    This spring I have turned into a rhubarb fiend. This is maybe the best of the myriad of rhubarb recipes I have been tearing through – this is so so very good – thanks!

    1. deb

      Bella — Haven’t made Melissa’s recipe yet — it was only published last week! If you do, would love to hear feedback. I think the woman can do no wrong, however. :)

  202. Mary

    I accidentally grabbed the lemon extract instead of vanilla and realized one second too late. I don’t measure – just pour and it hit the batter at the same time that it hit my nose. But it was still really good. We kinda liked the lemony flavor with it. The kids ate it for breakfast the next morning with a big glass of milk. Thanks for sharing!

  203. Bella

    It’s true, I have a 10 second attention span like that. Anyway, I opted out of making it…because I’ve come to rely on your very explicit spelled out instructions that walk me through the process, something I need when baking anything remotely complicated. Also, I was rather short on time.

    Instead, I made a simple crisp (riffed off your instructions, actually): tossed the rhubarb with a bit of sugar, vanilla, and flour, and topped with a mix of rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. While no fancy cake, it was delicious and a hit.

    I’m going to save the cake for some super special occasion….after you make it and tell us about it. :)

  204. Leah

    Just made this last night and can’t wait to have another piece with my morning coffee. Definitely worth dirtying a few extra bowls for this one. I followed the instructions very carefully and was amazed by the fluffy cake, moist rhubarb, and buttery crumbs! This will now be my go to coffee cake recipe.

  205. Jamie

    I am in the process of making my second cake right now. The first one turned out amazing, i could hardly wait for it to cool to try it and I feel in love right away. Since we stole the rhubarb from some friends that were out of town, I decided to make them one too. It is the perfect sweet/sour combo. Thanks for sharing!!

  206. I know, it’s crazy, but I made Big Crumb Cake sans crumbs. I added some chopped walnuts, some crystallized ginger, and some oatmeal to the reserved batter, put the spices from the crumbs into the cake, and had a mighty successful cake. I wish I had used a little less sugar and a little more rhubarb, but really, it’s excellent. Thanks.

  207. This is literally one of my top 5 favorite things to make and I have been LONGING all year for rhubarb season to come around. I can’t wait to see the beautiful red-green stalks poking out of my CSA basket next week.

  208. Nikki

    Mine just came out of the oven and it is absolutely DELICIOUS! I am going to head to the kitchen to make a second batch for my wonderful neighbor who gifted me a TON of rhubarb from the untouched plants in her backyard. Absolutely yumtastic!

    That being said, I too had a problem with the crumb boulders coming together. After the initial mix they resembled brown floury powder. I add a bit of oil til I was able to squeeze the crumbs into one big lump. lol (please feel free to use any of my technical baking terms anytime you’d like!) I set that aside and hoped for the best.

    Then onto the cake batter. I mixed it according to the directions and it seemed a bit thick to me. I added the last two tbsps. of butter from the stick I’d used for the cake. It was very “fluffy” batter for lack of a better term. I was kind of worried because it didn’t look like a thinner cake-like batter. But I spread it in the pan and the cake turned out fabulously good! =0)

    This is going to be my new go to rhubarb dessert this summer. Thanks, once again, Deb. You’ve got a homerun with this one!

  209. Amy

    I baked up the coffee cake this morning and it is hands down the best I’ve ever had! I made it with both rhubarb and raspberry and the fluff of the cake and crunch of the crumb was perfect. My dad said it was “better than starbucks” (which is a lot coming from him, he really likes his starbucks treats). Thanks for the recipe! I’m sure I’ll be using it as my default coffee cake recipe from now on.

  210. Linda

    Mine is in the oven. However, I agree with the “crumb” portion of the recipe. I followed it 100% and it was not like solid dough and could not press into the bowl. I always make a new recipe as stated but I could not get the chunks anywhere near to breaking the topping into big crumbs or chunks to a size recommended.

    I never appreciated comments with changes, simply because I think then you should post your own recipe but now I get it.

    I will definitely make a brown sugar, butter/oatmeal topping instead of so much flour that gives no crumble. I scraped off about 2/3 cup of the topping that never even browned.

    And for people who love rhubarb, all that sugar takes away from the tartness of that wonderful fruit. I’ll cut the sugar in half next time.

  211. Mine just came out of the oven. I ate two pieces while warm! Yum! I love the crumb topping! It is the best! I have some fresh cherries I am going to try using next…thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  212. Marshall

    I’ve made this coffee cake countless times and it never fails to impress. The only word of caution I would give is that each time I make it I consistently have to bake it for at least 10-15 minutes longer than suggested. Don’t pass this recipe by, it’s worth the time and effort!!

  213. Danielle

    I lust after this cake a couple times a month. I will click on your search box and type in rhubarb cake. I want it, I need it, and I’m not sure why I haven’t made it yet. Maybe the ridiculousness of my obsession with said cake has made me nervous to screw it up. Who knows but I think this is the very last time I will look it up. I will make it. So excited! Wish me luck.

  214. Shelly

    I keep getting rhubarb in my CSA bag so I’m always looking for new ways to use it. This looks amazing! I don’t have any ginger and I don’t have a mixer but I have everything else I need to make this cake TODAY! Woot!

    Love your recipes SK. And the photos that go along with them are gorgeous. I find myself hitting your blog first to search for recipes when I have an ingredient that needs using. You always amaze me with the delicious stuff you come up with. :)

  215. Kelley

    This is the most SPECTACULAR coffee cake we’ve ever enjoyed! WOW! (And I do not say that lightly!) Our daughter was looking for a sweet treat to make for her Dad’s birthday this weekend. (Being he is working 5pm-5am for the next month, she wanted a treat he can enjoy with his coffee before work…as it IS breakfast time for him!) So with a little supervising from me, Brianna worked her way through the recipe, sans rhubarb…we had none on hand.

