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Rhubarb coffee cake is early summer’s answer to our longtime favorite sour cream coffee cake recipe with streusel. Rhubarb and cardamom add a beautiful, gentle complexity. Don’t miss this recipe.
Why we love rhubarb coffee cake
Cake for breakfast is a thing that needs to happen once in a while. That’s just a fact. A big pan of rhubarb coffee cake with streusel topping turns cake for breakfast into a beautiful event that you can share with friends and family.
This rhubarb coffee cake recipe:
- Has a moist, tender crumb thanks to sour cream in the batter
- Is flecked with gorgeous pink rhubarb
- Gets a just-sophisticated-enough coziness from a hint of cardamom and plenty of tangy rhubarb
- Is not too sweet — it’s just right
- Has an easy-to-make streusel topping
What you’ll need
This cake has two easy components: the cake batter and the streusel topping.
For the cake batter
Here’s what you’ll need to make this best-in-class sour cream coffee cake batter. Have all your ingredients at room temperature before starting to ensure a fluffy cake.
- Rhubarb: Technically a vegetable, rhubarb has a nuanced but sour taste. Mixing in just enough sugar helps coax out its wonderful flavor. The leaves are poisonous, so make sure to remove any that you encounter. Learn more about rhubarb here.
- Ground cardamom: Has a cozy, earthy, astringent flavor and a gorgeous aroma. We use just a little bit in the batter to offer a hint of flavor.
For the streusel topping
And here’s what you’ll need to make the streusel topping. You can substitute chopped pecans, almonds, or pistachios for the walnuts if you like, or leave out the nuts entirely if someone’s allergic.
How to make coffee cake
I’m a huge fan of unfussy cakes, and a great coffee cake is high on that list. This rhubarb coffee cake is truly easy to make. Here’s what you’ll do. You can catch all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.
- Slice the rhubarb into 1/4-inch segments (give or take). Stir it up with two tablespoons of the sugar.
- Mix the dry ingredients together // and the sour cream and vanilla together
- Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy and then beat in the eggs one at a time. After that, you’ll alternate beating in the dry and wet ingredients.
- Stir in the rhubarb, and your batter is DONE.
How to make streusel topping
This easy streusel topping for coffee cake is LIFE. Here’s all you need to do.
- Spread the batter evenly into a greased 9x13x2″ pan.
- Mix together all the dry ingredients for the topping, and then mix in the melted butter until it looks like streusel topping!
- Use your hands to crumble the topping over the batter.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, until a tester comes out almost clean.
Expert tips and FAQs
Yup, you can! Bake it up to 24 hours in advance of when you want to serve it, and let it cool to room temperature before covering.
This cake is nice and moist, so it will keep well at room temperature for three or four days. After it’s cooled completely, cover it tightly with foil or another lid.
You absolutely can! We love the richness and the crunch of the nuts in the topping, but if someone’s allergic or you just don’t have any nuts on hand, you can totally leave them out.
Not gonna lie. Fluffy, tender cakes really do result from room-temperature ingredients. Eggs at room temperature beat up better, and butter mixes more easily and thoroughly into other ingredients.
It takes a little advance thinking, but don’t skip this step.
More great rhubarb recipes
You’ll love some of our other favorite recipes that use rhubarb:
More easy baking with summer fruit
You might also like some of our other chill summertime baking favorites:
For the coffee cake
- 1 pound (454 grams) rhubarb stalks, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (223 grams) sugar, divided
- 2 cups (240 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) sour cream
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
For the streusel
- 2/3 cup (80 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (140 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cup (80 grams) finely chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, melted
MAKE THE CAKE BATTER
- Have all ingredients at room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center, and grease a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir the rhubarb pieces together with two tablespoons of the sugar. Let sit while you make the batter.
- In another medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.
- In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and vanilla extract.
- In a large bowl (or the bowl of a. stand mixer), beat together the butter and the remaining cup sugar until lightened in color and texture, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition.
- Then add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the sour cream in two parts and beating on low after each addition until just incorporated.
- Gently fold the rhubarb into the batter.
- Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
MAKE THE TOPPING
- To make the streusel topping, stir together the flour, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.
- Pour the melted butter overtop and stir to incorporate evenly into the dry ingredients.
- Use your fingers to sprinkle the topping over the batter.
BAKE THE CAKE
- Bake the cake on the center rack until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out almost clean, about 35 minutes.
- Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.
- Having the ingredients at room temperature makes a fluffier cake. Don't skip this step.
- If you're measuring the flour by the cup, use the spoon and level method.
- You can substitute pecans, almonds, or pistachios for the walnuts if you like. And if someone's allergic to nuts or you just don't have any nuts on hand, you can totally leave them out.
- You can bake this rhubarb coffee cake up to 24 hours in advance of when you want to serve it. Let it cool to room temperature before covering.
- This cake is nice and moist, so it will keep well at room temperature for three or four days. After it's cooled completely, cover it tightly with foil or another lid.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 377Total Fat: 22.3gCarbohydrates: 40.7gFiber: 1.7gProtein: 5.2g