• Rhubarb Crumb Cake


Rhubarb Crumb Cake

By Andrew Zimmern

Here in the upper Midwest we say thank you to anything edible that comes out of the ground as early as rhubarb. I can’t wait until the farmers market is heavy with the stuff, so can I cook down quarts of it to use in muffins, condiments and pies. But it really shines in this easy streusel-topped rhubarb crumb cake.

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

Servings: makes one 9-inch square cake



  • 1  1/2 pounds chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Streusel Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup crushed toasted almonds or pecans


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1  1/2 cups flour
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten slightly
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk


Prepare the Rhubarb 

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. When foaming and hot, add the rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice. Sauté until ‘jammy’ and liquid is cooked off, about 10 minutes. Spill the contents of the pan out onto a large plate and cool.

Make the Streusel

Combine the softened butter, flour, sugar and nuts. Mix well with fingertips and set aside.

Make the Cake

Butter and flour a 9-inch square brownie pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and allspice. Reserve.

Cream together butter and sugar, adding the egg when combined well. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in thirds to the sugar mixture, alternating as you go. The batter will be stiff.

Fold in rhubarb, swirling if you can. Place batter in prepared pan, cover evenly with streusel topping and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until a toothpick withdraws cleanly from the cake. Cool, slice and serve.

Photograph by Madeleine Hill.

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