    This was an easy recipe for a 13 yr old to make and it is not too sweet. The crumb topping was absolutely perfect! Our only complaint was the need to double the whole recipe next time! :) Dad enjoyed his coffee cake when he woke up this evening and just loves his new birthday treat! This recipe has already been added to our recipe box and I promised the family I’d bake another batch tomorrow. If you are reading this note and haven’t baked it yet, put the computer down and get baking! The only regret you’ll have is not baking this sooner! Thanks Deb!!

  216. sally

    I was very excited to try this recipe as I’ve been looking for just such a cake. It was a failure!! Where did I go wrong? I followed the recipe exactly (maybe used a tad less rhubarb because I ran out). The cake portion was ok, but the rhubarb did not take on much of the sugar and was bitter and the crumb topping – while nice and big – felt too oily and flavourless in the mouth. Overall it was sort of boring.

  217. Carla

    I was very excited to find this recipe as I love rhubarb and my boys love a thick crumb topping. I doubled the recipe and after, eating my first piece, I had to go back to see if I had put in the right amount of rhubarb. I had. I can barely taste the rhubarb! Next time I’ll quadruple instead of double the rhubarb filling. It needs more liquid in my opinion. I substituted Greek yoghurt for the sour cream but that shouldn’t have made a difference. Too floury for our tastes. Otherwise, the cake flavor was good and the crumble was great. I love the gingery flavor, not too strong, just right. I’m thinking of an apple/rhubarb filling or a strawberry/rhubarb filling for the future. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  218. Rilla

    This is my first time commenting on your lovely blog (which is crazy considering you are my go to food blog and I have made countless of your recipes, never to be disappointed)…but I had to chime in on this because I made a seasonally appropriate variation on this today that is divine. I am pregnant and craving anything with pumpkin, so I substituted the sour cream and two TB of the butter with pureed pumpkin. And then I added a bit of 1/2 tea of cinnamon and 1/4 of ginger to the batter. It is moist and so delicious. I plan to make this again Thanksgiving weekend with the leftover cranberry sauce as someone suggested. YUM!

  219. Found this looking for the recipe I made from Molly Katzen’s “Sunshine Cafe” recipe book I used to own. I freeze rhubarb like crazy when it’s in season so I can make crisps and coffee cake in the winter.

    Like some of the other commenters, I did a little substitution in the crumb topping. I love oatmeal and chopped walnuts walnuts in my crumb topping so I swapped some of that in place of the flour. I also used rice flour instead of wheat flour in the crumb topping because I accidentally ended up with a big bunch of it and need to use it up, and I figured it would be less “floury” in flavor, per some of the comments about that being a bit much. In future I might use one of my other favorite crumb topping ingredients, ground flaxseed; it provides some nutrients I need as a vegetarian and adds a nice nuttiness.

    I used whole wheat pastry flour for the cake; I routinely make that substitution.

    I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9×12 pan but ended up with more than enough crumb topping; next time I would increase that only to 1-1/2 times the quantities provided.

    I also had to bake it far longer than specified–I think I ended up at 1 hr. 10 min. I got impatient and goosed the temp. to 350 degrees for the last 10, then turned the oven off and let it sit another 10 minutes on top of that. I frequently have this problem with coffee cakes that have a wet fruit element.

    I just ate a piece and it was great! Thumbs-up from my husband, too.

  220. This is amazing. I have been craving coffee cake and I’m a huge fan of rhubarb, so when I stumbled upon this recipe it was just perfect. Will definitely keep this in my recipe arsenal!

  221. connie

    I just finnished my first piece and it was delicious. First I doubled the recipe and used frozen rhubarb. I used a pound and doubled the cornstarch and other ingredients used for this portion. When it was time to place the fruit on the batter is was rather juicy so I added another couple of teaspoons of cornstarch. There was still alot of liquid so I ended up taking the fruit out of the liquid and placing on the batter. I then heated the juice on top of the stove to thicken and spread or spooned that over the fruit and smeared around to cover evenly. Topped then with the remainder of the batter and then the crumbs. It did take longer to bake but I firmly believe that everyone’s oven are different and in the 9×13 it would naturally require additional time. But, the end result is fabulous and It will be served tomorrow morning (Easter Sunday)…..Yah!!

  222. RhuBarbara

    This is AWESOME exactly as written. I didn’t and wouldn’t change a thing except to double the recipe because it’s that good. Made it once and will make it again and again. Saving this to my family recipe box for good. Thanks for the recipe.

  223. mary

    I wish I had read some of the comments before baking this. Like others have said mine also rose up around the sides leaving the crumb mixture in the center. When I made the rhubarb mixture and let it sit the sugar and ginger pulled the liquid out of the rhubarb and there was a syrup. I wonder if this made the cake take longer to cook.
    I also didn’t get the big crumb effect. I need this for a meeting today and refrigerated it overnight. I haven’t cut it up yet.
    I think it’s too sweet. Next time and there will be a next time I won’t add sugar to the rhubarb,
    It’s a pretty expensive, and mess making cake to experiment with. I am sure it will be a success for those who love sweets but for me I would like more tartness.
    I wonder if I preheated the oven long enough now?
    Anyway there seems to be a lot of variables with the comments.

  224. CHolmberg

    Huge disappointment. I followed the recipe to the letter. . .and ended up with a thin cake that did not rise. . .and I know my soda and powder are good, as I made biscuits two days ago that rose perfectly. The topping was bland tasting, although the texture was right. The flavor was an extreme disappointment. =( we ate one piece, but have no desire to eat any more of it. I’m not sure why the comments are so mixed. . .either people loved it and had it turn out, or like me, it utterly failed and was terrible. I didn’t change anything, so I’m not sure what happened. Where did I go wrong? I even keep a gauge in my oven to make sure the temp is correct. It looked so good in the pics. =(

  225. Lara

    Delicious! But, for some reason had loads and loads of extra crumbs? The only thing i have thought to dow with them is roast and sprinkle over vanilla ice cream. Any better ideas? :)

  226. Cindy

    Just made this and my husband was bemoaning the fact I was taking most of it to work :) Got the rhubarb from a friend and this was the perfect recipe to use it in.Followed directions as is and it turned out just how we like it.Very moist and loved all the crumble on top(I used it all!!) and ate the crumbs left in the dish after I cut it to take to work…yum!!!

