Breakfast/ Cake

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

rhubarb coffee cake

A piece of coffee cake in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Sitting in a hammock. I’m here for it.

Or a piece of coffee cake in each hand. Still sitting in a hammock. That’s okay too.

Especially if it’s this one. This recipe is my go-to for coffee cake. The best thing about it is the texture of the cake itself. It’s soft, yet dense. Tender, yet ruggedly handsome. It’s got a great personality and it’s a really good listener too. What else could you ask for? It’s better than most humans. All in all: 10/10.

rhubarb coffee cake

But enough putzing around. Let’s get into the deets…

here’s the rundown:

-If you didn’t believe me, I’m offended, but I’ll say it again. It’s dense, yet soft and moist, even after a few days.

-It has a crumbly, streusel topping, giving the cake a nice texture.

-It’s got a lovely, tart rhubarb filling that balances well with the rest of the cake. No overpowering flavors here!

-You can easily switch out the rhubarb filling for something else. Nutella (my substitute for almost anything), nuts, jam, fruit, your options are endless!

-You can double this recipe and bake it in a 9×13 pan because who doesn’t love more cake?

rhubarb coffee cake

Also, for some reason my brain thought rhubarb was a fruit. Google told me it was not. Thank you Google. It’s a vegetable. Most people treat it like a fruit, but it’s not. Sort of like a tomato, which is a fruit but most people treat it like a vegetable.

So the moral of the story is I need Google to tell me the difference between vegetables and fruits. I’m doing really well in life guys, can’t you tell?

So hey, give this vegetable coffee cake a try.

That sounds disgusting…

it’s not.

I would be the worst salesman though. Hey what’s new, I suck at something else.

rhubarb coffee cake

“Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.” -Michael Scott

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Print Recipe
Serves: 9 Cooking Time: 45 minutes


  • For the Streusel
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • For the Rhubarb Filling
  • About 3-4 rhubarb stalks (roughly 3/4 pound), trimmed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • For the Cake
  • Softened unsalted butter and all-purpose flour, for preparing the baking pan
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract



For the streusel: In a small saucepan over low heat (or in a small, microwave-safe bowl in a microwave oven), melt butter and set aside to cool.


In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients, breaking up the brown sugar and distributing it throughout the mixture (using your hands works well here too).


Add the melted butter to the flour-spice mixture and mix with a fork or a wooden spoon until fluffy incorporated and clumps form (again, you can mix with your hands, which is our preferred method). Unbaked streusel keeps in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.


For the Filling: Slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch, and ginger. Set aside.


For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8-inch baking pan with softened butter and dust the pan with flour.


In a small saucepan over low heat (or in a small, microwave-safe bowl in a microwave oven), melt the butter and set aside to cool.


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.


In a separate large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract and melted butter until very smooth.


Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined.


Layer about 2/3 of the batter in the prepared baking pan, smoothing it out to the edges and leveling the top. This batter is thick, so evenly spoon or scoop it in tablespoon-size mounds into the pan before spreading. Use the back of a spoon or an offset spatula (this works best) to smooth it in the pan.


Spread the rhubarb filling evenly over the batter, and then layer the remaining batter over the filling, using the same method of spooning or scooping. Smooth out the top of the batter, ensuring it is even and reaches the edges of the pan. The batter may not completely cover the rhubarb and that's okay!


Sprinkle the top with streusel, and then bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.


Recipe adapted from Ovenly.

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