You’ll be reaching for this Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake recipe over and over again. It makes a delightfully buttery and moist cake that is not overly sweet. You can also call this a Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake, as it goes perfectly with a cup of coffee for breakfast.
I originally published this Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake Recipe over four years ago. But it’s one of the most overlooked recipes on The Worktop. It’s such an unassuming cake that even I forget about it.
This post you are reading is an updated text, updated photos, as well as a slightly updated recipe.
When I first made this Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake, I was a novice at baking with rhubarb. I hadn’t made many delicious rhubarb recipes at that time, but I had seen this easy rhubarb cake on Not Without Salt, and made it for some friends that afternoon.
The sweet and buttery tartness of her old fashioned rhubarb cake really surprised me! That’s when I fell in love with rhubarb cakes.
I’ve made a few adjustments to the original rhubarb butter cake recipe. Mainly, I’ve changed it into a strawberry rhubarb coffee cake because I love strawberry rhubarb recipes. The sweet and tart flavors just go so well together.
This recipe uses strawberry yogurt inside the cake, as well fresh strawberries inside the cake. It’s also topped with an easy strawberry yogurt cream cheese spread.
You’ll find that this recipe definitely makes an old fashioned cake, but the addition of fresh strawberries and strawberry yogurt give this buttery cake a brighter fruity sweetness.
How to bake with rhubarb
Baking this rhubarb cake recipe is easy! Rhubarb is a funny fruit that is crisp and hard when uncooked. And it’s tart, which is why it pairs so well in recipes with strawberries.
When rhubarb bakes though, it turns soft and can fray into small stringy bits. For this reason, make sure you cut your rhubarb stalks into 1/2-inch pieces before baking this cake.
How to pick rhubarb for baking
You might come across two different types of rhubarb. The first is a more common and greener variety with thicker stalks. This is the type of rhubarb I use in this cake.
The second type of rhubarb has a thinner stalk, and it is very deep red. This type of rhubarb will give you a beautiful color in your baked cakes, but it is much more tart.
Personally, I like this old fashioned rhubarb cake made with the traditional green-stalk rhubarb because of it’s mellower flavor. If you are wondering why this cake isn’t vibrant red, that’s why.
How to prepare rhubarb for baking
To prepare the rhubarb for baking, make sure you only use the stalks. Most grocery stores sell rhubarb without the leaves, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
But if you are (un)lucky enough to get rhubarb with leaves, do not eat the leaves. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous. Keep them away from any pets or children who might also be lingering around the kitchen.
Making Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake
When you plan on making this rhubarb cake recipe, the first step is to prepare the rhubarb and strawberry. Once you wash and cut the rhubarb stalks and strawberries, mix it with some brown sugar and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
Macerate the rhubarb and strawberries
At the end of 30 minutes, the sugar will have drawn out some liquid from the rhubarb stalks and strawberries. This is important because then you can distribute this “strawberry rhubarb juice” evenly into the recipe.
It gives the strawberry rhubarb coffee cake flavor, as well as prevent the cake from getting soggy where the strawberry and rhubarb pieces end up sitting.
Don’t over mix the cake batter, so you have a light and fluffy strawberry rhubarb coffee cake
Once you’ve macerated the rhubarb and strawberries, the remaining steps in this rhubarb cake recipe are straightforward. Cream the wet ingredients in one bowl. Mix the dry ingredients in a second bowl.
Gently combine both bowls together. Don’t over mix the rhubarb cake batter at this step. So stop mixing when the ingredients are just combined.
Bake the rhubarb cake in the oven until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Keep in mind that this cake is naturally moist because of the fresh strawberries and rhubarb, so don’t rush the baking time.
Top this Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake with just powdered sugar, or try this easy strawberry yogurt cream cheese spread
To keep it simple, this old fashioned rhubarb cake is delicious served plain with a dusting of powdered sugar. You don’t need much else with it.
Other times, I serve this rhubarb coffee cake with this easy strawberry cream cheese spread. The spread in the photo is made by simply mixing strawberry yogurt and cream cheese together.
You get a very light spreadable topping that makes this a perfect coffee cake. Only use this topping if you plan on eating the cake right away though.
Since it’s literally just strawberry yogurt and cream cheese mixed together, it needs to be refrigerated. It will become droopy if it doesn’t maintain its cool temperature.
Alternatively, make the strawberry cream cheese spread, and keep it separate. Top it on each slice of old fashioned rhubarb cake individually when you are ready to eat it.
Serve this Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake with a hot cup of coffee
Did I mention that this Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake goes really well with a cup of coffee in the morning? The cake is not overly sweet (just sweet enough!) so it works well as a coffee cake.
We love this cake at breakfast, but you can have it the old fashioned way…serve it in the afternoon with tea.
I really hope you enjoy this Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake Recipe!
Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake (with Strawberry)Print Recipe
- 2 cups rhubarb - chopped roughly into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup strawberries - washed, hulled and cut into pieces
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar (for mixing with the rhubarb)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter - room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar (for the cake)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup regular strawberry yogurt
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Strawberry Yogurt Cream Cheese Spread
- 1/3 cup cream cheese
- 1/3 cup regular strawberry yogurt
- Butter a 8'' or 9″ (2″ high) round cake pan.
- Pre-heat oven to 175* C / 350* F.
- In a small bowl combine the rhubarb, strawberries and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl cream together the butter and 1 cup brown sugar until light. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Finally, mix in the strawberry rhubarb mixture and yogurt.
- In a second bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Slowly add all the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, mixing until combined.
- Spread the batter into the pan. Bake for 50- 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before removing from the pan and cooling completely on a wire rack.
- Once the cake has cooled, dust with powdered sugar or use the Strawberry Yogurt Cream Cheese Spread.
Strawberry Yogurt Cream Cheese Spread
- Mix the strawberry yogurt and cream cheese together. Spread over cooled cake.