Monday, May 23, 2011

Make it from Scratch Monday: Rhubarb Cake

If you love cooking seasonally, you're probably aware that rhubarb is one of the first spring vegetables. And if you happen to have an established rhubarb plant in your yard you've probably got more than you know what to do with right now! (If you don't, go out and plant one right now; you can buy rootstock at any garden center and it will be ready to pick in about 2-3 years.) And BTW- it freezes really well; just chop the stalks and freeze them in ziploc bags until you're out of the fresh variety.

Here's a dessert recipe that's a little different than your standard pie or compote recipe: an easy from-scratch cake with a runny rhubarb filling on the bottom. It is so good, you'll just keep making it until all the rhubarb is done!

This is a two-part recipe; prepare the "bottom" and the "cake" separately. Take a stick of butter out of the fridge about an hour before starting so it has a chance to get soft. It's also important to use a large non-reactive pan for this recipe. A 13x9 is the smallest you could use, and glass or a vintage enamel-ware pan like mine are the best. A steel sheet pan tends to leave a metallic taste when combined with the rhubarb. Sometimes, if I am using a very large pan I double the batter part and leave the bottom part as-is.

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may also note that this is one of those recipes where I can use almost exclusively vintage kitchen items to make it- Vintage Recipes with Vintage Techniques! The only modern thing I always use is a dishwasher-safe cutting board and good knives.

Rhubarb Cake


4 c. chopped rhubarb (1/2" to 1" pieces)
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 egg
2 Tbsp. melted butter
pinch salt

Cake Batter:
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. softened butter
1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg

1. Mix the dry ingrediants for the bottom (flour, sugar, salt). Add the melted butter and then the lightly beaten egg.

2. Chop rhubarb in 1/2 to 1 inch chunks. If you're using frozen rhubarb add it while it is still partially frozen, and include any liquid that may have thawed out in the bag, or your rhubarb will get "chewy".

 3. Combine rhubarb and bottom ingrediants. Grease a non-reactive (not steel) 9x13 pan with butter or cooking spray.

 4. Add the combined "bottom" ingredients to your pan. Preheat your oven to 350.

5) Make the "batter" by creaming the butter and sugar. Then add the egg.

6) Add the flour and baking powder and mix.

7) Add 1/2 c. milk.

8) Mix well. Batter should be a little sticky but not very heavy.

9) Spread batter over bottom mixture. If you are using a pan larger than a 9x13 it probably won't cover completely. That's OK, it will spread out and the bottom part will bubble up over top- yummy!

10) Bake at 350 for about an hour. Mine got a little darker than I intended because I got distracted, but it really carmelizes great this way. The top gets a little bit crusty and the bottom is so gooey!

11) Enjoy while it's still warm! :)


  1. That is a great idea. I really love rhubarb, but no one else in the house does. I wonder if this application my sway them?

  2. oh my god I want some! It was a favorite of my grandpas and I but I havent had any in forever.

  3. Looks delicious! I had no idea it was so easy to freeze rhubarb. Our grocery store just got some in--looks like I need to make a trip!

  4. Oh, that looks yummy! Thank you for sharing the recipe :D