rhubarb snacking cake

Almost every year, as soon as the weather gets warm, I become obsessed with a simple, single layer cake that can be made in little time and that I promise will be all you need to be welcome at any picnic/barbecue/cook out/pot-luck that summer.

pretty stalks of rhubarb, at last
rhubarb with sugar and lemon juice

Three years ago, it was a raspberry buttermilk cake, which was the equivalent of taking a single, thin layer from the very best yellow birthday cake you’ve ever had, scattering fresh raspberries over it and baking it until bronzed and perfect. Needless to say, it went on repeat. Later that summer, it was blueberry boy bait, a cake so decadent and buttery I briefly questioned if it had too much butter, then checked my pulse, realized any talk of too much butter was simply madness, and enjoyed the cake thoroughly for as long as the blueberries lasted. (Also, it worked.) Last year I become enamored with something I called a strawberry summer cake. Round and finely crumbed, yet almost butter-slathered-hot-biscuit in texture, it works best with just-picked and borderline-overripe strawberries that, when baked, nearly dissolve into jammy puddles throughout the cake. I also found that I liked it with some of the regular flour replaced with barley flour; just trust me, it works.

sour cream cake batter

spreading the very thin cake layer

And even though this category of cakes — the ones that you start baking on repeat over Memorial Day weekend (right after you take the cover of the grill and the tags off the season’s first sundress), and tuck away for the winter when apples emerge after Labor Day — was at capacity, that the cakes listed above are really all anyone should ever need, I have never known when to leave well enough alone and I’m so glad because this rhubarb snacking cake is my absolute favorite yet. Case closed. At least until next summer.

adding the macerated rhubarb
rhubarb-lemon layer
ready to bake

Because this cake, it simply wins. Part buckle, part streusel cake and part crumb bar, it’s the kind of nubby cake you serve in 2×2-inch squares on napkins, standing in the shade of a backyard. Although only 3/4-inch high, it manages to contain in that diminutive height the three finest elements of simple cakes loudly enough that you won’t even wish it were taller. The base is a thin layer of the most moist, tender and plush yellow cake that has ever graced this URL, fragrant with butter, a bit of lemon zest and the faintest amount of ground ginger. This is followed by a layer of sweet — but not so sweet that it forgets its tart roots — rhubarb that’s been macerated with sugar and lemon and baked into a jammy layer that’s closer to the inside of a crumb bar than the standard handful of berries normally speckled throughout summer cake. It comes thisclose to overwhelming the cake below it, but stops just in time. You won’t mind. The cake is finished with a brown sugar crumble with a pinch of cinnamon and when these three elements bake together, you’re done. You won’t need another go-to dessert recipe this summer, which means that your time is now free to play Frisbee, stare at the deep blue sea, invent cocktails, gather freckles across noses, and drag your sandy, sticky selves back inside at night to sleep soundly, then do it all again tomorrow.

rhubarb snacking cake

One year ago: Spring Salad with New Potatoes
Two years ago: Strawberry Brown Butter Bettys and Shaved Asparagus Pizza
Three years ago: Grilled Shrimp Cocktail and Graham Crakcers
Four years ago: Haricot Vert with Shallots
Five years ago: Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Snacking Cake

This cake was inspired by one I saw in Martha Stewart Living this month, but I changed a lot. Instead of making it in two 9-inch square pans, I baked it in a single 9×13, which is closer to the size I think is fitting for a picnic or pot luck and less work. I 2/3-erd the cake portion, because I wanted it to be thin, skipped the vanilla (which I think can be occasionally clashy with rhubarb) and added a pinch of ginger (which I think goes wonderfully) but not so much that the cake is by any means “gingery.” I increased the baking powder as well, just a hair, because it seemed too little for the flour volume. I didn’t scale down the rhubarb accordingly, but I did add lemon and reduce the sugar because I like it when rhubarb can still shine like its tart little self. I increased the crumb proportionally and I’m glad I did because, really, you can never enough crumb (and once baked, it keeps that extra rhubarb from running right off the cake) and I added a pinch of cinnamon to the crumb because, yes, it’s just happy there.

1 1/4 pound (565 grams) rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths on the diagonal
1 1/3 cup (265 grams) granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice (psst, skip ahead and zest it for the cake before you cut it)
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups (165 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup (80 grams) sour cream

1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces, or 55 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter or a nonstick cooking spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper, extending the lengths up two sides. (It will look like a sling). Stir together rhubarb, lemon juice and 2/3 cup sugar and set aside. Beat butter, remaining sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at at time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Whisk together flour, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon table salt and ground ginger together in a small bowl. Add one-third of this mixture to the batter, mixing until just combined. Continue, adding half the sour cream, the second third of the flour mixture, the remaining sour cream, and then the remaining flour mixture, mixing between each addition until just combined.

Dollop batter over prepared pan, then use a spatula — offset, if you have one, makes this easiest — to spread the cake into an even, thin layer. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the cake, spreading it into an even layer (most pieces should fit in a tight, single layer).

Stir together the crumb mixture, first whisking the flour, brown sugar, table salt and cinnamon together, then stirring in the melted butter with a spoon or fork. Scatter evenly over rhubarb layer. Bake cake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. The cake is done when a tester comes out free of the wet cake batter below. It will be golden on top. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Cut the two exposed sides of the cake free of the pan, if needed, then use the parchment “sling” to remove the cake from the pan. Cut into 2-inch squares and go ahead and eat the first one standing up. (If it’s written into the recipe, it’s not “sneaking” a piece but, in fact, following orders, right?) Share the rest with friends. Cake keeps at room temperature for a few days, but I didn’t mind it at all from the fridge, where I kept it covered tightly.

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510 comments on rhubarb snacking cake

  1. This looks great! I think I’ll try it as soon as the last cake I made is done. Since there are only two of us, I think I’ll half this recipe and try baking it in a 9 inch round cake pan. We’ll see how that goes! I swear, I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, but I’ve been finding too many great cake recipes lately…

  2. OKAY so i just printed out your rhubarb tart recipe.. then you post this! im going shopping soon and now i dont know which to make. which one would you recommend?

  3. You had me at rhubarb. And then again at snacking cake. My all-time favorite rhubarb crumb cake has chopped crystallized ginger in the crumb, but my children sadly complain that it’s too spicy. This looks like an excellent family-friendly alternative. (If you decide that you’re tired of having to share this cake with your little one, though, you can find the “spicy” recipe on my site.) :)

  4. I think anything with the term “Boy Bait” in it must have been a hit, even if just for the title. I think you should add that to the end of this one, because any sort of crumb cake streusel surely will snag those boys. I know it’d snag my husband for sure.

    So yep. Rhubarb Snacking Boy Bait Cake. That sort of rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

    Also, perfect timing, as I don’t know much about rhubarb so now this give me an excuse to learn. Thanks!


  5. heather

    I was JUST explaining to my boyfriend over the weekend what a “snacking cake” is, as he’d never heard of it. This is the kind of baking that my mom did in the 70’s and 80’s (simple, no-frills, eat-as-desired kind of desserts), and while I appreciate tackling more elaborate and “fancy” kinds of baking, this is my favorite. Looking forward to making this one, as my farmer’s market is lousy with rhubarb right now. Thanks!

  6. Sarah

    Do you think lime and lime zest would work instead of Lemon – I’m out of lemons. have limes and kind of feel like I NEED this cake…. :)

  7. Delyth@thedelicious

    I’m not sure whether I’m late to this scene or whether rhubarb seems to be the fashionable fruit of the year! I’ve seen it pop up in so many recipes in magazines and blogs lately. I always assumed it was a bit of a British second rater, but obviously not. It’s great to see it being used in so many ways. Jamie Oliver has two recipes where it’s even used in savoury dishes – one with duck and one with pork. I haven’t tried them yet, but they make sense due to the tart nature of the fruit. Your cake looks wonderful – ready to jump straight off the page.

  8. Deb,
    I’m taking a farming class and I’ve been hoarding the rhubarb. No one else gets how great it is. It’s like the acai of the new millenium. I’m going to try this cake – totally up my alley.
    I disagree with the vanilla/rhubarb clash. If you remember your rhubarb tarts, they have a vanilla bean and the vanilla made the rhubarb so creamy, but still kept the tangy, sharpness. Wonderful counterpoint.
    Many thanks!

  9. I absolutely love your raspberry, strawberry and blueberry summer cakes – so if you say this is even better, I cannot wait to try it!!!

    Would you mind adding weights? (I see you’ve already added grams for the butter!) Thanks so much.

  10. Alisa

    I can’t wait to try this! One question: any idea how many cups of chopped rhubarb 1-1/4 lbs translates to? I have some from the farmer’s market, but I have no idea how much it weighs and I don’t have a scale at home… thanks!

  11. Lara

    Isnt this a really similar recipe to the big coffee crumb cake? the one with rhubarb? Which do you prefer – am making a tea this weekend and i wanted to make that rhubarb cake but am now stuck for choice. help?

    1. deb

      Hi Lara — 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.

      Jenna — No problem! Check back in five minutes.

  12. Carmen

    Oh goodness, this is a must make… I made my first rhubarb recipe a couple weeks ago and have been itching to try another. I think this will be it!

  13. I just yanked a tiny amount of rhubarb from my garden and just came back from the grocery store with 2 more pounds of it to round out my stash. What perfect timing is this to see your recipe. Looks divine!

  14. Holy yum! I just made something similar this week. Well, honestly, I made it twice because it was so good. It was sort of mashup of this kind of cake and a Dorie Greenspan French yogurt cake. But I love the idea of a streusely crumb on top. I think I have a few stalks left…

  15. There are just so many good things that can be made with rhubarb! I used what I had for rhubarb ice cream, I must get more rhubarb so I can try this next.

  16. I still make your Big Crumb Coffee cake every summer. Some people say it is too tangy, not enough sugar. I love it though. I find so many rhubarb recipes to be overly cloyingly sweet. I actually like rhubarb, so I hate when people try and cover it up with sugar. I say if it isn’t sweet enough, then you don’t really like rhubarb! My rhubarb here in Fairbanks has another week or so to go, but I’m willing to bet this will be the first thing I make when it is ready. Thanks for another rhubarb recipe to add to my collection!

  17. 2×2 square!? This looks so good, I think I want to eat half the pan! I need some rhubarb in my life… It’s been too far into spring and I haven’t prepared any yet!

  18. Just when I thought I was running out of rhubarb recipes … (should have known better). I ate nearly five pounds by myself last week. (Nigel Slater helped with his rhubarb cinnamon polenta cake.) I’m willing to finish off this whole snacking cake on my own if I have to, as well.

  19. I’m rapidly realizing that I did not, in fact, put nearly enough rhubarb in the freezer. Wonder how much more I can pull off my plants!

  20. Reena

    I just made your rhubarb muffins last night — YUM! And I love love love your strawberry cake from last year.. so if this is kind of like a marriage of those 2 together, I can’t wait to make it!!!!

  21. i am so giddy with excitement because my coworker just brought me some rhubarb from her garden and it’s sitting on my desk! i can totally make this happen!

  22. this is exciting! i’ve been making your peach shortbread with rhubarb instead of peach (and loving it!) but am ready for a new spin on my favourite spring/summer treat.

  23. Laura

    I never comment on recipes before I’ve made them, but I must say that this looks absolutely fantastic! I’ve been trying to find a go-to rhubarb cake for years without any great success. This might just be the end of my search!

  24. Courtney

    I was just thinking that I needed a desert for a lunch this weekend and lo and behold this post appeared, thanks!

  25. Nice! I have a bunch of fresh rhubarb in the fridge!

    Have you ever tried pickled rhubarb before? I had some at Girl and the Goat in Chicago this past weekend and it was splendid! Now in search of how to make it…

  26. I’m expecting 2 pounds of rhubarb in my CSA this week, I’m totally making this cake even though my stupid temporary oven won’t fit the pan. I’ve made all the cakes you mention and blueberry boy bait will always be hard to beat, my husband loves it!

  27. Anna

    the walls of my office are suddenly too confining and all I want to do is run to the store, buy rhubarb, go home, and bake…alas, I need money to buy things at stores, and to make money I must work, therefore I have to stay within these walls for another little while :( that cake would be such a good snack right now! Thank you for the awesome recipe!

  28. “You can never have too much crumb.”

    Hear, hear! Is it terrible that I always make double and keep it in the fridge for sprinkling over yoghurt/ice cream/just eating?

  29. Hannah, Israel

    What a wonderfull looking cake!
    We don’t have rhubarb over here – what other fruit can I substiute with?
    We might have frozen rhubarb – will that do?
    Thank you!

  30. I love rhubarb so much that I hand-carried the best rhubarb I have ever seen onto the airplane home from Seattle :). The fresh rhubarb we have available to us is sucktastic. Could frozen be substituted?

  31. Candice

    Hi Hannah,
    I have seen rhubarb over here in Israel. I saw it in winter, not sure you can still get it. I for one am prepared to hunt around – this cake sounds yummy!

  32. Val

    OMG – my husband is going to leave me for you once I make this. By the way, I was making your banana bread last night after notcing 4 brown bananas on the counter and told my hubby I had not changed the recipe at all. He gave me a stare and said it was impossible, I simply cannot stick to any recipe….it is compulsive….unless it is yours. I told him I know you have done the work for me: read a few Epicurious recipes, read a few hundreds comments, tweaked and changed and finally published the best version. You saved me all the work!

  33. Shelagh

    I saw the same cake in Martha Stewart but it didn’t grab me enough to bother ripping out the recipe page. Now I’m glad I saved my rhubarb for this (improved) version. I think it’s the lemon in with the rhubarb that has my tastebuds interested.

  34. Kat

    I will duck in advance if every rhubarb-loving commenter decides to throw whatever is handy at me, but I’ve never fallen in with rhubarb. Perhaps I need to try this version to see if the case has changed, but all the desserts I have eaten with it in the past have been subpar.

    Which brings me to my question – would an equivalent sub be something with just as much liquid? Like a raspberry, which I am more partial to?

  35. I am so jealous! I LOVE rhubarb. Just absolutely love it. Can’t get enough. Unfortunately, I really can’t get enough in California! Farmer’s markets are bare, grocery stores only have a few sorry looking stalks. What gives?? Once I do find some I am definitely making this!