  227. Stef

    Doubled the recipe, only could find sweet dark cherries, so adjusted the sugar, and didn’t have any ginger (powdered or fresh) so zapped some crystalized ginger in the fp. Waiting to see what happens – it smells heavenlyl

  228. micka

    I picked rhubarb from the backyard recently, and could only think of one
    recipe I’d like to make with it, and it was this one. It is delicious! I love
    the giant crumbs. Oddly, our barn dog Bowzer goes crazy over them.
    He can sniff them out if there is a piece in the vicinity and won’t calm
    down till he gets a tiny piece. Now that I think about it, my boyfriend
    reacts the same way to this coffee cake, except he gets a big piece!!

  229. I made this cake yesterday and it is UH-MAZING. It’s the coffee cake of my dreams (basically more crumb than cake). I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream and it worked perfectly.

  230. Guest

    Wow. Just had a piece now and it’s delicious! Moist cake, tangy rhubarb and the crumb topping is different but yummy. I made exactly as printed. Next time I will add a little more rhubarb. I think it could use a tad more fruity-ness in the middle layer. Also, in the topping I will put more cinnamon and leave out about 1/4–1/3 of the flour to counteract its “cookie-ness” and give it more chewiness. I (mostly) drained the liquid from the rhubarb before layering it on the batter. Baking time was right at the upper limit baked in an 8.5 x 8.5 glazed stoneware baker. I wasn’t sure about the ginger but I really can’t detect it per se when I’m eating the cake. Perhaps inhaling an inordinate amount was not conducive to subtleties.

  231. Your recipe do sent make any sense at the end,where do you get the spoonful of sour cream??? and reaming sour cream in two batches???? you just mention 1/3 c. sour cream, I don’t understand the recipe, please explain, Today I’m baking your cake , we will see how will turn out, just following exactly your recipe. and what do you do with the rhubarb liquid, after soaking in sugar and… are you pouring on the cake??? Teresa

  232. deb

    You can use the rhubarb liquid in the filling. Re, the sour cream, first you make a batter (step 3) with the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Then you mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) and you beat in the butter and some of the sour cream mixture. You add the rest in two additions. Hope that helps.

  233. Ellen

    First, thank you very much for your delicious website. I have made and enjoyed many of the recipes on Smitten Kitchen.

    I made the Big Crumb Coffee Cake today. I followed the crumb instructions and the result was like gritty flour, not like dough. I added more butter without much better luck.

    I have a theory, you are in New York, I am in Los Angeles. Humidity, nuff said.

  234. Eileen

    Just the kind of recipe I was looking for, I’ve got a giant rhubarb in my garden and I’m tired of the same-old Strawberry Rhubarb combos. Question: I don’t have a scale, do you have an approximate measurement of what a 1/2 lb. quantity of rhubarb would be, assuming it’s cut as you recommend in the recipe above? Thanks!

  235. Katy

    I made this the other night… I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9×13 pan (baking time increased quite a bit, but just keep an eye on it). Perfect. Transcendent. Seriously the best coffee cake I have ever had, and one of the best backgrounds for rhubarb. It really allows the rhubarb to shine. Love it. We ate too much of it at home, so I foisted the rest on my coworkers this morning. Less than an hour later, it is gone. Thanks Deb!

  236. Sarah

    I made this to take as an office treat – the flavor was great but the topping was dry dull- it just fell off the cake. First recipe from SK that wasn’t perfect the first time :-( I’ll try it again and cut way down on the flour in the topping.

  237. I’ve made this many times and even have commented it’s praises above! We love it! I always double it and it turns out fine. To make the topping crumbs really nice and big I follow your recipe but then pat out the topping onto a rectangular plate (a cookie sheet would do too). Let it cool/firm up & then cut into squares which I try to distribute evenly on top.

    As I live in the UK where butter does not come measured in tablespoons for the ‘cake’ section of the recipe (which is 85 grams UN-doubled), I began to look for a metric equivalent/tool for the whole recipe- found one for the NYTimes recipe here : http://www.food.com/recipe/rhubarb-big-crumb-coffeecake-361448 You can metric-ize it and double it (although I still use teaspoons for the tiny bits like vanilla). Thanks for all your wonderful and tasty work!

  238. Sorry & Whoops to the metric-ization of the doubled recipe at food.com….as I did today’s cake, realized that in metric it looked like too much flour for the crumb part (828 grams was supposed to = to 2 1/4 cups but it can’t be right according to another site which gives a break down for cup to gram conversion for flour versus sugar….hmm). Does anyone have a lovely online calculator that they rec?? Like a google translate for recipes?

  239. deb

    Juliane — I can add the metrics to this recipe, if you’d like. I’ve been working on going back and doing the archives, but with 750 recipes, it will take years. So, instead I’m doing them as requested. I’ll get these up later.

  240. Sarah

    Just so no one makes the same mistake I did:

    I made this in a bundt pan thinking it would be much prettier than a square pan. I doubled everything, and put most of the crumb on the bottom of the pan so that it would end up on top once I took it out of the pan. Used frozen rhubarb and just dried it off with multiple towels after it was 70% thawed. Anyways, the flavor of the cake is lovely (I adore coffee cake, so this might be unfair) and it’s not too sweet. But (and you may have guessed this) the cake broke in half when I took it out of the pan, with the crumb part all sticking in the pan. So yeah, you can’t put the crumb on the bottom (unless maybe you have parchment everywhere).

