Easy Rhubarb Breakfast Cake

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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.

Rhubarb Breakfast Cake image

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.

Rhubarb Breakfast Cake imagery

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 the same flavor.

Fresh rhubarb for Rhubarb Breakfast Cake image

Rhubarb FAQ

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.

A piece of Rhubarb Breakfast Cake image

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.

*this recipe is adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

Rhubarb Breakfast Cake
Rate this recipe
7 ratings

Category: dessert, snack, breakfast

Yield: serves 12


  • 1/2 cup (116 grams) half and half
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup, 113 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup (214 grams) granulated sugar plus 2 tsp for sprinkling
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (256 grams) all purpose flour, saving out 1 Tbsp to toss with rhubarb
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb


  1. 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.
  2. Stir the lemon juice into the half and half and set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. Take 1 Tbsp of the flour to the rhubarb and toss well.
  5. Whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.)
  8. Let the cake cool slightly before cutting.

Make it your own ~

  • 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.


Don’t forget to pin this delicious Rhubarb Breakfast Cake!

My Rhubarb Breakfast Cake is a classic, puffed up, fruity snack cake ~ the kind your grandma probably made.  It's packed with jammy bits of sweet/tart rhubarb and it's officially my favorite way to start the day. #cake #breakfast #coffeecake #snackcake #rhubarb #fruit #spring #dessert #kuchen #easycake #rhubarbcake

Other rhubarb recipes to try ~

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Leave a Reply


  • Reply
    October 8, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Sue,
    We’ve been given some Rhubarb and my daughter and I are looking forward to try one of your Easy Rhubarb Breakfast Cake recipe.
    We only struggle what you mean by 1/2 a cup of ‘half and half’ ? I’m German living in the UK, perhaps that explains why we don’t get it? Thanks for your help!

    • Reply
      October 8, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      In the US “half and half” is a combination of equal parts whole milk and cream, Andrea. I think you could use single cream, or a mixture of single cream and whole milk. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Zillah Bugeja
    August 12, 2018 at 4:18 am

    Thank you. It is an excellent recipe. Given the thumbs up by my Norwegian partner. (Norway is THE land of baking AND he is a chef). I used rhubarb from the garden. Thanks to you I have a go-to recipe for the future.

    • Reply
      August 12, 2018 at 8:37 am

      I’m thrilled to have an expert’s approval!

  • Reply
    marilee johansen
    July 29, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    do you know carb count for this recipe?

  • Reply
    suzanne Smith
    July 28, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    hi Sue you said it can be made with bananas but how many would I put in it? i will try it with the rhubarb and I would like to try different fruits but I don’t know how much I would put in. thank you

    • Reply
      July 28, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      I would try chopping 2 bananas, Suzanne. I would say try 2 cups of any chopped fruit, or whole berries, if they’re small.

  • Reply
    Chris R.
    July 26, 2018 at 8:21 am

    What a wonderful treat. My family loved the almost creamy texture of the cake. Thank you for my new favorite breakfast.

    • Reply
      July 26, 2018 at 8:33 am

      Thanks Chris! The texture is wonderful, due to the fruit sort of melting into the cake, I guess.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Hi I reduced the sugar in a double batch, but it was very moist still. I had to bake it longer, and it was still falling apart. Sugar reduced from 2 cups to 1 1/2 cups. Used buttermilk as I had no half and half or cream.

  • Reply
    Rhubarb Breakfast Cake – Mac & Marvel
    June 24, 2018 at 11:40 am

    […] Adapted from A View From Great Island […]

  • Reply
    June 21, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Would it be possible to make the batter the evening before and then pop it in the oven the next morning? (Trying to maximize my beauty sleep).

    • Reply
      June 21, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      I haven’t tried it but theoretically is should work. You could also prep most of it the night before so it would be super quick in the morning.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Hi Sue, this recipe sounds amazing. I’d like to make this recipe for an event I’m going to next month. Would this freeze well? Thank you in advance.

    • Reply
      June 19, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      I think this cake would freeze ok, Diana, but if you’re concerned about finding rhubarb in a month, you might consider slicing and freezing the rhubarb, then using it from frozen. I do think the cake would taste best freshly baked.

  • Reply
    Ashley in Alaska
    June 17, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    This cake is wonderful!! Made it yesterday with rhubarb from my garden. I subbed 1 cup of strawberries for 1 c of rhubarb but made no other changes. Delicious, not too sweet, and a hit with all ages!