  36. Andrea

    Not only does the recipe sound delicious, but your prose evokes all the goodness of the season and makes me long for a lazy, summer day.

  37. I have a neighbour with a back yard full of neglected rhubarb, and a week or so to fill my freezer with snackable baked goods before I deliver baby #4. This cake is so happening (possibly in triplicate). Thank you!

  38. Heidi

    In the spirit of recipe adaptation based on what’s in the house: there’s a batch of this made with whole wheat flour and dark brown sugar in the oven as we speak. I had bought the rhubarb to make rhubard butter (like apple butter — not actually butter) but saw this recipe and couldn’t resist! You are leading us down the garden path! LOL

  39. Karen G

    First of all, I love the creative use of adjectives. .. viz., “clashy”, “gingery”, second of all, I’m so grateful that you continue to post new recipes despite having finished the book! I would have thought you’d have post-partum-cookbook-ennui. Soooo grateful for your stamina!! xo

  40. Rachelle S.

    It’s all I can do not to stick my finger into the screen to get a lick of the unbaked batter! It is weird that that’s what I really want rather than the finished product? It looks so lovely and thick while still being light!

  41. I’ve been seeing rhubarb at the grocery store and truthfully have never made anything with it. I’m so excited to try it out! Your cake looks phenomenal…perfectly fluffy, moist and sweet. Looking forward to giving your recipe a go!

  42. Ali

    We have your Blueberry Boy Bait in our rotation. It seems to come up every time we just don’t know what to bake. I look forward to trying this summer cake and the others mentioned above. Thank you for sharing your recipes!

  43. mai lowe

    Hi Deb, thanks for another tasty looking cake recipe!! keep em coming!! :) I am not a fan of sour stuff, so was wondering whether it would be possible to replace the rhubarb with another fruit – would you recommend one? blueberries? or blackberries?

    1. deb

      Replacing the rhubarb with other fruit — I’d say just about anything would work. Personally, I don’t think I’d be terribly into blackberries or raspberries because the seeds annoy me when they’re baked, but you’re of course not making this for me, but you, and can use anything you like. :) Peaches or apricots would be great too. I’d cut any larger fruit into 1/2-inch chunks so it can really bake down.

  44. Cake? For snacking? What a perfect description of what I want in my life every day. Now to get my hands on some rhubarb. Saturday is a long time away!

  45. Madeline

    Wonderful. When your CSA sends rhubarb, it’s smitten kitchen to the rescue! Or, when life gives you rhubarb, make rhubarb snacking cake. I’m going to try this out tonight!

  46. Iris

    I’ve made the strawberry summer cake and raspberry buttermilk cakes so many times. They are my go-to cakes. Both are easy and delicious. Do you think some strawberries mixed in with the rhubarb would work? I can hardly wait to make this for the next potluck.

  47. Nikki

    This cake looks gorgeous. I will be making it immediately and on repeat. This is my favorite time of year, when rhubarb comes into season. I always chop loads of it to freeze and use all year round but it is best when it is fresh.

    I also missed your blueberry boy bait and now I am tempted to make that this weekend as well. I have poor self-control.

  48. Nelleke

    This will be made tomorrow, even though I don’t lemons to zest in the house. I simply can’t wait till after my weekly grocery trip to make it! It looks amazing.

  49. mer

    i made up almost this exact recipe (ginger included) when looking for something to do with a bundle of rhubard a couple of weeks ago. how i know i have been reading sk long enough that i have begun to turn into you. yay!

  50. Kris

    This post made me sad, because I no longer live upstairs from my best friend, and therefore cannot whip this together just in time for True Blood/Game of Thrones/Whatever, and then demolish it with her in one sitting the way we did with the raspberry/strawberry/blueberry cakes. But I shall bravely carry on and try this anyway.

  51. Giovani

    Yes! I’ve been waiting for this summer’s everyday cake. This is my favorite thing to bake, especially the Raspberry buttermilk cake. Anyone who hasn’t made an everyday cake needs to soften some butter and scrounge up some berries real quick. Any dessert with fruit, streusel, and butter cake wins, especially when it calls for rhubarb. Will make this cake, will fall in love. Promise.

  52. I was inspired to try the barley flour when you wrote about it and have been habitually replacing a portion of AP flour with it when I bake. It’s great in lemon squares, scones, chocolate chip cookies, and the pat in peach tart crust Amanda Hesser wrote about in Cooking for Mr. Latte.

  53. It’s rhubarb season! I had grilled rhubarb the other day and it was so interesting. I’ve never had it outside of a sweet dish, so I wonder how it would taste to try and combine the sweet and savory of grilled rhubarb on some sort of a tart or cake like this…

  54. Annie

    So, if I make this and your rhubarb streusel muffins (my favorite!), I can eat rhubarb-streuselly goodness morning, noon and night this summer? Yessss!

  55. This bad boy is coming out of the oven in five minutes. If the finished product is anything near as good as the batter (yes, I did have to use a smaller pan since I ate heaps of it) then OHHHHH! This, sadly, was my first official non-box-cake mix, and I am never going back. Thanks, Deb!

  56. JZP

    I vow to make this as soon as I return from the JCK jewelry convention next week! Once all the couture diamonds and gems are blogged I will go into whimsical culinary wife mode!

  57. Wow! I made a straight up rhubarb pie a couple of weekends ago, then some just barely sweet stewed rhubarb with vanilla bean (on my blog!) and now I’m going to need to get my hands on more rhubarb and make this cake! I made your strawberry summer cake a zillion times last year, I can already tell this’ll be this summer’s go-to cake. Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  58. I’m always scared when it comes to rhubarb. I never buy it because I know I will leave in the fridge until it will turn bad and I will have to eventually to throw it away.
    Maybe if I manage to bake this cake I will make a new friend (i.e., rhubarb)?
    Hope this is really the case

  59. Actually i made lately few times rhubarb cake based exactly on you Russian sharlotca recipe – both with apples and without – good results every time – test even better if left for one day in fridge.

    This one looks good too.
    So today is baking day.

  60. Maike

    A new summer cake! (I made the strawberry summer cake A LOT last year. And so did everybody who had some…) AND you added grams and such. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  61. Carolyn

    Deb, this looks great! I love rhubarb.

    On another note; I love how well you write! I do a lot of editing, and to see someone write so beautifully without the constant interruption of spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes really makes your blog, which is already so wonderful (the recipes! the photography! the adorable little boy!) even more admirable.

    I can’t wait to see the book! It will be, without a doubt, the most riveting (yes, riveting) cookbook I purchase. I have never been this pumped for the release of a cookbook.

    Thanks again, you taught me how to cook.


  62. Lisa

    Yes! I was just thinking about berries and bars and crumbles the other day. Perfect way to use summer fruits. I’m most certainly going to make this. And, you’re right, it’s really not “sneaking a piece.” I mean, you *have* to try your baked goods when they’re fresh out of the oven. It’s really the only way. :)

  63. Kylie

    I just made this tonight. There was none of this “cool completely in the pan” thing happening. We scoffed it straight out of the oven with ice cream and it was beautiful!

  64. I love the 2nd picture of the rhubarb stalks – the light and colors are just right. :) Also, all the wonderful writing in this post is making me long for the beach! I’ll settle for the next best thing, the park (here in Paris)!

  65. Anne-Renee

    I have to make this tonight!! we have a huge rhubarb in the garden, just waiting to be turned into yummy food!
    So cake and jam it is tonight :-)

  66. Katie

    I don’t know anything about rhubarb. How do you tell if it is ripe? Are the reddish stalks better than the green? Are the green ripe?

    I want to know so that I can have a little clue about what to buy at the farmers’ market.

    1. deb

      More about rhubarb — I was on NPR/WNYC’s All Things Considered’s Last Chance Food segment a couple years ago talking about rhubarb. You can listen, if you’re like really bored or something. Anyway, it also includes some buying tips:
      * Both the red and greenish-white portions of the stem taste the same—tart and tangy.
      * I generally look for stalks that are 50% red, but no reason to reject yours if they are not.
      * Ideally, rhubarb should be firm and crisp, like an apple.
      * Store it wrapped in the fridge, but best to use it sooner as it will be a bit less crisp each day.
      * You can freeze it, but keep in mind that the cell walls will burst and when it defrosts, like many frozen fruits (though rhubarb is, in fact, a vegetable) it will be soft and slumpy. If you chop it and freeze it on a tray, then toss it into a freezer bag, it will keep for up to a year (longer if you trust your freezer). Use it in recipes still frozen. It will defrost quickly in the oven/batter.

      (I’ll add this back to the post after I make the toddler’s lunch so nobody has to scroll to find the information.)

      smg — Sure. I have read that when baking in a glass dish rather than a metal one, you should reduce the temperature by 25 degrees.

      1. Alene

        So many comments to look through, so I apologize if I am repeating one. Has anyone tried this gluten free? And what did you use? Thank you!

        1. deb
  67. Carole

    Thanks for the recipe–it looks wonderful and I’m going to make it for Sabbath this week. Just one question– it always beats me why any recipe featuring rhubarb also calls for lemon. Any ideas on that? I never use it, but maybe I should! What am I missing here?

  68. Tamara

    I have to say, I’ve never eaten rhubarb, but I’ve seen it lately in the store and wished for a recipe to try it. Now I have one and will be cooking this soon! Thanks!

  69. Carole

    @Katie… There are a couple of different kinds of rhubarb….one is greener in color while the other has redder stalks. (is “redder” a word?) At any rate, when the stalks come up out of the ground, they are ready to use and do not need to “ripen” as with other vegetables or fruits. Whatever they are selling at market will be ready to use.

    It is best to use the younger stalks, but I don’t know how one could differentiate between younger and older. Many of my fresh, young rhubarb stalks are large; others smaller in circumference so size does not appear to make the difference. The center stalks are larger while the outer stalks smaller around. The stalks should be stiff and not wilted.

  70. Patricia Price

    My grandfather loved rhubarb and always had a few plants tucked into the back of his little garden near where the strawberries grew. This is definitely rhubarb season. If people can’t find it in their fresh produce markets they should ask for it. Woman can’t live for bread alone…she MUST have rhubarb. Blueberries with a bit of lemon zest would be a good substitute if you really can’t find rhubarb. Today it’s off to the market for rhubarb. Tonight it’s yummmmm! :D

  71. Katie


    Thanks! I didn’t have a clue. The only way that I have ever had rhubarb (a long time ago) was in a strawberry-rhubarb sauce on ice cream. At the time, I sort of remember that it was a bit sour. The ice cream was needed to sweeten it up.

  72. Just threw some rhubarb into the FreshDirect cart at the last minute because it was on sale and was going to throw together the ol’ rhubarb with a splash of strawberry pie…but maybe it’s time to try something different! ;)

  73. Sharon

    Yesterday I got back from a trip to a small town in Germany, next to the North Sea. We visited a cafe there and had their special: a thin layer of yellow cake with rhubarb, like yours, but on top – a layer of meringue. It was really fantastic. Do you think it would be possible to adapt your recipe? how? I’m quite good at following recipes but have no idea how to invent them myself :-)

  74. Reb Kilde

    Try substituting the cinnamon in the topping with cardamom. Mmmm.
    Happy summer from cloudy, cold Wisconsin. This recipe made even my toes feel warm.

  75. kldewitt

    I made the cake last night. I waited until bringing it to school this morning to try it. It was AMAZING. I was afraid that the amound of rhubarb was too much. But of course, it cooked down beautifully. Many of my students and colleagues had never even heard of rhubarb! I was happy to use your cake as an introduction.

  76. karla

    hi deb, i know maybe its a dumb cuestion, but what does rubharb tastes like? what is consistency after baked? i have never tasted it :(

    1. deb

      Guys, sorry for the downtime today. I used it to buy a newer, bigger server and, fingers crossed, by the end of the week SK should be loading like new again.

      Hi karla — No such thing dumb questions! (It’s not like a photo will tell you how it tastes, anyway.) When raw, it’s crisp like an apple or celery stalk, and very sour. If you were to saute it in a savory dish without sugar, it would add an acidity or almost lemony element. Even though it looks very stringy and fibrous, there’s no reason to peel it. When it cooks down, it completely falls apart and the strings break down. It cooks down fairly quickly. If you were making a compote with rhubarb, sugar, and water, it would be fully soft in just about 20 minutes. This is why it’s so wonderful for tarts and pies and jams.

      Let’s see, what else: The flavor is a cross between a berry or cherry and lemon, which is why it’s so good in desserts. It adds a balance of tartness that’s hard to get when you start with a fruit that’s already sweet. Also, t’s actually a vegetable, not a fruit, but in cooking, it works so much better with fruits (imho). The leaves are poisonous (though if you buy it at a store or farmer’s market, you’ll never see them and if you grow it, you probably know this!) so you’re kind of living on the edge when you eat it.

  77. I am ashamed to admit this, but I was 50 years old before I ever tasted Ruhbarb. I live in the deep south, and ruhbarb just wasn’t something we saw much of. All of a sudden it became popular in my neck of the coast, and I decided to give it a try. Oh my Lordy, it was love at first bite! I have been trying to make up for all those lost years ever since. Thanks for the tips on buying. I’ll be putting those tips to good use this afternoon at our handy dandy Publix Market. I plan to make your cake this evening. And, right after I do, I am headed to Amazon to pre-order your book. I love your web site Deb. Thanks ever so much for experimenting on our behalf!

  78. Erica

    This past weekend I made the strawberry rhubarb crumble. As I was reading this recipe I wondered to myself how long ago you posted that one – 2 years? And there it was 5 years ago! I make that recipe non-stop at the start of summer. It rocks. Although you may have convinced me to give this one a try.


  79. zoe

    This is in my oven right now…I subbed strawberries for a third of the rhubarb. Can’t wait to eat it. The cake batter smelled so good that I might just make a plain cake out of it some time!

  80. Brenda

    Oh my, this sounds absolutely wonderful. I have an obsession with rhubarb that began during my childhood. My German grandmother made so many desserts with rhubarb – kuchen, snack cakes, crisps, pies, you name it. She would also allow the rhubarb to shine by not over-sweetening it. This dessert sounds like a wonderful homage to my grandma. In my opinion, rhubarb is the most gloriously undervalued and overlooked fruit/vegetable. And for another rhubarb inspired dessert – last year I made a rhubarb swirled cheesecake. The tang of the cheesecake (with lots of lemon zest) and rhubarb play very nicely together!