  241. TerryB

    @sarah. I too like a tube shaped cake. It is easy to serve and makes a cake go a long way. But I do not like bundt pans. I have a pan that belonged to my husband’s grandmother (it’s about 60 years old) that has straight sides is about 10 inches in diameter with a 3 inch wide straight tube and 4 inches high with loose bottom. It makes a beautiful cake especially one with a topping. I could not find done after a quick internet search, you could use and angel food pan, but if you ever come across one that is straight with a wide tube try it.

  242. pat

    very disappointing. Was looking forward to big crumb old fashioned crumb cake. Used frozen blueberries. The crumb mixture sunk and the cake rose to the top. Not at all what was pictured. Sure it will taste fine, but did not work well with frozen blueberries. Used duck eggs, so maybe the dough wasn’t dry enough to support the berries. Will keep looking for a big crumb old fashioned cake.

  243. Suzanne

    I’ve been making this coffee cake from your recipe for years, and I love it! One time I mixed all the ingredients for the crumbs together and then added the melted butter last, as opposed to holding the flour till last. That was a happy accident because the wisked together ingredients lump up into crumbs on their own when I stir the melted butter into it with a spatula. No making crumbs with my fingers any longer! I just made this today for something like the 12th time – even the 95 degree heat here in Colorado can’t keep me from baking this amazingness.

  244. Patty Forst

    A few weeks ago I found some fresh rhubarb at the store and rushed home with it. I was going to make a strawberry rhubarb pie like my grandmother taught me, but wasn’t quite in the mood for pie. I hit your website for inspiration and found the big crumb coffee cake… It was truly inspired, but I made the crumbs wrong (from habit & not reading well in my rush to taste it). Although the crumbs were not BIG, the cofffee cake was! My 4 year old grandson helped with mixing and watching the timer. He’s still not sure about rhubarb but I am! Thanks. I love your blog and your recipes. Next tiem I’ll follow your directions…

  245. This was absolutely delicious. I made a slightly altered version of it (using raspberries from my garden as rhubarb is out of season) to take to a potluck. It was a definite favorite and there were only crumbs left at the end of the meal.

  246. Fall’s here…I just made this with frozen cranberries. Kept the sugar, ginger and cornstarch measurements. Hard to not eat the whole batch. Perfect tartiness.

  247. Amanda

    I tried this today and the results were delicious.You really have to dissolve the sugar before adding the flour for the crumb mixture.I put it in the microwave for 5 seconds and whipped to ensure the sugar was melted just to be on the safe side.I had much more crumb mixture than I needed but it still turned out moist and delicious.

  248. I also have a tiny kitchen, and frankly can’t quite afford a mixer…but must I save up for one? I have started baking more recently (toddler with a sweet tooth), and every recipe seems to call for one of these gigantic contraptions. Any thoughts on whether or not I should get one? Usually I just mix things by hand – does that make my baked goods heavier (as well as making my arm tired)? Thanks! I’m excited to try this coffee cake, but might substitute blueberries so my husband doesn’t disown me.

    1. deb

      Kristina — I don’t think one has to have a stand mixer. I got by with a cheap hand mixer for many years and didn’t mind it. However, once you have a stand mixer, it’s hard to go back. ;)

    2. deb

      Hi Kristina — I got by with an inexpensive hand mixer (that I liked a lot more than the expensive one I have now) for years. It will do almost everything a stand mixer will.

  249. Lisa

    I wasn’t very confident while making this cake. The batter was very thick and unmanageable, and there wasn’t very much of it but there was a ton of the crumb mixture. Also, I didn’t have rhubarb and substituted frozen cranberries instead. Anyway, I squished it into the pan as best as I could and popped it into the oven for 45 minutes.
    It turned out to be one of the best desserts I have ever made….fortunate because I made it for a dinner party. Served it warm with vanilla bean ice cream and everyone loved it :)

  250. Hi Deb! I was searching forvsomething to make to give my co-workers as a holiday gift and this is the one! I was thinking of using cranberries asvthe fruit ingredient, but wondering what your thoughts are on how to best incorporate, same as the rhubarb? More sugar? I guess I’m worried about the cranberries not absorbing the sweetness bc of their skins and being bitter. Can’t wait to bake all weekend!

    1. deb

      Hi Lynette — Maybe a touch more sugar. I think they’ll collapse and bake in the cake even if used whole, but if you’re extra-nervous, you can use the approach here.

  251. Gordana

    This is in my oven now!!! I made it with strawberries though. I picked them the other day and I guess because it is cold out they never got sweet, which I thought would make this extra good. Thanks Deb! Love your site!

  252. Ishia

    Hi Deb
    What makes this cake have ‘big crumbs’ as opposed to a cake with a more finer texture? I want to make a layered birthday cake and want the texture to be like this one, moist and ‘big crumbed’. Thank you!
    P.S. I LOOOOVE your book!

  253. Chrissy

    (Close enough to exactly?) 5 years later this is still delicious! Couldn’t hunt down any rhubarb so made it with plums–YUM. And now I can make your plum poppyseed muffins from the cookbook! I believe this is what is known as a win-win.

  254. I just made these from the NYtimes website, but with blueberries! I think next time, i’m going to down the sugar. I used fresh ginger instead of powder, too. It was really tasty! Can’t wait till summer for the rhubarb version :)

  255. Karen

    I made this for brunch this weekend – I had one bag of frozen sour cherries and one of rhubarb, so I made one of each and they were yummy! The only change I made was that was out of sour cream and in a rush, so I substituted 2% plain Greek yogurt and was careful not to overdo the mixing times. Thanks so much for an enduring recipe!

