My Rhubarb Breakfast Cake is a classic, puffed up, fruity snack cake ~ the kind your grandma made, if you were lucky. It’s packed with jammy bits of sweet/tart rhubarb and it’s officially my favorite way to start the day.
It may be called a rhubarb breakfast cake, but don’t let that stop you from snacking on this gem all day long.
The texture is just perfect, it’s not too sweet, and the tart rhubarb gives it a unique flavor. There’s a nice background note of vanilla in the batter which plays really well with the rhubarb. And then there’s that slightly crunchy sugary crust ~ this cake is divine.
You’ll just need a few stalks of rhubarb for this breakfast cake recipe, enough to make 2 cups of thin slices. The red color is beautiful, but green rhubarb will give you wonderful flavor too.
Is rhubarb a fruit or a vegetable?
- Rhubarb is a tart vegetable that we treat as a fruit in cooking. It grows in long leafy stalks, and kind of looks like red celery.
When is Rhubarb season?
- Rhubarb season is April through June, but you’ll see if sooner and later in some areas.
Why is my rhubarb green?
- Rhubarb varies in color from deep crimson to pale green. Newer varieties, like my Cherry Red rhubarb, is bred for its sweet flavor and intense color, which is nice because that’s one of the things we love about rhubarb and it’s a big drag when the color doesn’t bloom in recipes. There is little difference in flavor between the green and red, but red rhubarb can be stunning when cooked.
How to cook rhubarb?
- Rhubarb is usually used in desserts like pies, sometimes combined with other fruits like strawberries. Slice the stalks and cook them down with a little water and sugar until the fruit starts to break down. It can be made into sauces, compotes, jams, or pie fillings, among other things. Note: do not eat rhubarb leaves.
Can you freeze rhubarb?
- Rhubarb freezes beautifully. Slice it and lay it out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Put the pan in the freezer and freeze until solid. Then transfer the rhubarb to a freezer style zip lock baggie or airtight container. In most cases there’s no need to thaw the rhubarb when you want to use it for cooking.
Once you’ve got the basic formula for this cake down you can experiment with different fruits and flavorings to make it your own, just be sure to maintain the proportions.
Rhubarb is such an unusual ingredient, and strictly seasonal, so I recommend grabbing it while you can. I love to use fresh rhubarb in NO BAKE RHUBARB DREAM BARS, it tints the creamy filling an ethereal pink. In my SALAD CUPS WITH RHUBARB VINAIGRETTE the color is more vivid. If you like to pair your rhubarb with strawberries, try my STRAWBERRY RHUBARB COBBLER ~ it’s a classic.
Reader Rave ~
“Rhubarb Breakfast Cake is very delicious! 5 star delicious 🙂
I found frozen rhubarb in my freezer from spring 2018 and used it today. Tossed with flour while still frozen and added to recipe.” ~ Tammy
Rhubarb Breakfast Cake
- 1/2 cup half and half, cream, or buttermilk
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tsp for sprinkling
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour, saving out 1 Tbsp to toss with rhubarb
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
- Set oven to 350F Lightly butter a 9x9 square baking pan. I like to line the pan with parchment paper with overhanging ends so I can easily lift out the cooled cake for cutting. That's optional.
- Stir the lemon juice into the half and half and set aside.
- Cream the soft butter and sugar in a stand mixer, or with electric beaters, until fluffy and pale yellow. Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
- Take 1 Tbsp of the flour to the rhubarb and toss well.
- Whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and blend in. Add all of the half and half, and blend in. Finally add the rest of the flour and blend just until combined, don't over mix. Fold in the rhubarb. Note: the batter is on the thick side.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top evenly with a little sugar. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the cake is turning golden and a toothpick in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it (moist crumbs are fine.)
- Let the cake cool slightly before cutting.
notes and variations
- Other fruit like berries work beautifully in this rhubarb breakfast cake. Also try chopped banana.
- Mix the topping sugar with a touch of cinnamon for a hint of spice.
- For a lower fat option try buttermilk in place of the half and half and lemon. Half Greek yogurt and half milk would work, too.