  81. CP

    Oh my goodness, this sounds perfect! We’re now eating dairy-free at our house, but I don’t have much baking experience yet. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  82. Liz

    Thanks for the warning on the poisonous leaves! I’m growing rhubarb for the first time this season, and I had no idea. Here in Northern California, we get a lot more plums than rhubarb, so I expect I’ll be making this with plums, as soon as they start falling in a couple weeks, and which I think are the closest fruit to rhubarb, in terms of tart/sweet. Woohoo!

  83. Stefanie

    Yum, yum, Deb! I made this last night right after I saw this post (I’m preggo right now and I’ve had a major hankering for something rhubarb-related). :) My husband and I had a piece right out of the oven last night with some vanilla ice cream, and then I brought it to work and shared it as a “coffee cake” this morning for a meeting. It was a hit!

  84. Jen

    My husband and I were so excited to make this last night, but when I ran out in the backyard to harvest some rhubarb, I realized we only had 1/3 of what we needed! So we subbed strawberries for the rest of the weight, cut back the sugar a bit to compensate for the sweetness of the strawberries, and it was SUPERB! Thanks Deb, for another great recipe. I discovered your site a few months ago and I am obsessed with your recipes! Can’t wait for the cookbook to come out!

  85. I just made this today , and , at 37 weeks pregnant, I should be making stews and soups and easy things to heat and eat, but all I want to do is to make this cake again. I wonder how it freezes? Perhaps because of the long baking time the baby will nurse, get changed and fall asleep before the buzzer goes off?! Wishful thinking but thanks for this delicious recipe!

  86. jannn

    I want to make this cake with something other than rhubarb. I don’t like rhubarb, it is not in season in this part of the world, and it’s too sour. That means it needs too much sugar to make it palatable. Please suggest another fruit that would work with the ginger and suggest the a reasonable reduction of sugar.

  87. Patty

    Just made your Rhubarb Crumb Cake over the weekend. An annual event — such a winner. Your rhubarb muffins (also recently made) have white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour. I think that would work in this cake too, making it even more “snacking” friendly.

  88. EM-MV

    I appreciate the lineage of this cake to your other simple summer cakes. I made the strawberry summer cake several times last year (once with wineberries and a few times with raspberries). But I want to also mention another top fave: Raspberry Breakfast Bars. Those were so amazingly good I couldn’t believe it. I will certainly be making this rhubarb cake, as soon as I can snag some rhubarb.

  89. Jamie

    This post was signaturely ‘Deb’. I loved it. And Rhubarb is my all-time favorite… fruit? vegetable? …hold on… I’m back. “Rhubarb is usually considered to be a vegetable; however, in the United States, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it was to be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties.” -thanks, wikipedia!

    1. deb

      Other fruit suggestions: Strawberries could be great, peaches and plums too. Hard to estimate the amount you’ll need but you’re looking for an amount that when chopped (again, 1/2-inch pieces) will fully cover the top of the cake in one layer. The sugar should only need to be dialed back slightly, maybe using a 1/2 cup. The rhubarb layer here is fairly tart, still.

      Jamie — Thank you. That’s awesome — I didn’t know. And yet, it’s kind of ridiculous, right? A court deciding that a vegetable is now a fruit? :)

      1. Dixie

        Hi Deb!

        I absolutely love your recipes and this one especially. I’ve made it for the past two seasons (aka ever since I discovered the recipe)!

        I’d like to make a couple of batches as gifts for others. Any advice on how to best store for gift giving? I put mine in a big ziplock and the topping gets mushy. Totally delicious even when mushy, but I want the recipients to get perfect snack cake!

        Any advice is much appreciated.

        Thank you for the delicious additions to my life!

        1. deb

          I leave it in the pan unwrapped if just a couple days to keep the top crisp. Usually the added moisture for the next couple days as the fruit softens into the cake more than offsets any dryness from the air. More than that, I cave and put foil on and keep it in the fridge, but you do lose the crisp.

          1. Dixie

            Thank you so much! I’ll leave uncovered just until I deliver! Thank you for taking the time to respond. You’re amazing!

  90. Rachel

    You read my mind! My pregnant belly has been craving something rhubarb-y, but I couldn’t quite decide what it was I wanted. This is it!! I’m absolutely making this this weekend. Thank you!

  91. Judy

    could you also put in volume amounts for the rhubarb – like 2 C cut up? I’m picking from my garden and don’t use a scale. otherwise – this looks delish and I am definitely making it this week. thanks for another winner.

  92. Laura

    This is a great recipe. I just got some lovely rhubarb the other day so I will be making this soon. I also want to say I really love your blog and look forward to a new post as I really adore your writing. Thanks.

  93. Kate

    I made this tonight, and it was delicious: super “snackable”, not too sweet, and delightfully summery.

    Oh, and the splendid result was despite not knowing how much rhubarb I had. I just chopped it up and figured if it looked close to the photo (very handy guideline, that!) that the cake would at least be passable. Yup.

  94. Mikki in Wisconsin

    I am *so* making this tomorrow! Our rhubarb is at peak, so it’s perfect timing! Will give some to a good friend, to make up for having to re-make a pie that didn’t turn out. Sigh. I long for a gas-powered oven again… Will also probably be trying it in a few weeks when the black raspberries come in…

  95. Sarah

    I just made this and had a slice, and it was amazing! I’ve never cooked with rhubarb before, but it was super simple. I made it in two 9″ round cake pans, one for me, and one for a small party. I’m glad I don’t have a 9×13 or else I would have to give away all of it!

  96. This looks divine – thank you for sharing!! I’ve never cooked with rhubarb before but am completely inspired by you. Also, your raspberry buttermilk cake looks amazing – will have to try that soon too :)

  97. Jenny

    I bought 2lbs of rhubarb at the market with the intention of making jam and was given two bunches, neither of which weighed in at more than 12oz – while I don’t get angry at my farmers, I admit that I felt a bit cheated. Luckily there was just enough to make some delicious cake! Thanks for the perfectly timed recipe, Deb!

  98. Susan

    This is the cake base I’ve been looking for forever, I hope. I have an apple dessert that uses a cake mix as the base and though the dessert is decent, it would be outstanding with a less artificially flavored base. It’s the only time I’ve ever resorted to using a cake mix and only because I had no cakey textured base recipe that I could sub.

    I’ve had only one experience with rhubarb and it wasn’t very good..but I blame the strawberries that practically melted in the mixture that ruined my pie but made excellent jam when drained into a pot and cooked down on the stove. Rhubarb is hard to come by in CA. Mostly it’s fairly limp when you find it. I’ll be picky this time around.

  99. Becky

    I needed a dessert recipe and was planning on rhubarb something since it is in abundance in my kitchen at the moment. Then you published this like it was meant to be. I will be making this tonight – hoping to impress some colleagues with this, thank you so much!!

  100. Megan V

    This looks awesome. I tried and failed to make a strawberry-rhubarb bundt cake two summers ago, the only cake that I have ever made that was unedible and I actually threw it away. It could have been that it was the last week of July and we had no a/c, but I’ll never know.
    This looks like just the cake to get me back on my feet again. And who doesn’t love rhubarb? I’ve seen it actually grow in Wyoming, I might have to plant my own.

  101. Denise

    Sigh. I looked for rhubarb at my store because I wanted to make a recipe I have (and love) but they didn’t have any. Bought strawberries instead and yesterday made the summer strawberry cake. I’m now sitting here with a piece of the cake and trying to figure out which rhubarb recipe to make when I find some rhubarb (and I will find some!)

    1. deb

      Helen — I haven’t worked with soy yogurt before, but that would be my first stop if you’ve replaced it successfully in other recipes. Soy milk would probably work as well, and you can “sour” it a little with lemon juice.

  102. jmarie

    made it yesterday and it turned out great! i would make my cake even a little thinner next time–i felt mine was a bit ‘poofy’

  103. Thanks for the spring time recipe Deb! I have been trying to make something with rhubarb every week while it’s the season. And believe it or not, I’m actually getting tired of eating rhubarb pie (although no one should ever get tired of pie), so the snacking cake was a great change of pace. Looking forward to trying the rhubarb crumb cake!

    Did anyone else have trouble with the crumb portion? I found that the cake baked faster, leaving me with a raw and floury tasting crumb. I tried broiling it for a bit which helped, but it certainly didn’t look as delicious and crumby as yours.

  104. Joy

    Made it today for happy hour at our house (casual, impromptu, come drink beer eat snacks at our place before the toddlers melt into puddles of exhaustion). It was a hit. I did sub in whole wheat pastry flour and it worked just fine (I think the slight increase in heartiness does well with rhubarb). Also, I chopped up and macerated the rhubarb for several hours…which I think balanced out the slightly drier batter of the whole wheat flour (because the rhubarb released more liquid). All in all, awesome!

  105. i have been following your summer cakes for at least two years now, and you haven’t misled me yet! i love rhubarb. and i love the idea of a snacking cake…makes me feel less guilty, somehow, if it’s a ‘snack’ instead of a more formal ‘dessert’ :)

  106. Mary Ann

    I love it when I get to try something different from the regular stuff I have
    always made. Your’s are always so yummy. Thanks so very much!

  107. Kate

    I wanted to make something with rhubarb, since it just began appearing here and there… I looked through countless recipes — no, really! I had enough of rhubarb fool, and I’m not yet there for canning (hey, I’m 16, I’ve got time! [and an irrational fear of rubber taste]) And when I finally settled for this: , you are posting THIS! Now guess, which cake is now cooling in its pan, huh?
    Smells heavenly, minus ginger, which I forgot to buy. The rhubarb was rather juicy when I put it on the cake, but it seems okay now. Streusel all the way!
    Thank you for a wonderful recipe! :)

  108. Mikki in Wisconsin

    @Judy 148 – My fella cut up and measured the rhubarb for me – we got an even 4 cups, cut in 1/2-inch pieces on the diagonal. :-)

  109. Olivia

    You did it again Deb! I was searching for a new recipe that softly showcased rhubarb and this was just perfect!! The cake is not overly sweet, the thin layer of rhubarb and crumb pulled everything together! It goes perfectly with my morning coffee! Thanks for sharing!

  110. This was so good. I made a half batch with yogurt instead of sour cream (because we didn’t have any sour cream and we only had about half the rhubarb in the recipe. And no potlucks on the horizon.). A-freaking-awesome. I could probably eat the whole batch myself but I’m holding back. Barely.

  111. Mikki in Wisconsin

    Wow. I kinda messed up and put some powdered ginger and salt into the mix for the crumb, but it *works,* so I’m not gonna mess with … ah, perfection… TY for the recipe, Deb, and for the inspiration! I’m sharing it with a BFF tonight and will make it again in a week or so and add some chopped candied ginger to the crumb mix, just to make the happy cake happier. :-)

  112. Bekah

    This looks wonderful! Just got my first batch of rhubarb in our CSA and I’m making this tonight. Just wondering, could the final product be frozen? Ironically, I also went out today (before I knew I was getting rhubarb) and got raspberries to make your raspberry buttermilk cake. :) I want to make both before the fruit goes bad. I was thinking I could bake it, cool it and then freeze individual squares?

  113. Kelly

    Excited to try it as the raspberry buttermilk cake is my go to cake in the spring and summer for brunches and cook outs. It is so well loved in my house.

  114. Linda

    This was FAB! The only things I did differently were: I added nutmeg to the rhubarb while it was macerating, and I substituted plain yogurt for the sour cream as I had none in my fridge.
    Sometimes I make stewed rhubarb with candied ginger, sugar and lemon zest, just as one would make apple sauce, and serve it with pork.
    My first rhubarb memory was having Ftatateeta’s French toast with cream cheese and rhubarb/ginger jam at Serendipity c. 1961.

  115. Lucy

    Long time reader, first time poster. I substituted gluten-free flour here, but otherwise made it as written. It worked just fine. I think that the crumb layer would have benefited from using oat flour rather than GF, but it’s a great cake, and something to do with the rhubarb plant in the backyard. Thanks!

  116. I made a vegan version of this Wednesday night and am still “snacking” on it three days later. Thank you so much for sharing a recipe that helps me put all my rhubarb to use! It will be a summer staple for sure…

  117. Annie M

    I MADE THIS CAKE!! (No offense but it drives me crazy to have to sift through dozens of “this sounds amazing” or “I have to make this” or the worst “this smells great while it’s baking”). Why can’t folks make it THEN tell us what they think? SO! It DID smell great as it baked, BUT it’s very tasty too. I only wish I’d doubled the streusel as the rhubarb/lemon combo makes it quite tart. I did use greek yogurt instead of the sour cream and vanilla instead of the ginger. (Yes, I’m sure some will tell me they hate people who make a different recipe.) Thank you for a great seasonal treat!

  118. Judy

    I just made this super delicious cake, and promptly snacked away. Ok, I made a couple of substitutions: greek yogurt for sour cream (what was on hand) and 1/2c flour & 1/2c buckwheat flour for the crumb top (needed a bit more butter, like maybe 1 tsp more)
    thanks for another fantastic way to eat rhubarb!

  119. tariqata

    For anyone interested in halving the recipe, I made this cake very successfully in an 8×8 square pan.

    The only problem is that my husband has just gone back for his third piece – maybe I should have made the full recipe.

  120. David T

    I used plain whole milk yogurt in place of sour cream and it worked just dandy! They’re pretty much the same thing, anyhow.

    Also, you already reduced the sugar!? Maybe it is just me, but this is still super sweet. I think it could be cut down to a cup or less of sugar and still be absolutely delicious!

  121. Rosie

    Coconut variation: I added about half a cup unsweetened flaked coconut (roughly chopped–they were the super thick kind) into the batter and subbed in coconut oil for half the butter in the cake. The coconut rhubarb combination is sublime!!

    (First comment, first ever addition of my own to a smitten kitchen recipe!)

  122. silke

    Thanks bunch for this delicious recipe! It is one of three new rhubarb cake recipes I have tried this season, and it was an instant hit with my family! It is not as “cakey” as many others, the cake layer really only supports the rhubarb and crunchy topping – heavenly! At first I thought it might have been a bit too much rhubarb because the top was fairly… well… soupy while baking, but it all came down to a moist cake, a creamy fruit top and the yummiest bit of caramelized sugar around the edges. I must admit I’d never have thought a pinch of ginger and some lemon zest would team up so nicely with the rhubarb, but lo and behold! I am converted.