  256. Mary P

    Made this yesterday. Since spring hasn’t quite sprung over here, i took the suggestion to make this with berries. Took about 1 1/2 hours until it was completely baked thru. which was a pain, but whatever, it happens. Never made a cake with a crumb topping like this before. I might be in the minority here, but I didn’t care for it. The big “crumbs” were too sweet for me with each bite.

  257. Julie

    Love this recipe. And so do my neighbors, I made more than a dozen and gave them away. I didn’t have rhubarb, so some had apples, some were banana, and some cherry. Each disappeared quickly.

  258. monacake

    i love this recipe so much. it satisfies many cravings. just made one with rhubarb and added a thin cream cheese layer on a whim (cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla) – worked out beautifully.

  259. Joanne

    whoops with regard to my earlier question, I found deb’s answer in the rhubarb snacking cake comments! in case anyone is interested– “The other cake — and I do realize this is confusing! — is more of a standard, taller coffee cake with a TON of crumb. It’s almost half cake and half crumb. There isn’t as much rhubarb. It’s more like a cake with rhubarb in it and this is a cake that has an almost rhubarb-pie like topping. The crumb layer is thin. Hope that helps”

    Happy baking everyone! :)

    1. deb

      Nicole — Sorry, the default in baking is usually unsalted. But I hardly think salted butter will wreck it, just make it saltier than designed.

  260. susan j

    Hello, SK!
    Great batter, good raw crumb consistency….buried under cake. Should taste great once cooled, yet i bet texture has been compromised. I would be great to know if it is the flour, or what. Any thoughts?
    Thanks!

  261. Melissa T

    I made this yesterday – OMG, deliciousness!!! Everyone loved it. I did use salted butter, and it turned out great! Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  262. xtopher

    Had a blast making this. Wanted more tartness so will correct to taste. Found adding solid butter chunks intriguing. Will add cooking time as was a bit gooey in middle. I understand comments regarding crumble but I didn’t have any probs. Did what John, #147 suggested, however, had extra crumble, no biggie. Ate this chilled the nxt AM and found that my goo set up, but would add more cooking time. I have a crazy rhubarb cake recipe to share for your consideration. It was one of those newspaper clippings that fell out of another cookbook. Thank you. I’ll be following your blog from now on!!!

  263. lynn

    I just have to post my comment. I LOVE This recipe. I realized I must have come across it a bit over 3 years ago & started making it then. I made it this morning to take to my daughter’s incoming Kindergarten playdate (using peaches & rhubarb). It got me reminiscing because I made it for one of my son’s incoming Kinder playdates 3 years ago! (shortly after discovering this recipe & making it a handful of times in a row back then!) It’s always well received and my family loves it whenever I make it. Thanks!

  264. Daquise

    I have made this recipe 4 times this spring and am about to bake it again because…well the rhubarb in my mum’s garden ‘summer-rebounded” and everyone wants this cake again and again.
    I find there is too much crumb relative to the rest of the recipe so will ramp that down.
    Also, I noticed Deb that you are conflicted about the rhubarb-vanilla marriage in your recipies…am afraid my pallate is too ordinaire to comment but I DO LOVE your zest for rhubarb-ginger pairing.
    Thank your for your great blog.

  265. barbra

    i made this tonight. we had it about 30 minutes out of the oven… still warm. big crumbs. it was super with rhubarb fresh from our garden. i used some WW pastry flour and most APF and it came out just fine. i didn’t have ground ginger, so used a spice blend i’d made a while ago (cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, some other stuff) seems like a pretty forgiving recipe. thanks!

  266. Colleen

    Just made this and it’s great, but I double the amount of rhubarb filling for more flavor, and it still fit in an 8×8 pan just fine. Also used half cake flour/half whole wheat flour.

  267. Made this for the second time, with much better results. First time I followed it to a T — but I think the frozen berries I added had too much liquid, drowning the batter. This time I used fresh rhubarb, some thawed and drained peaches, and a few blueberries for good measure. I only used one egg in the batter — because I’m lazy. And used low fat yogurt and mostly whole wheat flour. And for the crumbs…. Well, instead of all that flour I used mostly oats instead. It was awesome. But I guess I made an entirely different cake, inspired by your recipe! I’ll write it up on my blog someday

  268. Brilliant! I made this for work (doubled the recipe) and it was snarfed down in about 10 minutes flat. I actually got to do quality control and was very pleased with it. You see, I hate rhubarb. Hate the stuff. But when you can add enough sugar to it and put it in a baked good, it’s pretty dreamy. And this recipe is fantastic – once again.

    And comment #147 from John is right on the money. I love the science of baking and his tip was very helpful.

  269. I made this yesterday, terribly dry and the crumble was not right, even after following all the instructions to the T. Disappointed because my time and money was wasted.

  270. Kathleen

    Deb – you’re a culinary genius!! My husband and I are obsessed with your blog and cookbook and are always making your recipes and we are never disappointed. My friends think I should open a bakery because they think my desserts are the best. I always give you credit! Thank you for another excellent recipe. Made a pumpkin-version of this twice in 2 days and can’t get enough!

  271. Deb,

    Above you recommend increasing the sugar if using cranberries. I assume you only mean in the filling? Any thoughts on how much?

    More annoying q: since I don’t intend to go shopping before making this tonight, I’ll need to sub the sour cream. Is non-fat yogurt (acidic) a better sub than (non-sweet) coconut cream (non-acidic, but high fat content)? I see the batter has both baking soda and baking powder.

    Oh, and I now see 1 egg + 1 yolk. Hmm. Might just put in two eggs.

    At this point, I accept that if the cake fails it will be the result of my being a brat more than anything else!

    Happy Saturday :)

  272. deb

    I might just bump it up by a tablespoon or so. Cranberries are tart (well, so is rhubarb), no need to fight it. It’s better to use an acidic ingredient here. Would love to hear how it went.