    • Reply
      June 17, 2018 at 9:42 pm

      Nice, love the combo of the berries and rhubarb, thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know Ashley :)

  • Reply
    June 17, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    I’d like to make a 13×9 cake. Is this recipe convertible to that?

    • Reply
      June 17, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      I would double the recipe, Sherrie. Watch the baking time, too.

  • Reply
    June 17, 2018 at 6:58 am

    Is there any way to substitute for the half and half that would keep the same results? I don’t have any on hand, and the nearest store is quite a hike.. especially for one item, but I NEED to make this RIGHT NOW! Ha.

    • Reply
      June 17, 2018 at 7:27 am

      I know the feeling Stacy! I usually feel comfortable substituting milk, almond milk, even yogurt.

  • Reply
    CSA Share/Farmer's Market Series | Week #2 | Produce Recipes
    June 10, 2018 at 5:34 am

    […] –  I’ve never really cooked with rhubarb, but I found this awesome looking Rhubarb Breakfast Cake .  I’m going to make this for breakfast next weekend.  It looks a lot less overwhelming […]

  • Reply
    Vickie Meinen
    June 9, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Love trying new rhubarb recipes. I am in the process of making this one… I just had to mention – I can’t see how this is a “one bowl” recipe when you have to keep the rhubarb (sprinkled with flour) separate until you combine the flour mixture (in one bowl ) with the butter/sugar mixture (in another bowl) and the half and half brewing with the lemon juice in another dish of some nature. All of these things are reminiscent of making muffins, but I don’t see how to do it in one bowl….

    • Reply
      June 9, 2018 at 10:07 am

      I was confused by your comment so I went back to the post, and I never mention one-bowl, but there it was on the pin! I’ve updated, thanks Vickie!

  • Reply
    Linda W.
    June 7, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for this fabulous recipe. We got some rhubarb from a friend & I found your recipe online. Wanted to try something new. Just made it & it got rave reviews, even from my finicky dad!

    • Reply
      June 7, 2018 at 9:40 am

      So happy to hear this, Linda, it sounds like you’ve got a readymade Father’s Day treat all set!

  • Reply
    June 3, 2018 at 4:27 am

    Hi what is half and half, am I missing something? x

    • Reply
      June 3, 2018 at 7:38 am

      Half and half is a light cream product here in the States, Bernie, it’s half heavy cream and half milk. It’s known as ‘half cream’ in the UK

    • Reply
      Hilary Harrap
      June 4, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      Made it today I have been baking with coconut sugar ,which is less sweet but still delicious.Great recipe , thank you

  • Reply
    Michelle Stone
    June 2, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks for the recipe, it looks amazing. I’m going to change it to make it paleo, wheat and milk don’t agree with me. I will let you know how it goes.

    • Reply
      June 2, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      Please do, I know others would be interested!

  • Reply
    June 2, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Hi Sue, I’ve been trying to print this recipe but instead of text only, but when I click on print, a photo of the breakfast cake takes up almost one entire page leaving me having to print two pages to get a copy of recipe. Wondering if there would be any way you could change the option to text only on your recipe as I don’t want to waste so much coloured ink.

    Thank you

    • Reply
      June 2, 2018 at 4:34 pm

      Hey Joyceyn, I just removed the photo to make it easier to print, I’ll look into how I can make them smaller going forward!

  • Reply
    June 2, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Just out of the oven and cooling. Had to cut off a corner to taste. This cake will be a keeper. Light, fluffy and oh so tasty! Found this recipe but didn’t have rhubarb, then remembered seeing some growing in my neighbors garden. Called her up and she said…come and pick some, so I did!

    • Reply
      June 2, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      What fun, there’s nothing like picking your own rhubarb, I did that last week!

    • Reply
      June 3, 2018 at 10:53 am

      Thank you Sue, printed ( text only ) perfectly. Much appreciated!

      • Reply
        June 3, 2018 at 11:13 am

        I’ll try to figure out a better way, I never know if people would prefer an image for reference, or not. I’ll work on getting an on/off button for the images, at least.

  • Reply
    Laurie Giddings
    May 31, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    It looks amazing and I couldn’t wait to try it! However, I baked it about 20 minutes longer than it calls for and it was still gooey on the inside. The outside edges taste FABULOUS and I will be trying it again. Must have been operator error! ?

    • Reply
      May 31, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      It sounds like maybe your oven temp is running low, do you have an oven thermometer to check it? Even a small difference in temperature can really throw the timing off.

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