    Also the total amount is perfect, just as you say above. We’re a family of three (with a kid aged 3) and will just manage the cake over a weekend without too much of a bad conscience.

    The absolutely only thing I changed: I lined the tin with parchment paper on all four sides, partly also because I only had a stainless steel tine on hand, nothing with a no-stick coating, and highly recommend this because getting the cake out of the tin is definitely easier this way.

    I’m getting all restless now to try out the raspberry buttermilk cake, the blueberry boy bait and the strawberry summer cake… total cakemania!

  123. Katka

    Here in Europe we are making this cakes with any kind of fruits the whole summer over. Usually it is done from a yeast dough. You use whatever you have at home. Apples, Apricots, Plums, …… But the best is rhubarb or red currant. The sweet-sour taste and a lot of crumb. Nothing is better

  124. Thank you for this. I made it for a brunch we hosted yesterday, and it was simply PERFECT. My only regret is that I didn’t hide away a few pieces to enjoy with my coffee this morning before it got devoured by our guests. I guess I’ll just have to make another one…

  125. Megan

    Tried this recipe and didn’t love it. The sugar and juice from the rhubarb seeped to the bottom of the cake and made a sticky, hard bottom (almost like a hard candy) that sort of ruined the experience. But I usually love your recipes, Deb!

    1. deb

      Hi Megan — Sorry it didn’t work out. A hard bottom doesn’t sound right at all. It’s a very tender cake. I wish I understood how that might have happened. Did you use a glass baking pan or anything unusual? Thanks.

  126. Jeff

    Hi Deb – I’ve got barley flour left over from the strawberry cake last summer! Do you think this one would benefit from replacing some of the regular flour with it as well?

  127. Mary

    This is wonderful. I was expecting to have plenty of left overs but that didn’t happen. I will make this again and again! Thank you!

  128. Kate

    This cake is delicious, thanks for the recipe! I am always a bit confused about how much of the liquid to include after macerating fruit for a pie or for a recipe like this. I did add some of the liquid that came out of the rhubarb, but I left out a little more than half of a cup. I was worried about the cake getting too wet, but the rhubarb layer also didn’t come out totally jam-like. Should I have added all of the liquid?

  129. Tanja

    New trick: Share Smitten Kitchen recipe on Facebook. My mom of course sees this and makes the rhubarb cake. Yahoo! No work, all the benefits for me! Such a nice cake. The whole family loved it.

  130. Pam Mischel

    I have a question:) When I added the sugar and lemon juice to the rhubarb and let it sit for a while, I wound up with a fair amount of liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Did you use that liquid when you put the rhubarb layer on the cake or did you only use the fruit?

  131. Pam Mischel

    Deb…one more question. After you’ve made the cake (let’s say at night) do you put plastic over it to store or do you keep it unwrapped. I’m afraid that covering it will make it too gooey but I don’t want to dry it out. I’m always wondering how to store. It is delicious….Made it twice already!

  132. Fiona N

    Re comment 209, I used a glass baking pan, and didn’t have any problems, so I don’t think thats the culprit

  133. Anna

    This was great! I left some at a friend’s house. They later called to tell me they felt like a kid again coming home to a piece of cake…. :) Always great to make people happy! The power of butter, sugar and flour!

  134. Jenni

    SO good. I used a glass pan as well and heated the oven to 325 degrees. I also didn’t realize until I started the recipe that I had no ground ginger, but I used a little bit of fresh, and it definitely works with the rhubarb. I love that the rhubarb is still a bit sour and not complete mush after baking. Also, I agree that the cake is ridiculously moist and flavorful! I will have to bring this to work to get rid of it because I could probably eat it all myself.

  135. Bevi

    I made this yesterday and it received rave reviews! I too used a glass baking dish and the cake was moist and tender on the bottom. The use of the parchment paper sling is helpful. This is a perfect company dessert as well, I think. No muss, no fuss!

  136. Sheryll

    Hi there, My husband and I could not remember any rhubarb taste experiences (we are middle-aged after all). Anyway I made this and we found out that rhubarb is a delicious tart sensation. The cake and crumb are a wonderful balance to the tart. Thanks for posting this cake recipe!

  137. Mikki in Wisconsin

    @Pam Mischel 216 – I used all the liquid. I thought the batter was quite thick and understood it when I poured the liquid from the rhubarb on it. I put the rhubarb on using a slotted spoon and then poured the liquid over that. :-)

  138. Mikki in Wisconsin

    @Sarah 214 – My fella cut the rhubarb up for me and measured it. It came out to just about 4 cups even, cut the way Deb says to – 1/2-inch pieces cut on the diagonal.

  139. Lucy

    Thanks Deb, I can’t wait to try this. I love rhubarb and recently made a new favourite to take in to work – Rhubarb, Sour Cream and Cinnamon Sugar cake from Belinda Jeffery’s Country Cookbook. I was shocked that so many people had never tried rhubarb or only in pies with strawberries.

    One question – can substitute apple for rhubarb in your recipe for more finnicky eaters?

  140. Kat

    I have a favorite bakery where they make the exact same cake as you! Sometimes they add strawberries or apricots to the rhubarb and it is so yummy. I tried asking for the recipe but they said it’s private (for obvious reasons). They call it the Rhubarb yoghurt cake so I suppose they are using the plain yoghurt instead of sour cream and I must say it’s delicious. It’s the healthier version probably. Either way, now I have the recipe I need to try it myself :)
    Thank you for sharing Deb, have nice day

  141. AngAK

    I made this last night using orange zest and juice—–it was wonderful. please try it with orange next time. and vanilla was quite yummy in this.

  142. Bie

    I tried it this weekend, with frozen hrubarb and added some strawberries and apple, because I was a bit short on rhubarb. What a delicious cake! It is something to make again and again. And when the rhubarb season is over, I will simply use plumbs.
    Thank you!

  143. Simone

    I lucked upon some rhubarb (end of seasn here in Australia) and made this last night – absolutely delicious. Thanks deb, amazing as always

  144. Kellyg

    I’m with Annie M. I have to scroll through so many excitement posts to see if one or two of 200 actually made the cake and get some feedback! (I mean, I was excited too — I just made the cake first :)
    I actually found the cake to be a little underwhelming, especially during the first couple bites. As time/pieces went on/were consumed, I liked it more. I did appreciate how the rhubarb really is able to shine ‘like it’s tart little self’ and loved that my teeth found a small piece of lemon zest during the feeding.

  145. Sarah L.

    Deb, love this sight and read every recipe you post. I made this cake for my daughter’s high school graduation pool party over the weekend and it disappeared! I barely got a piece myself. Everyone loved it – even the teenagers. Thanks so much for all that you do to inspire all of us who like to cook/bake

  146. Emily

    Like a few others in Comments, I’ve eaten (and loved) rhubarb my entire life. Here in the Pacific Northwest rhubarb grows wild. My German mother (someone else here mentioned their German grandmother making rhubarb treats) used to make rhubarb “stew.” Cut it up, add a little water and enough sugar to make it edible, cook it down until it reminds you a bit of homemade applesauce and it’s dessert. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is rhubarb’s health attributes…it’s loaded with vitamin C. On the other hand, there is all that sugar….
    This recipe looks delicious, and I’ll make it this weekend.
    Thank you!

  147. Bethany

    I made this cake last night….AMAZING!!! However, kept it on the counter in a sealed container and the crumb got pretty soggy overnight. I was thinking maybe I could put it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp it up before eating tomorrow? Did this happen to yours? Otherwise, so delicious!!!

    1. deb

      Bethany — I do think you could toast it back up in the oven. It’s unfortunate, but those moist cakes and tender cookies we all love totally lose their crisp edges when in an airtight container. The other option is to refrigerate the cake (I think I did this); it won’t get as soft and it shouldn’t dry it out the way the fridge does many other cakes because the cake is so crazy moist to begin with. You can also leave it loosely covered at room temperature.

  148. Oda

    I made this one day before bringing it to a barbeque, and it was super delicious. I didn’t have sour cream so I swapped it for yoghurt. I know you aren’t a fan of cardamom, but I couldn’t help myself so I swapped it for the cinnamon. What impressed me most about the cake was the slight caramelizing of the crumb at the edges due to the long cooking time.

    I have one theory as to what might have happened to Megan (comment 208), if something goes wrong when you add the eggs to the butter and sugar the batter will be too thin and not viscous enough to keep the rhubarb juices to seep down. If the parchment isn’t secured to the dish with butter that could also be it.

  149. ilona

    I think you have a typo at the end of the recipe. It says ” and eat the first one standing up” I think you meant to say “eat at least two standing up” :)) heavenly! Thank you!

  150. Deb,
    I’m not really a fan of rhubarb, but I made this cake for a friend and it was amazing! Thanks for helping me take my baking to the next level! I can’t wait for your book.

  151. Sini

    Made this cake yesterday evening. Delicious with a dollop of whipped cream. I’m gonna serve this tonight to my girlfriends. Next time I may add some strawberries and cut the amount of sugar in the cake batter.

  152. Ediacaran

    Just finishing my first bite of these cake. I made half recipe in an 8×8 pan; I used greek yogurt instead of sour and reduced the sugar, for the crumbs I used ground oats and a little flour. It tastes great and the house is smelling wonderful!

  153. Just made this cake using half rhubarb and half strawberries (reduced the sugar a little because my berries were lovely and sweet)… it is fantastic. Thanx for the great recipe!

  154. Yani

    Just made my cake. it’s still cooling in the pan. I was on my way to make the Martha Stewart grunt when I was happily side tracked online. With luck, you had your own plan. Can’t wait to try.

  155. Gail

    I added a pinch of cadamom to the topping and even more lemon zest; I was not unhappy. I also think scrapping the cardamom and the ginger, but adding rosemary and a few pine nuts, might be pretty fun.

  156. rupi d

    I skipped the ginger for the eaters but followed everything else exactly, turned out great! Thanks for the recipe! Love rhubarb.

  157. stephanie

    I decided to make this at 9pm and i’m so happy that I did. Because I love the strawberry rhubarb combination, i added the berries~

    I think i didn’t have enough butter for the crumbs on top because I have a white dust covering my snacking cake… does that make sense??

    Love this recipe though~!!

  158. GraceG

    I made this Gluten-Free using Pamela’s baking and pancake mix in place of the flour and leavening and it was spectacular. Even gluten eaters like it. I will say pr-elevened flour makes a mess of the crumb top, but the overall textture and taste was still delicious. If you wanted to make your crumbs stay crumbier, plain almond flour would probably be delicious!

  159. Megan

    Deb – sorry I took a while to respond. I think my mommy brain took over (I have a toddler and am 6 months pregnant – double whammy), and I didn’t even realize until the next day that instead of grabbing my 1/3 cup measuring cup, I grabbed the half cup. I made this cake in a hurry, and I inadvertently messed up all the measurements. No wonder it turned out a little funky! I thought that 1/3 cup looked awfully big. Sorry for the bad review. I do always love your recipes, though!

  160. Anna K.

    I made this cake last night and wanted to share my experience.

    It is really good! I loved it and my husband, who thinks there’s basically no reason to ever make a dessert other than brownies from a box, liked it just fine. (That’s a big compliment coming from him.) I think this might be the first time I’ve ever really gotten the true taste of rhubarb in something. Usually in recipes the rhubarb flavor is quite muddled with sugar, spices and/or other fruit. I also love the cake / jammy filling / crumb topping combination. Kinda like the best possible combination of all summer desserts and I can envision a million variations on this concept.

    My one small issue last night was that my cake was a smidge dry. It needed the dollop of vanilla ice cream that we put on top. (I, for one, love rhubarb + vanilla.) I don’t think it was the recipe, though, I think it was the fact that I’m cooking in a weird little corporate apartment kitchen this summer and don’t have my kitchen scale or my good measuring cups. As a result I think I inadvertently used a bit too much flour. The silver lining to that cloud, however, is that this morning it was perfect! I noticed that at least one other reviewer mentioned that hers was soggy in the morning, but I liked the texture even better this morning. (I just covered it tightly and left on the counter.) So if you are planning for leftovers, you might try adding another 1 Tbsp of flour and see what happens.

    Thanks for the recipe, Deb! This one is going into regular summer rotation.

  161. I made this, and holy crap it was GOOD. I gave half the cake to a friend who said SHE loved it. I am now going to try it with other fruits! This is so going into my recipe canon. :)

  162. AubreyJ

    This cake is so good! Ate the first piece standing as required. It’s going to be a struggle to avoid eating the rest tonight!

  163. Barb

    As per usual-another outstanding recipe! Totally appreciated the directions including eating the first piece standing up :) If anybody is wondering, I used soy sour cream and it came out perfectly. Thank you again – can’t wait for your cookbook!

  164. michellj

    I wait all year for rhubarb. It grows wild in everyones yard here in Juneau. Everyones but mine. I am very picky about what I do with it when I do get my hands on some (bumbleberry pie, strawberry rhubarb pie and strawberry rhubarb jam are my three go-tos). This recipe is being added to the rotation. My son ate three pieces for breakfast and asked for one in his lunch box. ps, you should make some strawberry rhubarb jam so that in the winter you can smear it into layered lemon cake.

  165. Erika

    This was a tasty cake, but I guess I’m spoiled with your recipes Deb, because I was expecting transcendence! (Like your Strawberry Buckle….sigh) For anyone wondering, I don’t recommend subbing the lemon for lime–I only had lime, and I think gets in the way of the rhubarb a bit–but the ginger is perfect. I adore ginger and was tempted to add more, but it was perfect as-is. The rhubarb layer was lovely, but the cake/crumb made with normal AP flour was a little boring to my taste. I think next time I would sub in a more interesting flour–at least whole wheat, and probably oats so that the cake layer was something other than sweet. The center portions had a better cake/rhubarb ratio, so they weren’t quite as sweet–but they were the most gooey from the extra rhubarb juice. We definitely finished the whole thing, but I’ll tweak it next time. BTW, I also didn’t have enough butter for chunky crumbs (#252)–and that might have been part of the problem. The dust soaked up the extra rhubarb juice, which is good, but the result was just a uniform cake–no rubble-y goodness…

  166. ornella

    I made this for Father’s Day. Had some fresh rhubarb left in my garden. It was a HIT!!! Both of my boys (dh and toddler) loved it!!!
    First time on this website and first recipe from you….thank you very much, highly appreciate it!!!
    Definitely will be back:)

  167. Wow! This looks amazing! Should have seen it before to cook this for my dad! Thanks for sharing, I will keep this recipe preciously! By the way, the pictures look fantastic!