  273. I just finished the last tiny slice a little while back :) I used a small apple in addition to the cranberries, because I had a bit less than half a pound of the berries, and because I love adding extra fruit to a cake. I added a tiny bit of extra sugar to the filling (1tbsp or less), used non-fat yogurt instead of the sour cream, and since the eggs were XL, I did use one egg + one yolk, i.e., no extra egg, or, indeed, brattiness. There is a frozen egg white sitting in my freezer now, twiddling its thumbs.

    The cake turned out fine though there were a few anxious moments about what I can only call “structural issues.”

    In spite of following your comment #150, the crumb mixture did not compact when mixed with a spoon, but could be compacted by pressing down with/in my hand. I suspect this has to do with the the sugars not dissolving fully, possibly due to a larger crystal size for the brown sugar? I am pretty sure that short of heating the butter+sugar mixture, the sugar would not have dissolved anytime soon. So I made the topping by first making balls by taking a fistful of the mixture at a time and pressing it in my hand, and then breaking the balls into pieces. I wasn’t sure how much “sand” to allow, but ended up mostly with big pieces and a little bit of “sand.”

    The next worry was whether the pieces would adhere to the fruit/batter underneath (this seemed possible) and cohere with each other as they would need to, it being such a thick layer (I was skeptical about this). Apart from the top layer of crumbs in the very center of my 9in round pan, it did all bake into a cohesive cake, which was a pleasant surprise. I suspect that it cohered only when it cooled off – is that how this works?

    This being my first time making (and possibly even eating) a crumb cake, I wasn’t sure whether the batter underneath is supposed to rise up to the surface or not. It did rise in a few spots, about an inch inside the edge, leaving lovely dark brown spots against the light brown of the crumb. But that only made me think about why it wasn’t rising up in more places!

    The cake took longer to bake (well over an hour) and I had issues testing for doneness, but both those are standard events with me/my oven.

    I thought initially that the crumb layer might be a bit too sweet, but the tartness/bitterness of the berries really stood up to that crumb, making it work. And the thin, soft cake layer contrasted nicely with the crisp crumbs. All in all, it was a pleasure to eat.

    This overly long comment reads a bit like a book report, but since you sometimes seem to be as anal as I am, I thought I would be thorough :) Thanks for all you do Deb.

  274. Alicia

    I have to say, this recipe stands up to a lot of abuse. I didn’t follow the cake instructions (just dumped everything in a bowl and whisked with a fork), halved the recipe in a loaf pan, substituted gluten-free flour, substituted sour cherries (and didn’t use any constarch/sugar for them), ran short on butter for the cake, ran short on white sugar and substituted brown, didn’t have chicken eggs so I used duck… you get the picture. It turned out delicious, and looks just like the photo. Thanks Deb!

  275. Lynda

    Rhubarb is so east to grow, you must plant some, then you can make it produce 2x a year easily, I have so much I bag it and give it away to neighbors LOL

  276. SaraK

    I just saw this recipe and Yahoo’s home page and what a great feeling it must be for Deb. I’ve followed her blog for a few years and it’s so amazing to see how successful she’s become. It just goes to show you don’t some gimmicky schtick a la Food Network to get people to appreciate what you’ve done.

    Sometimes, I feel like a stalker because some of my kitchen ideas have come from here. The spice jars – how cute were they. :)

  277. When I lived in New Jersey there was and is a bakery called “City Hall Bakery” across the street from Hoboken, New Jersey’s City Hall. That made crumb cake like this. They have a TV show called “Cake Boss” on now.

  278. MaryR

    My mother and I were looking for rhubarb the other day at the local grocery. They didn’t have any but the produce mng said he could order some in. He did, we bought some (a lot) because he sold it to us @ last yrs seasonal price. $2.99 lbs vs the $5.99 lbs when not in season. So we made the pies and took him up a piece. He of course said it was the best rhubarb pie he has ever had. We bought more rhubarb and today I am making this recipe for the rhubarb coffee cake. I hope it turns out good. I made some rhubarb, cherry, raspberry jam the other day that was fantastic.

  279. Kay Sheridan

    Hi Deb! I am very excited to give this recipe a go tomorrow! If I double it, would it be okay to bake in a 9×13 pan? Thanks!

  280. Cheryl

    Looks wonderful! I’d like to make it for a Mother’s Day brunch I’m hosting. How well does it holds up? Can I bake it the day before?

  281. P.E.

    Just baked this…One word—FANTASTIC! I must have done something wrong with the crumb because it was dry, but aside from that–wow!–great flavor, nice and moist, not excessively sweet. Thanks!

  282. Becca

    love the recipe but not sure how i feel about the crumble. it seems too flour-y. and i did follow the update in comment #150. next time i think i’ll use my struesel topping recipe for 1 stick butter to 1/2 sugar to 1 cup flour. but the cake part itself with the rhubarb…ohhhh yummy! as i was making this i realized i was out of vanilla extract but not to worry lol i had RUM extract and yup i used that instead and it was great! i will definately make this again but i might put my own tweak on the topping. and this is probably more of a personal preference thing not anything wrong with the actual recipe.

  283. I’ve made this twice now (because it was so incredible), and I noticed that the topping comes out perfectly when it’s made with cake flour, but comes out a little dry when made with all-purpose. If you remove 2-3 tablespoons from the flour ingredients and use all-purpose it seems to be better. I doubled the cinnamon for a little extra flavor. Had wonderful reviews, will defintely make again!!

  284. Susan

    Perfect use for my rhubarb – I too have better luck with a little less flour, and butter only softened, not melted. Big crumbs, baby! Thanks Deb, for a peerless website!

  285. Lynne

    As a confirmed rhubarb lover, I baked this version; however, I was disappointed in the amount of rhubarb and rhubarb flavor. When I make it again, I will double the rhubarb (to one pound); and adjust the crumble, which didn’t appear to be as moist as the photo depicts. A little less flour and more butter. I’m from the dairy state, after all!

