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
18 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
    May 27, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    I knew I had to make this cake as soon as I saw the recipe. I love rhubarb. I was not disappointed! It’s soft and moist and the rhubarb is fragrant. I added some ground ginger to the sugar topping and it was wonderful. Bravo!

    • Reply
      May 27, 2018 at 6:02 pm

      Thanks Katie ~ the ginger sounds pretty nice. Now you need to freeze some rhubarb so you can make this all year long :)

  • Reply
    May 22, 2018 at 11:08 am

    How long will this cake keep and still taste good?

  • Reply
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    May 21, 2018 at 3:02 am

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  • Reply
    May 13, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    I made this last night and it’s amazing! I love that the rhubarb flavour comes through so well. I also love that it’s not sickly sweet. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

    • Reply
      May 13, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks Joanna, you put it well, the flavor does come out nicely, I’m not sure we really get to taste rhubarb on its own in many recipes, so I like that, too.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Recipe directions don’t mention went to put the half & half and lemon mixture into the batter. I presume this is done before adding the flour mix. Is this correct?

    • Reply
      May 13, 2018 at 9:54 am

      It’s there in step 6 Mimi, I add it alternately with the flour, just to keep the batter nice and light.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Looks so good! Do you think this could be made without dairy? I was thinking of subbing almond creamer for the half & half and coconut oil for the butter. Has anyone tried something like this?

    • Reply
      May 10, 2018 at 11:38 am

      The creamer should be no problem, and I think the coconut oil should work, especially if you use it in the solid form.

    • Reply
      June 5, 2018 at 9:47 am

      I made this today, subbing coconut oil for the butter and almond milk for the half and half to make it dairy free. Turned out amazing!

      • Reply
        June 5, 2018 at 9:48 am

        Yay ! that’s really good to know, thanks Miranda :)

  • Reply
    Old-Fashioned Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp • a farmgirl's dabbles
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  • Reply
    Ellen Foley
    May 1, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Can you use frozen rhubarb?

    • Reply
      May 1, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      Sure, Ellen. Assuming your frozen rhubarb is already cut, I’d use it straight from frozen.

  • Reply
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    • Reply
      April 15, 2018 at 7:48 pm

      Hi is the Rhubarb raw when it goes into the cake?

      • Reply
        April 15, 2018 at 9:59 pm

        Yes, Melissa, I just thinly slice the raw stalks, it gets nice and soft during the baking process.

        • Reply
          April 16, 2018 at 2:32 am

          Okay thankyou Sue

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    March 23, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    You had me at breakfast cake! :) This is the perfect cake for weekend baking!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    I hope my rhubarb crop is better this year! Your gorgeous breakfast cake is the first new recipe I plan to try—so yummy!

    • Reply
      March 20, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      I think it’ll start off the season with a bang Liz :)

  • Reply
    Amy in Hunting Valley, OH
    March 18, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    I am going to try this for sure. My grandmother used to cook rhubarb and serve it as a dessert. I didn’t know that it’s actually a vegetable. We still have a lot of snow on the ground so anything that helps it feel spring-like is much appreciated!

    • Reply
      March 18, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      I know most of the upper part of the country won’t have rhubarb growing just yet, for sure, but if you see some at the supermarket, grab it. I think I may freeze a bunch of it this year so I never run out.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    I replaced some of the flour with Almond Meal – I felt it lightened the crumb and it tastes nice with the Rhubarb. Rhubarb is lovely in muffins as well.

    • Reply
      March 16, 2018 at 4:56 pm

      I like that idea, I’ll try it.

    • Reply
      March 16, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      iv would love the printer version of the recipe please

      • Reply
        March 16, 2018 at 7:44 pm

        You can always get the printer version by clicking the little ‘print’ button in the upper right of the recipe, Faith. Let me know if you have trouble and I can email it to you.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    OH, sweet momma, I love me some rhubarb and this recipe looks utterly tempting! I’m so excited for rhubarb season. The moment I see some at my local market I’m coming back to try this recipe! Yum! :)

    • Reply
      Patricia J. McCandless
      June 1, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      Rhubarb is so easy to grow! My own Rhubarb plant has been passed down from my Great-Grandfather’s garden. It is particularly delicious. It has been divided multiple times. I planted my Rhubarb in my little rose garden. Deer don’t like it and dogs leave it alone. The clump of roots divide easily with a spade, shovel or just about anything else. Don’t worry about hurting it. Take a chunk out of anyone’s Rhubarb plant, put it in the ground where it will get a fair amount full sun and regular watering. Don’t eat the leaves!

      • Reply
        June 1, 2018 at 3:59 pm

        Love this Patricia, I knew rhubarb was easy to grow, but didn’t know you could divide it this way, thanks!

  • Reply
    Abbe@This is How I Cook
    March 16, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    What a delicious and beautiful cake. I’ve missed out on rhubarb for a lot of years since I never tried it as a child. I have a lot of time to make up for and this looks great! Pinning!

    • Reply
      March 16, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      I never had it as a child either, Abbe, I’m making up for lost time for sure.

  • Reply
    Judi Hansen
    March 16, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Rhubarb grows for most of the year here in New Zealand, so I’ll give this recipe a go…but what is half and half? Never heard the term before.

    • Reply
      March 16, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      Half and half is a light cream product, basically half heavy cream and half milk, Judi. And how lucky to have rhubarb growing year round!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    March 16, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Love those cherry red rhubarb! Haven’t seen any of them here yet…the cake looks marvelous!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    March 16, 2018 at 5:16 am

    You know I love this one! Breakfast cake all day is my mantra!

    • Reply
      March 16, 2018 at 7:20 am

      Wish we could share a slice my friend!

    • Reply
      Cheryl Kennedy
      May 30, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      Breakfast cake all day is a great mantra.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    March 16, 2018 at 4:44 am

    Such a lovely cake! My rhubarb is still under some snow, so it will be a while here. But no fear. I have a freezer stash, so will be trying this one :)

    • Reply
      March 16, 2018 at 7:03 am

      So much better to wait for it from the garden than to grab it early in the grocery store :)

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    March 16, 2018 at 3:54 am

    This looks spectacular! I haven’t seen rhubarb yet here in NC but I’ll be on the lookout! Can’t wait to try this :)

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