  168. Mrs D

    Oh maaah gaaah! Thanks again for yet another stellar baking recipe Deb.

    My subs:

    * Greek yoghurt for sour cream (only what I had on hand)
    * Orange for lemon. Simlply because this is what I always pair with rhubarb, no matter what the recipe.
    * Ground ginger for cinnamon in the crumb. I don’t like cinnamon and rhubarb together.
    * I also reduced both sugars quite a bit and will again further next time. I love my baked goods, but not real sweet (weird and kinda pointless, I know!).

    Gorgeous! Many thanks again xxox

  169. Jeanice

    I finally made this – swapped sour cream for lemon yogurt, swapped a third of the flour in both the cake and the crumb for ground almonds, and added a half a cup of chopped almonds to the crumb. The lemon/almond/rhubarb combination is amazing. I make rhubarb crumble all the time but this cake hits a whole new level of wonderfulness.

  170. Sam

    I made a terrible mistake when putting this together. After adding the rhubarb to the top of the cake, I threw out the juices that had formed from the sugar/rhubarb mixture. [When I looked at your picture, I could see the cake batter below the pieces of rhubarb but no juice was visible.] I read about 100 comments before making this cake, but everyone was simply commenting on how good the cake looked and how they were going to make it soon. How I wished I had kept reading to the end before making this cake. A number of readers asked if all the juice should be added, and, of course, you told them yes. So my rhubarb snack cake was somewhat dry, certainly not as moist as it probably should have been. My fault! I’ll check near the end of the comment section from now on to read about those who have actually tried the recipe.

  171. Sam

    Deb, I am so sorry! Can you tell how new I am to this whole recipe trying/recipe commenting scene? I just read your “Comment Guidelines.” You’ve included so many good suggestions. One of the first things you suggest is to go to the end of the comments for reviews by cooks who have actually made the recipe and have shared their changes and tips for a successful outcome or who have questions for you. Next time for sure! In any event, love your website!

  172. Kate

    Sam (comment 266) – a good trick for finding advice in a topic in comments is to ctrl+F to find a word (like “juice”) to learn how others did this. this way you can streamline reading 250+ comments on a post :)
    Deb – make this cake for my dad/gram on Fathers’ Day, as we are all 3 rhubarb fans. huge hit! thanks for this and all your great recipes.

  173. Gail

    Made this over the weekend and it is delicious! Used some strawberries, since I didn’t have the quantity of rhubarb called for, and that worked just fine. This is a keeper – yum!

  174. Gail

    Oh, I forgot to mention that I subbed white sugar for brown in the topping (I was out) and heavy whipping cream for the sour cream (also out). It’d be even better with the called-for ingredients, I’m sure, but just in case someone wants to make this and doesn’t have those two things – go on anyway. It was delicious!

  175. Diana

    I made this cake tonight for my last dinner with my family in New England before I move to Texas, and it was fantastic!! (as was Ina Garten’s lobster cobb salad we had before it) Moist and perfectly sweet/tart. My parents have a rhubarb plant in their vegetable garden so when this recipe popped up it was perfect! I was a little short on rhubarb, and it could have used more, but I love that it is a great jumping off point for almost any other fruit as people have said above. However I thought the cake was sweet enough that it needed something tart… maybe granny smiths and dial up the cinnamon/ginger in the Fall? For anyone that was asking I made it in a glass dish at 350 for 50 min and it worked great. Froze the leftovers, so I’ll let you know how that works when we bring it back to life. Thanks again for another great recipe! I always go to you for baked goods.

  176. This looks stunning. Now I regret not getting some rhubarb at the farmer’s market yesterday while the getting was good. I’ll live, because I’m going to make the chocolate swirls tonight, so I can bake them Saturday morning.

    Oh and the links to other recipes in the narrative are broken.

  177. Jen

    I just pulled this out of the oven and it’s cooling under a tea towel because I’m going to bed now. I’ll have to wait til tomorrow to try it as it’s really late, but I’m really excited as this is my first foray into rubarb! I just this week (third summer living in this house) that amongst the vines and wildness growing in the neglected bed next to the back fence, there’s some rubarb! It’s not as pretty as yours having very little red, but I’m sure it will taste great.

    I had some left over crushed hazelnut that I added to the crumb topping. I’ll let you know how that tastes tomorrow.

  178. Kisha

    The pictures are what sold me because I’ve never made anything with rhubarb. I was sort of hoping it would be bad so I could take it to work and everybody else could eat it. I was WRONG. It’s very good and even my husband who supposedly doesn’t like rhubarb loved it. The only change I made was using some honey greek yogurt instead of sour cream because that’s what I had. It turned out great! I’ll be making it again this summer!

  179. I have just had a sneaky piece – as the recipe suggested! Delicious, not sure the rest are going to last until my colleagues arrive. I added a bit more lemon juice than suggested, as hate to throw things away – makes the sponge like a mini version of a Lemon Drizzle cake – this is definitely going on the make again pile. Especially as I have rampant rhubarb in my garden that keeps growing!!

  180. Elizabeth

    I kept passing rhubarbs in my supermarket, and wondering what would be a good way to make them. Luckily, I came across this recipe and I knew it was the right thing to do. I just made this cake on Saturday and it was AMAZING! It didn’t last in my fridge for more than 3 days because it was so hard for my boyfriend and I not to eat! Very easy to make as well! I will be making this all summer long! :)

  181. Alexis

    The base cake is really good. Made a rhubarb version a couple weeks ago: delicious. It gets better as it ages, if it makes it that long. Made a strawberry/blueberry version this morning. A 1/3 cup sub of whole wheat flour doesn’t change the consistency/flavor at all. Thanks Deb!

  182. Lacey

    Thank you!! Delicious! The cake texture is perfect. It’s not too sweet. The crumble is a great consistency, the rhubarb still tastes like rhubarb, and the lemony, gingery moist cake holds it’s own. Followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfect! You’re the best, Deb!

  183. Fanya

    Ok, I’ve never had rhubarb so I was curious, but since it was only available for like 1 week a year for me, and it smelled/looked like celery, I wasn’t expecting to like it. Oh the brilliant know-it-all I was, I threw out the lemon juice/zest 5min before making this cuz I was cleaning the fridge. And since there’s all that juice left from the rhubarb marinate, I mixed it into the crumbs, for which I ran out of butter so I only used 2 tbsp.

    It was DELICIOUS DELICIOUS DELICIOUS. I’m losing weight and this just ruined 1 week worth of effort but seriously, did I tell you it was delicious? I only wished I had put in 2 lb of rhubarb instead cuz those little sweet puddles are heavenly.

    I was too lazy to comment but I just have to pull my lazy butt away from the rhubarb cake and say thank you for this recipe. *huuuuuuuuuug*

  184. Stephanie

    I have made this cake, and it is a huge hit in my house. If I am happy to just serve this cake in the pan, may I do away with the parchment paper step?

    1. deb

      Stephanie — Probably, but it’s also an insurance plan in case the cake doesn’t want to come out easily. If you’re using a coated baking pan (nonstick) or one that’s not terrible old or worn, just buttering it should be enough, however, and you might not need the parchment.

  185. Betsey

    This is my new favorite! I sprinkled some strawberries on top and it was even more beautiful. My friends loved that it was called a snacking cake. You’re making me a better cook!

  186. Zooie

    I recently had to go gluten-free, so I am more than thrilled that all of your recipes contain weight measurements as it means that I can still make them! (and I don’t have to cancel my cookbook order…*shudder at the thought*) Thank you, thank you!!

    Since I am an absolute lover of rhubarb, I decided to make these for a work event on Tuesday, and they were absolutely delicious! I loved how balanced all of the flavors were and that you still got that tartness without it being too overpowering. I think the splash of spices enhanced the flavors well without taking over the cake, and I appreciated the tip about rhubarb and vanilla.

    I have to confess though – when I tasted this once it came out of the oven (just following orders) I really didn’t want to bring it in to work to share it with everyone. I even sneakily put a sign on it that stated “Gluten-Free” so I would be sure to at least have some leftovers to take home with me…and I am happily staring at them right now. :)

    My sister who has never liked rhubarb came over to visit last night, and about half of my leftovers are gone now, lol. That should tell everyone how good this cake is!

    So, thank you again for your fabulous recipes and your devotion to weight measurements that you have fought for us over!

  187. Erika

    Commenter #260 back again. Just thought I’d mention that I made a hybrid of this cake and the Strawberry Summer cake last night and it was exactly what I was hoping it would be. I doubled the base for the Strawberry cake (but cut the sugar by total 1/2c), spread it in a 9×13 pan and topped it with 1lb strawberry and 1lb chopped rhubarb (unsweetened, spritzed with ~1T lemon juice) and then sprinkled the extra sugar over the top. Then baked it according to the strawberry cake directions. Took forever to bake at 325 (because it was a 9×13 pan), but the result was fan-tab-ulous. Puddles of sweet strawberry lusciousness surrounded by tart rhubarb kicks. I’ve never liked strawberry rhubarb combos before because I thought it lost the rhubarb zing when they blended together, but this was the best of both! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  188. Karen

    I have a question about your measurements. When you bake, do you measure or do you weigh your ingredients? I have a different measurement for 1 cup of flour and I’m wondering if I should check again.

    1. deb

      Hi Karen — I fluff and scoop and level or spoon and level. My cups clock in on the light side (125 grams for all-purpose); you can also estimate 130 grams and the recipe will be fine.

  189. Charlotte d

    I made this and it is delicious! But all the rhubarb and crumbs sunk to the bottom and the cake batter rose to the top and it was very wet and soggy on the bottom. I noticed in your photos that your rhubarb was not very wet when you poured it on top of the batter. Mine had a lot of liguid. The next time I will wait to add the sugar and lemon juice after the batter is all mixed so there is a shorter time of the rhubarb sitting in the sugar drawing out the juice. I think this will correct the problem. I have never like rhubarb but this cake is delicious and additive.

  190. Row

    Thanks for this recipe, Deb! I tried making it with soy milk in place of the sour cream and it worked out very nicely. This is now one of my favourite cakes… a lovely summer treat! :)

  191. This recipe was amazing! Had a hankering for rhubarb-something yesterday and this was exactly it. For some reason, my cake was done after about 30 minutes instead of the recipe’s minimum 40 — but luckily I kept an eye on it, so no problem. I had a bit more rhubarb than the recipe called for, and I worried about weighing down the little layer of cake, so I left out about an ounce. When I saw the finished cake, all rise and fluffiness, I realized I could have piled the extra rhubarb on without weighing it down. Love the lemon and ginger flavorings — will steal that trick for all of my fruity sweets now!

  192. jen

    I reported making this earlier with crushed hazelnut in the crumb topping and it was great. Nice extra bit of texture.

    I’m making this again today, also with the hazelnut, but I haven’t enough rhubarb for the whole surface, so half is peach-blueberry. I just laid down a line of crumb topping as a dam before putting on the fruit and the rest of the crumb topping to keep the juices from mixing too much on the two halves.

  193. Hey Deb,
    I just made this cake for lunch today. I served with a dollop of yogurt vanilla ice-cream and it was a hit! All my guests loved it and there’s none left (which is exactly what you want!)
    This is really a great recipe!

  194. Maria

    Deb, your recipe changed my husband’s perspective on rhubarb! Besides oysters, rhubarb is the only food he says he will not eat–until now! This recipe was the perfect blend of sweet and tart, and he absolutely loves this cake!

    Also, I used frozen rhubarb (highly-quality, but frozen), and I found it to be wonderful. I probably didn’t let it defrost enough before macerating, but the flavor was still wonderful. So, although fresh is probably the ideal, frozen came pretty close to perfect!

  195. Maggie

    Made this with firm, Ontario peaches and whole wheat flour today. Fantastic recipe, huge hit. Can’t wait for rhubarb season next summer. Thank you!

  196. Elise

    I’ve made five of these since the beginning of rhubarb season here in Seattle. (Has it only been three weeks?) My husband, brother-in-law, coworkers, houseguests, and neighbors all thank you. It’s perfect every time and it’s all the cake I want to eat forever.

  197. I just made this. Delicious. Unfortunately I overbaked it just a hair, so the cake layer is a little dry. I also only had about 360g of rhubarb, and it’s still delicious, but I would love more! The tart squishiness of the rhubarb goes so well with the crumble layer and the simple, lemon-tinged cake.

  198. silke

    I am repeating myself… but this is the perfect rhubarb cake – and probably the easiest one to prepare that I’ve tried so far. I only discovered this recipe very late in last year’s rhubarb season and have been waiting desperately for this year’s first yield – which is in now! :-) What can I say but: happy faces all around when I brought this along to a friend’s this afternoon!!!

  199. baschwar

    So good… we call it ‘rhubarb crack cake’ not ‘snack’ cake… can’t stop eating the stuff. And the Rhubarb plant doesn’t seem to mind, so we keep making it. :P

  200. Katie H

    I can’t choose between this one and the Big Crumb rhubarb cake. The choice is tormenting me! The cake recipes are actually very similar, so this one will definitely have less cake and more rhubarb, but less crumbs.

    Has anyone made both and has any insight?

  201. Mel

    Made this for a dinner party last night exactly as written, and it was a HUGE hit. People are still talking about it the next day. Thank you for this!

  202. Well I made this for our Memorial Day picnic, in the rain…
    The batter was so good that my husband asked if I would make it weekly, bummer that rhubarb season is too short.
    Also I doubled the lemon peel by accident – great mistake if you ask me.
    Thanks so much.

  203. Megan V

    Deb, just consider me the gluten-free tester/converter of your recipes. This cake blew me away! It was so awesome and puffed up so beautifully. I used Glen Oaks rasperry drinkable yogurt instead of sour cream (what I had on hand). I used the gluten-free flour blend from Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats (follow the link: ) with great success. This was a big hit at a BBQ in Wyoming. Thanks!!