  286. caz

    I made this with peaches (taking advantage of summer fruit while it’s here!) and just eliminated the sugar in the fruit stage. I added 1 tbps fresh rosemary as I have a peach-rosemary obsession but was a bit cautious and it wasn’t much noticeable. I’d add more and maybe also in the cake batter, not just the fruit filling.

    I also browned the butter for the crumbs -if you’re gonna melt butter, might as well brown it right? and found I needed a but more than 1/2 a cup (probably from water evaporation in the browning stage) to make the sugar dissolve and flour cohere nicely. I think it did still end up a bit sandy but overall got rave reviews from everyone.

    Oh and I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream but I generally figure the two are interchangeable anyway.

  287. Katie

    Haven’t tried making it yet (dreaming of those gorgeous cinnamon crumbs,) and can’t wait to try! this looks like one of those archive recipes that deserves to be refreshed like the soft pretzels were a while back.

  288. Susanne

    My husband expressed longing for rhubarb coffee cake last week; I was so thrilled when your name came up at the top of my search. I have a stock of frozen rhubarb so neither he nor I need to wait until it appears. Any tips for how to use frozen? Just treat it as I would with blueberries? Thank you!

    1. deb

      Susanne — Treat as you would blueberries; add it still frozen. Rhubarbs slumps incredibly after defrosting, more so than almost any other fruit I’ve seen except raspberries, so definitely easier to handle frozen.

  289. Nancy

    Hello From Maryland Again
    After I mix the ingredients I press the mixture to the bottom of a 8 or 9 inch cake pan I make it into an 1/8 inch thick rectangular shape. Refrigerate 30-40 minutes. After refrigeration is complete remo.Use a Chinese Chef knife to break it up into crumb size pieces. You can easily slide the knife under the crumble mixture working loosening it from the bottom gradually.

    It is great on top of oatmeal.
    God Bless and Yours

  290. Evie

    Hello Deb, I love your site and the book!!! I’m making the big crumb cake – can’t wait – and I have no problems converting almost all volume measurements to metric weights except for the cake flour measurements (the joy of measuring flour by volume = everybody packs the cup differently). Can you tell me what metric weight 1 cup or 1 3/4 cup cake flour is in metric weight for you? Thank you so much.

  291. Amy

    Perfect. So delicious. Huge hit. Made this for coworkers and it got rave reviews. I was unsure if my coworkers like rhubarb, so I made it with blueberries. FAntastic!! People were fighting over the crumble crumbs. Will definitely make it again.

  292. Deanne

    Fantastic! I have been awaiting Rhubarb season for weeks now, and finally found it in my grocery. I made it in a round pie pan, I like coffeecake in pie-shaped wedges, and we always add a dollop of greek yogurt atop, delightful and gives it some nutritional justification to consider this a “treat breakfast” with the protein. Thanks for all your interesting recipes!

  293. Jane M

    I have been waiting for 2 years to make this – forgot during rhubarb season last year, and was kicking myself since. I made this for a meeting this morning and everyone now thinks I’m a genius. Thank you!! It was delicious. Because some complained about the flour-iness of AP in the topping, I used cake flour for the topping and AP for the base. Will definitely make this again, hopefully not long from now :)

  294. Em

    Deb, trapped in the house today and wanted to make this yummy cake, but no sour cream!! Would yoghurt (any type – I have them all!!!) be a substitute? Thanks!

  295. Joanna

    You are my hero. I guess i need to give credit to Melissa Clark too. I loved this stuff growing up but now I rarely buy it – partly because the packaged stuff has trans fats and artificial stuff in it, and partly because of my (loose) motto that I can eat rich baked goods only if I make them myself (but since I love to bake, well that translates into eating a lot of goodies, ha!). I doubled this and made it in a 9×13 pan cause I had a pound of rhubarb, and this worked well cause I will bring half of it to a friend’s and still have breakfast for the week! Warning to those who double it, it really brings home what an obscene amount of butter this contains…it is not for the weak of arteries, lol. My crumbs were also a little too floury (used AP flour) but I bet weighing the flour instead of doing volume next time would take care of that.

  296. Kerry

    I made this Sunday for brunch. Absolute heaven! My husband couldn’t stop ‘Mmmmm’-ing as he ate it. The only change I made was replacing the ginger with orange zest. So, so good.

  297. Amy

    This recipe is so amazing! I love it so much and I can wait to try it with a bunch of different fruits. I do make it a little differently though. For the crumb, I use big flaky salt like Maldon, 2-4 big pinches. I bake it in a 9×9 and I quadruple amount of fruit along with sugar and ginger to taste (usually double, depending on the fruit) and more cornstarch.

  298. Melissa

    Mmmm. Mines in the oven now. I failed to read all the comments before making (actually I got the recipe off another blog and then was reading THOSE comments and it sent me here) and sadly had the same floury crummy mixture. I only used about 1 cupish total of the flour for my crumb mix so hopefully it tastes okay!

  299. Grace

    I increased the recipe by half, since that was how much rhubarb I had, and it was a tight fit in a 9×13 pan and didn’t bake through evenly (I increased the baking time, but the edges and top were very done while the center was very gooey). In the future I’d put it in 2 separate dishes so that it could bake more evenly. Also, this got pretty soggy on the bottom after sitting on the counter for a few days, so make sure you eat it up quick!

  300. peggy

    I read through all the comments before trying this, so was really worried about crumbs sinking, fruit sinking, crumbs burning, and not being fully baked. I baked the cake alone for 10 min, then with the rhubarb and reserved cake dough for 10, then with the buttery crumbs for 25. Fabulous! Maybe not necessary, but I wanted it to be right, and it was perfect! I’ll do it with many other fruits through the summer. First time on your blog, can’t wait to explore!