  204. Rani

    Thanks for a delicious recipe Deb! The rhubarb is just in season here in Sydney, and I picked up a gorgeous bunch (dirt still on!) from the farmers market this morning and made this cake for a friend’s 30th this afternoon. I wasn’t paying enough attention to the recipe at the beginning and put the zest for the whole lemon into the cake batter – but I have to say, the end result was divine, I’d do the same thing next time. I might up the butter in the crumb, mine ended up a little breadcrumbesque, I’d prefer it to clump together a little more.

  205. Chiara

    I’m just put the cake in the oven but think I made a fatal mistake. I started the process by doing rhubarb mixture but had to stop for about an hour to feed hungry family. So my rhubarb was swimming in juice/water when I finally got around to putting it on top of the batter I just put rhubarb in and tossed the juice. Should all that liquid have gone in to?

  206. Noemi

    I just adapted this recipe to what I had on hand, and it is tasty. I had only 1/2lb rhubarb, and added in blueberries and a small chopped granny smith apple. I halved the cake and crumble part of the recipe, and ended up with a delicious fruity snacking cake! It is good, but I am not sure that I love rhubarb (this was my first time cooking with it) so I may not make it again.

  207. Stevie

    I’m a huge pie fan in general and always choose it instead of cake for my birthday. Rhubarb is one of my all-time favorites. So I almost feel sacreligious saying that this cake is (gasp) perhaps even more delicious than my beloved rhubarb pie. If you have no tried this, you are missing out on something fantastic.

  208. dee

    This reminds me of the mennonite dish called platz, which can be topped with any kind of fruit. There are some interesting variations, too. Like a shortbread crust, topped with lots of fruit, topped with a light thin cake batter.

  209. Heather

    New to Smitten Kitchen. Made this cake this morning and we loved it. I used my last piece of parchment making your strawberry and cream biscuits so I used a glass pan coated with non stick baking spray and it worked great. I did string the rhubarb first. I used all the juice with the rhubarb. This was only my second time working with / eating rhubarb and I’m hooked. Thanks Deb!

  210. Hannah, Israel

    It took me 7 years to find Rhubarb in Israel – found a bunch yesterday, made the cake today. Took a bite and got thrown back to Starbucks and sweet memories from 8 happy years in NYC.
    Thank you!

  211. I made this cake several times last summer and this summer – it’s a favorite. I like mixing in a cup of fresh berries to add some contrast to the rhubarb (have mixed in blueberries, strawberries, strawberries at different times) and this cake is always a huge success. I even made it one time for a CIA chef and teacher there and he went back for more than seconds! Yeah! True winner of a recipe. And so much better than the original.

  212. Emily – London

    Oh Deb, we absolutely adore this cake. I made it this afternoon with a lovely bunch of rhubarb from our farmers market. I am thrilled with the outcome. My parents adored it. My father couldn’t remember if he liked rhubarb and was quickly won over. Anything streusel as well is a joy! Thank you – from sunny (can you believe it!) England. Emily

  213. Clara

    Hi Deb, I made this this weekend for a kids birthday and everyone loved it. It came out really beautiful and… well perfect :) A Czech friend, told me this is a very typical dessert in her country and that they make it with all kinds of fruit, like plums and peaches yumm. And a friend who is Afghan, raised in Canada, and married to a Brit, told me Rhubarb is so typical in UK for desserts but not at all in Canada, and in Afghanistan they eat is savory, like Rhubarb and spinach! Interesting! Thanks for the recipe, I also made a pie… had lots of Rhubarb I’ll comment on that post ;)

  214. Layli

    Hi Deb, thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I made it using yogurt instead of sour cream but otherwise followed the recipe. I made it yesterday and my fiancé ate more than half of it. He begrudgingly shared it with me and our son. Pretty sure it was only out of obligation. It’s all gone and now we’re sad because we need more rhubarb before making more. Good thing I got a rhubarb plant :-) It needs to grow faster though. I need this cake in my life. Daily.

  215. sheila

    I made this Friday night and followed the recipe to a “T” and it was AMAZING!!! Don’t wait any longer make this RIGHT NOW!!!

  216. Suzzanne

    Thanks for posting this recipe. The name ‘snack’ cake means this is perfect for a BBQ or potluck, as this cake is sturdy enough to be served without a plate and fork – it can be eaten out of hand (is that correct usage?) The first time I made this with yogurt and I skipped the lemon and ginger. It was good, but I made it again yesterday with the lemon, ginger, and sour cream and it is so much better. I also increased the crumb topping by 50% the second time, which was also good. I live in the part of the country where they do not sell rhubarb in our grocery stores because either we have it in our own yard or we have a neighbor with plenty to share. Thanks again for sharing this delicious recipe.

  217. Susan

    Oh yum. I halved this for a 9 inch square cake. It was perfect for our pod of 3. A large cake would have been eaten entirely. ;) This is the only portion control I am capable of….
    Baked for the same amount of time. Also, weights and not just cup measurements are so helpful when modifying recipe. Thank you!!! It was a perfect start to our summer.

  218. Lindsey

    I just made this with the first of the season’s windfall apples that I found on the driveway while putting out the washing! It’s just out of the oven and I love the instruction about testing it – just sliced off a nice corner whilst feigning a ‘concerned, it needs checking’ face. hahahaha!! It is AWESOME!! mmmmmm thank you!

  219. AG

    My uncle gets really bad hiccups – a piece of this rhubarb cake actually stops them! (apparently rhubarb has anti-hiccup properties – who knew!). Thanks for the great recipe. It’s def. a family favorite.

  220. Rose

    Made these today and they were delicious :) :) I love that they didn’t have strawberries and that you taste the true tart-ness of the rhubarb. Thank you!

  221. Erin

    Hey Deb- have you made this with frozen rhubarb? I didn’t know if it would work or not- if the fruit would release too much liquid or not.


    1. deb

      Erin — I have not, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work. It shouldn’t have any more liquid in it than fresh rhubarb, but if defrosted first, it might seem wetter. I’m sure you can add it to the batter still frozen.

  222. Lisa

    Hi there,
    Made this cake yesterday and it was DELICIOUS.
    I tried a few modifications which all worked well:
    – Used 50-50 rhubarb-strawberries
    – Added chopped pecans to the crumble topping
    – Made it in a large round tin – all good.
    Everyone loved it. I’ll be back on your site soon for more recipes :-)
    Thank you so so so so much!

  223. Katherine

    Really good cake! I used a brown rice flour mix (from Annalise Roberts’s book) to make this gluten-free, so added a little xanthan gum. Also added some toasted, slivered almonds to the crumb. Had a lot of juice in the fruit since I used frozen rhubarb chunks and let that sit for almost an hour with the sugar and the lemon juice. Thought it might be sort of a pudding-y texture, but did not bake up that soft. cake was moist but not like pudding. Thanks for another winner!


  224. Shelly

    Love it Deb. It is a go to recipe for my during rhubarb season, which it is in my corner of the world right now. I have been making a baked rhubarb and serving it with plain greek yogurt but decided to make this into 2 square cakes for a Spring Bake sale .. nothing says spring like fresh rhubarb.

  225. Kathryn

    This is unbelievable. Thank you!! We made it gluten free with 70% brown rice flour, 20% potato starch and 10% tapioca flour with 1/2 tsp xanthan gum. It was wonderful!

  226. mary h

    Made this tonight as written. I didn’t have a lemon !! so I substituted key lime juice. The cake is super moist and awesome!! love it this recipe is going in my cookbook tonight! thanks!!

  227. teri c

    Loved this cake but huge mistake. Cut the recipe in half! Never again. too good to skimp on! BTW, Gluten free works great! Will make again-the full recipe! And, the rhubarb muffin recipe was delicious too!!!!

  228. Lisa

    Hi Deb – I have two questions for you: First, about how many cups would 1 1/4 lb of rhubarb be? We have a source for rhubarb so just get it in bunches, no weight given. (My guesstimate was about 4 cups of sliced up rhubarb.) Second, when I added the sugar to the rhubarb I ended up with lots of liquid which I strained out as I was afraid it would make the cake soggy. My cake turned out rather dry. Should I have added all the liquid from the rhubarb? It seemed like a lot but maybe that’s the secret to success. Thank you!

  229. casey

    Have made this 5 times since it was posted- each time perfection. Adding it my my smitten kitchen top 10 high rotation list (along with cauliflower quesadillas, cannoli cake, and leek fritters). Thanks for another winner, can’t wait for your next book. :)

  230. Alleira

    Just made this after a neighbor brought over a bounty of rhubarb. I made it in two 8×8 pans, made an additional 50% of the crumb, and used orange instead of lemon. It came out lovely.

  231. andreakoczela

    I just made this cake–delicious! I had originally planned to bake the rhubarb upside down cake from the NYT but it was a putzy recipe and had mixed comments. So glad I searched for rhubarb desserts on the Smitten Kitchen blog instead. This recipe was like a streamlined version of the NYT one and wow is it yummy. The rhubarb comes through loud and strong yet nicely sweetened. The cake is moist and provides a subtle backdrop. The crumble is a great contrast in texture. I will absolutely bake this again. Thanks for another great recipe!

  232. I am focusing on the fact that rhubarb is technically a vegetable to make myself feel better about how many pieces I’ve eaten. I was really nervous about dumping all the accumulated rhubarb juices on the cake batter but it turned out perfectly. This is delicious.

  233. Cathy Schuh

    I made this cake in 2 8×8 pans. Froze one and the second was gone in 2 days. I am making this my go to fruit topped cake. I’m going to try it with blueberries I have the the fridge today, in round cake pans so I can share the yumminess of this recipe.

  234. Kivrin

    Delicious! I cut the rhubarb in half and added an equal amount of strawberries. I also cut the sugar on the fruit to 1/2 cup, because of the strawberries’ natural sweetness. Otherwise followed exactly, and it’s wonderful. Great flavor, the cake is super moist, and only subtly sweet.

  235. Barbara Bennell

    This looks yoummy and will definitely try. Your site is my go to for recipes. Please try to include more cakes for 8″ or even 9″ pans. 9×13 it often too large for my family. Keep ’em coming!

  236. Sue

    Do you think it would be possible to use buttermilk instead of sour cream? I have some buttermilk in my fridge that needs to be used, but here in the UK the buttermilk I can get is thinner than sour cream so wasn’t sure if was a suitable substitution.

  237. This was perfect! Most of the rhubarb cakes I’ve had before have been mushy/too sour/too sweet – something is always off. Again, this was perfection. I managed to make this while also prepping dinner and not only was it quick, but it was also a fun cake to make. It was delicious still slightly warm that evening and with a cup of coffee the next day.

  238. Linda

    SO good! The perfect amount of sweetness. Restored my faith in rhubarb cakes after a very unappetizing-looking rhubarb upside down cake (also from SK). That one looked like it was covered in meat. :(

  239. Megan

    Any idea how much 1-1/4 lbs of rhubarb is in cups? I got some last night at the farmers market but not sure weight and I don’t have a scale :/

  240. Judy

    Hi, Deb – I was just about to make this cake and wondered if the flour listed for the crumb is the correct amount? 1 cup with only 1/4 cup of brown sugar? It seemed a lot of flour for a streusel so just wanted to check. :=) Thanks!

  241. Dagmar

    This recipe is wonderful! This Rhubarb Snacking Cake is the best! Made it for my 92 year old dad. He claims it is the best rhubarb dessert he has ever eaten. I agree! Have a great weekend……

  242. elena

    I have made this cake several times. I ,love it. The fruit is tart and sweet at the same time. The cake is buttery and rich. The crumbs are delicious. Every person that tastes it , loves it.

  243. Breah

    I just made this cake. I was a bit rushed and thought it was a bit “steppy”… but most likely wouldn’t have felt so annoyed by all the components of the recipe had not been trying to get it down on a lunch break. (yes .. I know… I know!). haha! But the cake once baked was beautiful. My boyfriend who doesn’t like cake, took a piece with him to work for a whole week… and yes.. that how much it makes.. and yes… that’s how long it lasts and keeps moist. SO take a Sunday morning, bake the cake.. and have for a coffee break snack all week long!

  244. Sus

    I was a little worried about the liquid sugar mix after coating the rhubarb in lemon and sugar…as in, should I really pour all of this over the cake? YEP. Turned out to be the best cake I’ve ever made. Craving it ever since. THANK YOU!!

  245. TAM

    Made this with strawberries & peaches (so less sugar with the fruit) & plain whole milk yogurt instead of the sour cream. It was fantastic!

  246. As the rhubarb season rolls in again (yay!), I would like to suggest that this recipe may need a name change. When I am around this cake, I do not “snack.” I *destroy.* Rhubarb Destroying Cake.

    (This recipe, otherwise unaltered, is also excellent with sour cherries instead of rhubarb!)

    (oh, except I always strain some plain yogurt and use instead of sour cream because I always have yogurt on hand. Whatever. Delicious. Destroy.)

  247. Rebekah

    FYI, these DO mostly work as messy muffins. I didn’t have sour cream or anything close, so I made the batter without it. I filled each cupcake mold with about 2T of batter, 5-6 pieces of rhubarb, and topped messily with crumbs. Baked for 50 minutes. Half a recipe made 7 muffins.

  248. Melanie

    Even better the second day! I rarely leave feedback, but am trying out several rhubarb recipes to find the best – tonight are your Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp Bars! This was easy to make, though the batter is very sticky and thick and hard to spread (kind of a pain with the parchment.) I tasted it molten hot out of the oven (can never help myself), warm, and room temp (cool) this morning. I think cool is best! Almost needs that time to settle into its flavors – so good news for those who like to make ahead.

  249. I made this cake today and it’s delicious!!! I live in Montana and my rhubarb is prolific this time of year. Next time I make it I might make a double batch of the “crumb.”

  250. This cake is amazing! I used cake flour because that was all I had on hand and it turned out great; it made for a little denser cake. I also added strawberries to the mix because I love the combination and then made the topping with wheat flour. My six year old son loves it. Now I know what to do with all of the rhubarb from our CSA!

  251. GirardPark

    I made this as directed and it’s SO good. It’s going to be hard to not snack on this all day. I cooked it in a metal baking 13×9 pan for 55 minutes. Will limit it to 50 minutes next time.

  252. Jan Gavaletz

    I just got a big bunch of rhubarb from a friend yesterday and was searching for something yummy to make with it that didn’t include strawberries. How amazing that I happened upon your recipe for this rhubarb snack cake! Will be making it later tonight and can’t wait to sample it. Great timing !