  301. Lene

    I was wondering if i could feature this recipe in my blog. I would translate it to german, so I can share my favorite foods in my home country. I’d give all courtesy to you of course and link you everywhere possible. Would love to hear from you, XO Lene

  302. Great recipe! I replaced the sugar in the cake with 2 very riped mushed bananas and added a box of blueberries to the rhubarb. Very yummy. But my crumbs are like sand too. not a problem just a bit messy when serving or transporting.

  303. I used frozen raspberries instead of rhubarb and I thawed and drained them. Wondering though if the water content caused the mixture to ooze up and over the top of the cake. I used an 8 inch round pan but next time I think I’ll try a 9 inch. Did this happen to anyone else? Taste wasn’t affected of course but was sort of like the blob bc you can’t see the big crumbs on top.

  304. Nadja

    Made this cake today with frozen blueberries. Halved the recipe for my mini baking pan.
    The berries are on the bottom, but the cake is still holding.
    The crumbs were a bit too sandy for my taste. Will make them with cold butter next time and less flour. And less crumbs, because there were a lot and still more than I could use on the cake.
    But nevertheless: very tasty. Thanks Deb.

    Greetz from Holland.
    Nadja

  305. Maura

    Hi! Have you ever used strawberries for this? Would they make the cake too wet? I’m dying for this cake but we don’t have rhubarb yet (and the strawberries are fantastic!). Thanks!!

  306. Liz

    I made this last year with rhubarb from the garden and it was wonderful. I’m about to make it again. And yes to Sophie, cake flour is self raising in UK. I’m going to try oats to replace some of the flour in the crumb as suggested by other reviewers. And Deb when can we expect your next cookery book please? Love your first

  307. Nadja

    Second round with strawberry jam (I didn’t care much for on bread). So delicious. This time I’ve used dark brown sugar for the crumbs and hafl white/half light brown for the the cake. MAde the crumbs again with melted butter, but put it in the fridge while making the rest. And the crumbs were fabulous this time :-)

  308. Nadja

    @Sophie: about the cake/self raising flour: Don’t know where your live. But f.g. in Germany/Netherlands (where I live) cake and self raising flour are a two different things.
    In Germany you can buy ‘cake’ flour. It’s a very fine flour. But as Deb wrote, regular flour does the job just the same.

    Self raising flour is a very common thing here in Holland (but f.g. I’ve never seen it in Germany) :-)

  309. amy

    OK, Deb, it’s rhubarb time again and I need help. The first time I ever made this cake several years ago, it was a glorious success. Praise all around. I gave some to my son’s speech therapist and she nearly kissed me, haha.

    But the last couple of times I made it…disaster. It was almost like the frozen rhubarb made the batter too cold and stiff…I could NOT get it cooked through. Very brown around the edges and still gooey and ended up collapsing in the center. I had the same exact problem using frozen blueberries in your blueberry cornmeal butter cake last year. Gooey, underbaked cookies aren’t so bad, but gooey, underbaked cake…no.

    Can you suggest how I could adjust the temperature/bake time to allow the cake to get baked all the way through and not be a mess in the middle, without burning it on the edges? Or some other solution I could try? Both cakes are SO delicious but I’m scared to try again…

    1. deb

      amy — In general, if a cake is too dark at the outside before it’s baked through in the center, a lower baking temperature will help. I suspect that the frozen berries are depositing more watery juices than fresh do, mostly because once frozen, fruit loses much more of its cellular structure than freshly baked fruit does. You might also try defrosting the fruit first and pouring off any liquid that’s puddled.

  310. amy

    …a quick addendum…I do confess part of the problem was that I used more rhubarb than the recipe called for (so, more volume of frozen stuff to chill the batter). I can’t help it, the hubs is a fanatic and always wants MORE fruit :) We’re huge rhubarb fans so we wanted to amp up the rhubarb. Is that just a no-go in this recipe? I’m going to try the rhubarb snacking cake today instead, but now I’ve got this cake on the brain and still want to try it again soon, if you have any advice on the underbaking problem.

  311. This is my third year in a row coming back to and making this recipe. When rhubarb season hits this is the first thing I think of. SOOOOOOOOO yummy! I love this cake sooo much!

  312. Sel

    Crumbs didn’t hold together after mixing, so I had to add 4 extra tablespoons butter.Overall, this was ok. Alot of steps/time to make an 8 inch coffeecake. I thought there should be more rhubarb. And although I don’t like alot of sugar in my desserts I thought this could have used a bit more. Most likely won’t make this again.

  313. I can’t imagine a better coffee cake! I went with blueberries (and a handful of leftovers strawberries for good measure) since I couldn’t find rhubarb at the store. You’ll definitely want to keep this one on the counter; I stored mine in the fridge at first, but it was lackluster chilled.

  314. Erin

    Made this, doubled for a brunch today (and a double batch of your yeasted waffles–a SK brunch!), and not a big crumb was left. Only minor quibble was in the chaos of various steps, I didn’t realize it was important to really press on the crumb mixture. I had dumped out a number of very small crumbs along with big ones before realizing I needed to give it more squeeze. Still incredible, thanks!

  315. Hi Deb!

    I know you just updated your website but you say to follow comment 150 in the crumb instruction. On mobile the comment numbers aren’t visible! It took me forever to find what you referring too :(

  316. Lindsay Schraw

    Can we please talk about that crumb cake you made at the bakery in high school where there was DOUGHNUT batter involved?? I had great intentions to make your recipe here, but got completely distracted by the anecdote. :) I tried it, but I think my doughnut batter should have been a little wetter, it was hard to spread over the crumbs. I used your crumb recipe, doubled. Also, because the crumbs were on the bottom for baking, they really flattened out – nothing like the crunchy, craggy peaks you get when they bake on top. Is that how you remember them turning out? I need to know more!! I’m obsessed.

    1. deb

      It turned out to be harder to replicate than I thought but I’ve almost got the kinks worked out… it will be in my next cookbook. I’m sorry to be such a tease!