  253. Wow, this is really the hardest recipe to F*^&@!$ up! I’ve made it 3 times now, each time realizing I do not in fact have a 9X13 pan nor a kitchen scale to weigh out the rhubarb (nor a brain to remember how much I bought at the farmers market) until it was too late. So, I’ve made this in varying pans, once a 10×15 (ouch! That was painfully thin. Still delicious!), just now in one 12×12″ plus a loaf pan (yay, more treats! Again, so good). It is just really freaking hard to screw it up! So, if you’re looking for a foolproof recipe with rhubarb, and a way to use a lot of it up at once, this is definitely it!

    1. Forgot to mention I’ve never used parchment paper with this recipe because a) I hate to waste and b) we pretty much just eat it out of the pan (!) and it has not ever seemed horribly stuck to it. I have cut it out of the pan to divvy up to friends/coworkers/neighbors and it has left the pan rather nicely. I use glass baking dishes and olive oil spray coating. Just saying it is an option for those without parchment paper!

  254. Cheri

    I made this for my book group. It was a huge hit. My husband enjoyed a piece the next morning with his coffee. I didn’t have quite enough rhubarb so I added some thickly cut strawberries to the mix and substituted plain yogurt for the sour cream. Both were fine. This is a bit on the thin side–more like a bar than a cake–but very delicious. I will definitely make this again.

  255. Heather

    This cake is delicious. I added the ginger and a pinch of cinnamon to the rhubarb/sugar/lemon juice and a teaspoon of vanilla to the yogurt (no sour cream in the house) and felt these were good adjustments. I also replaced some of the flour in the crumb with large-flake oats, because in my household, anything with fruit + oatmeal=breakfast. My only regret is that I didn’t make it earlier while the haskaps were still producing because I discovered recently that rhubarb and haskaps is a match made in heaven.

  256. Jemma

    I made this last night and I’m eating it for breakfast this morning with coffee, it’s so fabulous! Not too sweet at all – I did use bit of brown sugar in the cake portion ~60 grams. I baked it in an 8 1/2” x 11” ceramic pan and I must say I cannot imagine the cake portion being any thinner! It’s really the perfect ratio of rhubarb to cake (my rhubarb portion is also a bit more substantial because of the smaller surface area). I used half lemon zest/half orange zest, and I added vanilla bean to the cake batter, which I think tastes amazing. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly and did end up baking it for about 65 minutes. The parchment paper is key for this cake because it definitely would have stuck to the pan if omitted.

  257. Michelle

    I made this yesterday for a family BBQ and it really lived up to its name! We ate about 1/3 of the cake for dessert and then the other 2/3 just got eaten over the course of the evening as people picked at it. There was nothing other than an empty pan to take home. I’ve made this cake several times and it’s always delicious!!

  258. JMBC

    I made this for a Sunday dinner. My daughter and I ate half before dinner and everyone else polished off all but one piece after dinner. It is really good. Buttery cake, tart rhubarb, and crumble. I am not even that big a fan of rhubarb. The one lone piece was soggy the next day so this probably is not a great make ahead cake.

  259. Aurora

    Looks marvelous. I may be making this before your peach bars ( just can’t get past the first step being make peach Jam).

  260. Lisa

    Golly this is a nice cake. I’m someone who really enjoys rhubarb with strawberries but has not yet found another use for it that we really love. This recipe could be the first! And it uses a lot of rhubarb, so I may have a chance to keep up with the madly producing plant in my garden this year. Thank you!

  261. Lit Prof

    I thought I would take a break from Deb recipes this weekend because my kitchen repertoire is almost 100% SKitchen. I spied a strawberry granola crisp on the Bon Appétit website and made it, devoured it, and burst out laughing when my magazine arrived and I realized that it was one of your recipes! So today I made this rhubarb cake and it’s cooling on the counter. Deb, I come to your recipes like a swallow to Capistrano! Thank you for your brilliance.

  262. Juanita Sicktastic

    I just made a version of this but with the shortbread crust of your lemon bars + ground ginger and the crumble of your blackberry-blueberry crumb pie. Yum!

  263. I had some rhubarb that someone gave me and I had no idea what to do with it. I made this snacking cake and it was delicious. Did use some strawberries, along with mostly rhubarb. When I first took it out of the oven it was quite soft and I figured that this was not going to bode well. I put it in the refrigerator and took it out later and it was just perfect. Very yummy.
    FYI-I did pour the juice from the rhubarb/sugar mixture onto the cake.

  264. Vanessa Whippo

    I just made this for the first time. It’s delicious, and I’ll definitely be making it again, next time with strawberries I think. I baked it in a metal 13″ x 9″ pan sprayed with nonstick baker’s spray sans parchment paper. Squares came out beautifully. Thanks, Deb!

  265. Mary

    I’ve made this wonderful cake twice (so far). The first time, I made it as written (except for imitting the cinnamon), and it was fabulous – tart melty fruit on a lemon scented cloud, topped with rich buttery crumbs.
    The second cake was made with King Aurthur Flour’s “Measure for Measure” Gluten-Free Flour, which performed perfectly. For this cake, I made the crumb layer with partially ground oats (on the advice of another commented), but next time I make a GF cake, I’ll try the M-for-M in the crumbs, too.

  266. Lovely cake. I too mixed in some strawberries (ended up with 670 grams of fruit overall and it all fit somehow), baked in a ceramic dish without parchment (no problems getting pieces out), subbed yoghurt for sour cream which I never have on hand. The flavour profile is beautiful, the spices add layers and subtlety, and overall it really is great. It is indeed, like someone said above, quite “steppy” – such a handy word, this – and I did catch myself at one point, between the numerous additions, thinking Well I hope it’s gonna be worth it! But it is, it is. Will make again, definitely. Thank you, Deb!

  267. Ragnhild

    I love the concept of “snacking cakes” in general — they are my go-to for whenever I want something that is unfussy to eat and can be easily made for a crowd. And rhubarb is one of my favorite things in the whole world, so this is a favorite amongst favorites :D

  268. DeeLGee

    I think this is the first SK recipe I have not liked and would not make again. There wasn’t enough sugar for my taste which just left each bite way too tart for me. Also, there wasn’t enough cake leaving me wanting more. The thing I added was pecans to the crumb mix to add some texture and deeper flavor. Disappointed.

  269. Sue

    I have made this three times in two weeks, which should indicate how much I like this. The first two times I used orange extract in both the crumb mixture and the cake batter, instead of lemon, and did everything else as written. The third time I used eight drops of fiori di Sicilia in the batter, omitting the ginger in the batter and the cinnamon in the crumb, and that’s what I think I’ll use going forward. Once I doubled the crumb mixture, and that was really good, too.

  270. Liz

    I made this about a month ago and it was fabulous. I am making it, again, tomorrow! Flawless recipe. I tend to make changes to recipes after the first time I make them but this recipe is perfect, as is.

  271. Karin

    This did not quite turn out as I was hoping. I cooked it for slightly less time than indicated in the recipe but the cake portion was dry. Be careful it does not overcook as it pretty much ruins it. Using the parchment paper was brilliant.

  272. Taryn

    I’ve made this a few times with rhubarb and it’s been great. I’m wondering about using raspberries instead…should I add less sugar to the fruit? Also, do you think it will still keep okay? I worry it might get a bit wet/soggy.

  273. JP

    I made half the recipe with frozen rhubarb and frozen strawberries. I added about 1/2 tsp. cornstarch to the rhubarb mixture and added about 1/4 cup more sugar to the cake itself because I like a real contrast between the sour rhubarb topping and the sweet cake. I also did not have brown sugar so I used white with a little molasses. The cake came out looking just like yours and tasting just like I had hoped. Not too sweet but sweet enough and I served it with a dollop of whipped cream. Really a nice simple dessert. Thank you for the inspiration. Stay well during these pandemic times!

  274. Ellen L

    Yum! Was able to order rhubarb in a recent delivery and poured over Deb’s options. I usually make a strawberry rhubarb crisp, but haven’t been able to get strawberries. This recipe called out to me. Not too indulgent, yet sounding very satisfying. Alas, I only had 1/2 the amount of rhubarb needed for the recipe and I had already prepped the rest of it. So I chopped up a large apple to make up for it. It came out delicious! I might always make it this way. I normally don’t eat dessert in the afternoon, but it is “snacking cake” after all. We let it cool a few minutes, and ate it warm. So good!

  275. Amanda

    This is sooooo good. I made it exactly by the recipe but subbed buttermilk for the sour cream. It used *exactly* one farmer’s market bunch of rhubarb. HIGHLY recommend.

  276. Nita Taub

    I just made this recipe. I love it! How many times did you make it till it was just right? My husband actually asked me “how many times do you think she made the recipe before she published it?” Its so cool you took a MS recipe and made it your own. What is your thought process? Did you see this recipe and say to yourself “it needs more baking powder, I don’t like vanilla with rhubarb, it needs lemon, I think some ginger would be good etc.” Its so interesting to me. You are really good at this! I have one of your cookbooks and follow you on Instagram and make so many of your recipes. I also follow David Lebovitz on Instagram and mentioned you this week on one of his lives. I’m not sure if you saw that. In the comments during this live people said ” I LOVE HER!”

    1. deb

      Aw, thank you. I’ve made a million cakes like this so I don’t need as much testing as it would seem. I just know what I want and iron it out over a few rounds. And David L is the best.

  277. Kat

    Soooo good. I accidentally made it in an 8×8 square pan and it still worked beautifully. The cake layer is plush and about an inch thick.

  278. Michelle Newman

    Hi Smitten kitchen :)

    I Save this link on Pinterest last week when I made you a delicious rhubarb cake . It was so delicious I decided to make up for fun today who lost her brother, however when I clicked on the link today the recipe has been completely changed! There was no ginger in the last one and the process was completely different with a topping being spread on top of the cake first then the rhubarb sprinkled with sugar and then more of the topping on top. I know for sure this is the recipe as I saved it for the future can you let me know and maybe send me your previous recipe as I like that one better:) Much appreciated!


  279. Mary Marks

    I made this in a 9 x 13 glass pan to take on a camping trip. I did not use parchment and it was easy to cut and serve right from the pan. I decided to up the ante on the crumble topping and used the crumble recipe from your big crumb coffee cake; it was a match made in heaven. It kept well for 6 days lightly covered with a linen kitchen towel and stored in a cupboard. We are just starting to harvest rhubarb here in central Wisconsin and this recipe got us off to a great season.

  280. Tonia S

    This is one of my favorite seasonal desserts…I make it every Memorial Day Weekend–which happens to be exactly when my rhubarb is first ready to pick–for whatever picnic or gathering we are going to, and it’s always a huge hit. Absolutely perfect as written–I don’t make any changes except that I brown the butter for the crumble topping, and I always bake with salted butter rather than unsalted (I do cut the amount of granulated salt a little to account for that). Thank you for this favorite spring treat!

  281. Hallie

    This is amazing!! I made this today with my niece and she had so much fun. I panicked towards the end because I realized I didn’t have sour cream. BUT! I did 1/3 cup half buttermilk, half marscapone cheese Bc it’s what I had and oh my goodness it’s divine!

  282. Heaven

    So so good. Substituted kind Arthur gluten free all purpose flower and added some extra salt to the crumble. Would highly recommend. A joy to make.

  283. Toby

    This was absolutely delicious! It was gone in two days. I accidentally used the full 265g sugar in the cake – oops – and it was absolutely lovely. I also used coconut milk with a bit of white vinegar instead of sour cream as we didn’t have.

    This is one of the best rhubarb desserts I’ve made and will definitely make it again!

  284. CBS

    There is a lot of juice in the bowl after letting the rhubarb/sugar & lemon juice stand. Should this be added on top of the batter together with the chunks of rhubarb, or not? I’ve scrolled through lots of previous comments to see if anyone else had this question, but did not see it shared. Perhaps I’ve just let the fruit stand too long and the maceration is not intended? Thanks for your help! —I love this cake!

  285. Emily

    you had me at “snacking cake” – came out moist & tart & DELICIOUS. we used buttermilk instead of sour cream with no issue. also only used about 400g of rhubarb because it was all we had.

  286. Raquel

    i’ve declared this my most favorite cake ever…it’s perfect–sweet, moist, tart, balanced. Easy to make and incredible. great for dessert, even better for breakfast :) Like some others I didn’t know what to do about all the lemon juice that the rhubarb was sitting in, but I just poured it on top and worked out fine (but would be curious what you do, Deb!)
    Can’t wait to make this one again.

  287. Gillian

    My mother in law always gives me tonnes of rhubarb from her garden and I make this recipe each time – my husband’s favourite! I’ve also added strawberries and peaches when they are in season – but only to change up the recipe since I make this so often. Delicious every time! I do only add half the crumble because that’s how I like it but I can imagine how others might like a thicker layer of crumble. Thanks for all the recipes I’ve used over the years!

  288. Robin

    I just made this and it is CRACK. Very happy I ran to bring some to a few friends before I tasted it because I would have eaten it all. So good!

  289. Annie

    Just the best. We made it throughout summer. Now we’re pulling frozen rhubarb out of the freezer, and it’s summer all over again.

  290. Mia

    This was amazing! I didn’t use the juice like suggested, but I will definitely use it next time. Wonderful recipe!

  291. Holly

    I replaced the sour cream with buttermilk powder (as directed on the package) and the cake turned out great! In my opinion, better on day 2.

  292. Dawn Bradbury

    This is so good! I made it last year during the pandemic for the first time and have eagerly waited for rhubarb season to come around again. I didn’t buy quite enough rhubarb at the farmers market this week but it’s still amazing.

  293. Mary Ann Miller

    My husband renamed them “rhubars”, with emphasis on the last syllabal and extending the “s” sound…in tribute to my northern heritage. Any good Norwegian would add cardamom to their baked goods, so 1/2 t went in the cake. Also used coconut flour for the crumb topping. Also thought chopped macadamia nuts would be excellent in the crumb topping but currently didn’t have any. In the oven now…can’t wait to taste the results!

  294. Emily

    I made this cake yesterday to help use up the abundance of rhubarb this year – and was super distracted while making it. Turns out, I omitted the sour cream – but the cake was still delish!

  295. bunnyechoes

    Can I substitute eggs with chia “eggs” & sour cream with sour coconut cream to make the cake vegan-friendly? Has anyone tried this?

    1. A

      I just made a vegan version and it turned out great! Would highly recommend. I made the following substitutions:
      – vegan butter for regular butter
      – 2 TBS water + 1 tsp oil + 2 tsp baking powder, for each egg — per The Kitchn’s article on egg substitutes
      – coconut milk yogurt for sour cream

      1. Gwendolyn Williams

        For a vegan version of this snack cake, I used Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer and Tofutti sour cream. I’ve made it about 10 times and it always comes out delicious.

  296. Pat Heffron-Cartwright

    This recipe was delicious. I made it for friends and took the remainder into work where people loved it. Thanks. We have 4 prolific rhubarb plants so I am always looking for rhubarb recipes.

  297. Jasmine

    Holy moly, this was amazing. I ate it standing up, hot out of the pan, with a fork. And now I’m looking forward to having it for breakfast too. Spreading the batter was a bit of a pain since it’s such a thin layer, but 100% worth the trouble!

  298. Karen

    I made this today and it was a huge hit. Thank you! My lemon had already been tested for something else so I added 1/2 tsp cardamom to the cake batter, which was lovely.

  299. Cris S.

    We loved this, even my daughter who was a skeptical of the rhubarb. Also, I usually suck at making cake mixes from scratch, but this turned out great. I used a 9×13 pan and it was not too thin. Think of it as a coffee cake though, not a full cake with topping.

    My one adjustment would be – I left my cut rhubarb sitting in the sugar for a while (got busy with other things in the kitchen). This meant I had a LOT of liquid that I poured in with the rhubarb on top of the cake mixture. I wouldn’t change that – it is part of what made it so yummy and tangy. I would potentially poke some holes in the cake part (not sure how that would turn out though so don’t try it based on what is just an idea). I would definitely (if I had that much liquid again) add the crumble 1/2 way through the bake in an effort to let the rhubarb / liquid mix dry out a bit more instead of being soaked up by the crumble. I have a soft moist layer on top instead of something with a bit of crisp to it – again, its yummy, but it isn’t distinct in itself as part of the cake.

    Will definitely be making this again and trying other fruits! Its been a great breakfast alternative for my daughter vs frozen waffles.

  300. Eliza

    LOVE THIS! I used a slightly smaller pan and I just love it. I cant wait for the kids to come home from school and try it. I didnt have a lemon so I used lemon juice from the fridge and skipped the zest. Thanks for another great recipe!

  301. Cathleen Nevers

    Approximately, how many cups of rhubarb would I use for the cake? I do not have a scale and pick the rhubarb from my garden! Thank you. I love your recipes!

  302. Gizella

    Mine didn’t turn out, was looking so forward to eating this. The sides and bottom totally black burnt, only baked for barely 50 min and not really browned on top. Will cut off the burnt parts and eat what we can, I’m not throwing it away. Maybe because I used a glass pan.

    1. Sara

      I also used a glass pan and ended up with…well done edges and bottom. I am using a finicky oven that I’m not super familiar with. I did smell some caramelizing aromas, but I chalked it up the overhanging parchment paper singeing.
      Honestly, even the overbaked parts are delicious. I used a 12.5×9.5 glass pan, and now I know to trust my nose and the timer and take it out before the top looks browned and crisp.

      I will still eat every crumb and stalk the store for more rhubarb!

  303. Mary Beth

    I want to try everything! This rhubarb cake sounds delicious!! Can’t wait to make it. When is rhubarb at it’s peak? My love of rhubarb comes from my mom making a big pot of stewed yumminess.

  304. Caroline S

    I was wondering if I could use cranberries in place of the rhubarb? Would you keep the rest of the recipe the same? Thanks!

  305. CHR

    Just made this with homegrown/frozen rhubarb. Baked 60 mins, which I thought was sufficient, but, due to the extra moisture from the frozen rhubarb, think I should have let the cake bake a few extra mins. Tasted a sample, and thought t he cake was delicious.

  306. M

    First of all, thanks for the great recipe. I made this in a slightly larger (39cm x 25cm) pan, without changing the amount of batter, rhubarb or crumb. I really liked the result, but making it again, I might add a bit more rhubarb, just because for me, it carries the cake.

    I also have a question: What do you mean by trimming the rhubarb? In the photos it looks like just cutting off the ends. I’m a bit confused, because I learned from my mother to peel off the skin, when trimming the ends, but it looks like you’re keeping the skin on here, right?

    1. deb

      No, I never peel the skin. It’s gorgeous. Trim, as in, removing any leaves (which are poisonous) and of course if there’s a stump-ish end.

  307. Kathy Mc

    After macerating in sugar and lemon, the rhubarb bowl contains liquid by the time it goes atop the batter. Do you include, or drain off the liquid, Deb?

  308. Kathy Mc

    Found the answer to my question about the macerated rhubarb liquid, so no need to reply! Sorry to say I hadn’t seen the Questions, separate from comments section.

  309. Kathleen

    I was very disappointed in this cake. I didn’t care for the texture, and somehow the tartness of the rhubarb and the sweetness of the cake just didn’t work well together for me. I also thought it was a bit too much rhubarb for the amount of cake batter. I followed directions exactly. If I were going to do it again (which I won’t), I would more finely dice the rhubarb so it blends in with the cake more, rather than being very tart chunks. For me, the topping didn’t add anything. And now I have an absolutely ginormous pan of it. (Note to self: cut new recipes in 1/2 if at all possible).

  310. Lois


    I read you from Finland, where we’re OBSESSED with rhubarb when it’s in season. So far people give me really different answers to this so I need your wisdom: should rhubarb be peeled before used? :)

    1. Kathy

      Having just made this today, I think 3 generous cups or even 4 would work. When I put the rhubarb on the cake layer it covered it completely in one closely spaced layer.

  311. Petra O’Connor

    I just made this today. I have no words… OK, a few. It was DELICIOUS! Absolutely delicious. I made a mistake and added a 1/2 stick butter instead of a 1/2 cup. I realized it just as I was putting into the oven. I ended up just putting the other 1/2 stick on top :). Even with that blunder it is amazing. The best I have ever had. Perfect balance of sweet and tart. I love, love the ginger and lemon zest in the cake batter, and while I was tempted to add vanilla (it goes in all cakes after all?) I did not and see what a great idea not using anilla was. I am going to start growing Rhubarb if only to make this cake for years to come. Note, I have started using the disposable baking tins. I have a lot of recipes from my Mother in Law (1950’s) and they all used aluminum tins. Now a day, it is hard to find plain aluminum. When I use glass or dark pans even if i turn the heat down, they are overbaked. When I use the disposable aluminum, they are perfect every time. Thank you for the great recipe.

  312. Danita

    Another keeper recipe. I like that the tartness of the rhubarb stands out. Made this for an outdoor event to feed volunteers so it’s nice as the sliced cake holds up well for eating by hand. I subbed yogurt for sour cream since that’s what I had on hand. I don’t have a 9×13 metal pan so used a glass dish and buttered bottom and sides (no parchment). The cake came out very easily.

  313. Bridgit

    I believe this twice now, and it is delicious. Similar to another commentor, I like my rhubarb tart, so I reduced the sugar in the cake and in the rhubarb topping to a scant 1/2 cup each. This was for breakfast both times, so used white whole wheat flour, and replaced about 1/4 cup with almond meal. The second time I used oat flour and almond meal for the crumb topping, and added a half teaspoon of baking powder, a tip from another Smitten Kitchen recipe, I think a strawberry rhubarb crumble? The first time I just used oat flour, and I really liked the almond oat combination plus the lightness from the baking powder. I don’t think my family will mind if we have it for breakfast again next weekend. Thanks for another great recipe.

  314. Bridge DUrso

    This cake is amazing! A friend served it at a dinner party the other night and I’m so excited to have rhubarb arriving in my CSA this week! If I want to be able to make this all summer, would you substitute frozen rhubarb for fresh 1:1? Or freeze it macerated? Or just save it for fresh rhubarb season?

  315. Karen

    I made this today with some sad looking rhubarb and I was really taken with how good the balance of tart to sweet is (and how easy it was to make). Thanks for this great recipe! I will try this with red currants as well, and I see others have made it successfully with sour cherries. Once they are in season, I will copy that.

    One note: didn’t have sour cream (was all rather spontaneous), so used quark instead, and didn’t have baking powder, so relied on cream of tartar. Recipe forgave me for both substitutions.

  316. Leslie Kuva

    Made this yesterday exactly as written. first harvest of my rhubarb. I make lots of rhubarb cake but my husband LOVED this cake!!! He had to share with our neighbours as well and they said YUM!!!!

  317. Bridge

    I just made this from frozen rhubarb. After the 60 min bake time was up and the tester was clean, the rhubarb still had more structure than when I made it from fresh. Also, the crumb wasn’t cooked or browning. I think it would have worked better to pull the rhubarb out of the fridge further in advance. I ended up putting the broiler on for several minutes (with the cake still in the center of the oven) to brown the strusel without overcooking the cake. It looks perfect now. :)

  318. Kathy

    So glad this recipe got reposted! Big-time rhubarb fans in this family and this is scrumptious! The lemon, ginger and cinnamon give it a depth of flavor that’s lovely. And nothing can beat the tart sweet of rhubarb. Will have to try a non-dairy version for my NY state family get together. Definitely will be making this multiple times every rhubarb season.

  319. Karla

    This cake is delicious! I made it with rhubarb and strawberries… so good! And boy can it take a beating, lol. I experimentally halved the sugar (because I prefer a less sweet cake) AND I accidentally over-baked it but it still tastes great! If you are a fan of polish-style sheet cakes, this is similar. (A note about the sugar, I enjoy sour fruit like plum or rhubarb on yeast cakes with barely any sugar. Halving the sugar made the cake sweet enough for me BUT I would have also enjoyed a little more sugar too. That is just my preference and not at all a criticism of the original recipe.)

  320. Rebecca

    This cake is DEVINE! I used frozen rhubarb which worked just fine. Added 1tsp of lemon extract to the cake for a bit more lemon flavor, it was a really nice add imo :)

  321. Allison

    Oh my gosh this is to die for. I halved the recipe because I was a little short in rhubarb and wanted to save some for another recipe, but I am so regretting it now 😂 I think I pretty much followed the recipe exactly otherwise, using gluten free flour blend. I’m pretty sure I could eat the entire 8×8 pan in a day if I let myself.

  322. ShanJay

    Dairy-free: I used equal parts coconut oil/unsalted melt vegan butter and vegan sour cream (1/3 c canned coconut milk with 1 tsp lemon juice). The crumb is divine and the cake is so moist. It’s delicious.

  323. ShanJay

    Dairy-free: I used equal parts coconut oil/unsalted melt vegan butter and vegan sour cream (1/3 c canned coconut milk with 1 tsp lemon juice). The crumb is divine and the cake is so moist. Additionally, I used coconut sugar and used less than suggested. It’s delicious.

  324. Kristin Konsterlie

    I’d like to use 10 oz frozen plums with 10 oz of fresh rhubarb to equal the 20 oz fruit the recipe calls for – any reason you know that this might give me trouble?

  325. Rachel

    This is absolutely wonderful recipe. I will stick to baking it in a glass pan, however. That’s what I did the first time I made it and it came out great, though not *quite* baked through. This time I switched to a metal pan, and it’s juuuuust on this side of burnt. Glass seems to be safer (for me, at least).

  326. Cat D

    Made this today and it was soo good! I misread the recipe and added all the lemon zest (oops!) which did make it very lemony but it was still really tasty and I will definitely make it again! Thanks so much for a fab recipe x

  327. I SO agree about the vanilla. It seems to go into a LOT of North American recipes and masks the brightness of ingredients. My favourite way of preparing rhubarb is simply a knob of peeled ginger, wide slices of 1 orange, the juice from the orange and about 1/3 c of granulated sugar (more if rhubarb very green). Bring to a boil. Let it break down. You then have a plain compote which can be used as a topping. Made into a fool. Delicious with roast duck or pork. My favourite sense of Spring. Love your books your family family and travels Deb

  328. This rhubarb cake is so good. I’ll be making it regularly. It’s addictive and not too complicated. I’m not a cake person but I am a rhubarb person so it is just perfect especially with the delicious crumble on top.

  329. Irina

    I made this cake so many times. Amazing! I made it as written and gluten free (1:1 exchange with regular flour), and from thawed rhubarb. Still amazing!
    Yesterday I tried it with fresh plums (rhubarb is not available yet). Delicious! I’d reduce sugar next time since plums are not as tart as rhubarb. What a great recipe!

  330. Debra Luhoway

    Hi Deb. Do you think the rhubarb cake could be made with monk fruit sweetener? I have to watch my sugar and carb intake and if I could cut down the sugar or the flour I could actually eat some of this lovely cake. Thanks!

  331. julie

    I was gifted a LOT of rhubarb, and so I knew Deb would have a good recipe. This was delicious! I used a smaller pan (8×11), so I cooked it an extra 10-15 mins. I used about 4.5 cups of chopped rhubarb. My 10 year old son asked for seconds after a huge piece.

  332. Connie Swix

    I adore and grow rhubarb. However this year was a disaster, so I have to use last years frozen rhubarb. Can I use frozen rhubarb in this recipe. I was disappointed the beautiful photo of your snaking cake wasn’t on the printed recipe. I can hardly wait to make it. I might have to resort to buying expensive farmers market rhubarb if it is still available. It’s almost July, so that can be iffy.

  333. Evalyn Stone

    I made this but managed to get all the way to the end before I said “What are these eggs doing out on the counter?” Oops. It came out deliciously anyway, just with a shortbread-like crust at the bottom instead of cake. I’ll try it again the right way when rhubarb is back in season.

  334. Sarah

    You mention elsewhere that this recipe would work with blueberries. What would be the blueberry measurement, and what else would you change to this recipe to make it amazing?

  335. Sarah

    I made this last night with frozen blueberries I picked myself last summer in Michigan. I reduced the sugar by about 1/3 and measured about 3.5 cups of blueberries; otherwise everything was the same. I had a big birthday party; it was the second dessert after a flourless chocolate cake. People raved. I made two; we had half of one left over until breakfast this morning. Warmed up with coffee….. AMAZING. I love fruit-heavy recipes and this one was perfect. (I didn’t use parchment paper and just served out of the pan.) Thank you!