This EASY RHUBARB CAKE is SO moist and delicious! Serve it cold as a snacking cake, or warm with ice cream or whipped cream. It’s a perfect go-to dessert for family gatherings or decadent mid-morning treat with a cup of coffee!
I do love rhubarb season, but it’s short so I try to make most of my favourite rhubarb recipes while it’s here.
This old-fashioned rhubarb cake is my favourite rhubarb recipe ever. Along with my buttermilk-rhubarb muffins, it’s one of the first things I make it every year as soon as the rhubarb is ripe.
Several years ago, a good friend of mine was transplanting her grandmother’s rhubarb patch, and she gave me a chunk of the root for my garden. I popped it into the ground beside our tool-shed, and every year, it yields a bigger crop than the year before. Then, last year, when it was on its way to producing a decent harvest, someone ran over it with the lawnmower. I’m still not sure who that was. No-one here is owning up to it..
THIS year, after a very warm and sunny spring, my rhubarb patch has finally flourished! HOORAY!
It’s bursting with ruby-red stalks of fruit, topped with gigantic green leaves, and it’s been just begging to be harvested.
The other day, I pulled a bunch of it, and made a couple of my all-time favourite rhubarb recipes; one of them being this simple, from-scratch rhubarb cake that’s been in our family for years.
How to Make This Easy Rhubarb Cake
(printable recipe at bottom of post)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 and 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup milk
- 2 and 1/2 cups chopped, fresh rhubarb (3 large stalks or 5-6 med stalks)
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
To Make Your Cake:
Sift flour, baking soda, salt into a small bowl and set aside.
In a larger bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until well-blended. I do this by hand with a wooden spoon.
Add egg and continue to beat, by hand, until well-mixed.
Stir in vanilla.
Now, ALTERNATE between adding the 1 cup of milk and the flour/baking soda/salt mixture that you had set aside: Add about a 1/4 of the milk and stir well. Then add about 1/4 of the flour mixture, and stir well.
Continue until all is added to the batter.
Stir in chopped rhubarb.
Spoon into a sprayed (or greased and floured) 9 x 13 baking dish or cake pan.
Adding the cinnamon-sugar topping:
Mix the white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well. Sprinkle over the batter until cake is entirely covered.
Shake the pan from side to side to evenly distribute the sugar if necessary.
Bake at 350º F for 40 minutes (or until knife comes out clean).
Remove from oven and allow to cool a little before serving.
Serve your rhubarb cake warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or top with real whipped cream. Alternatively, you could top it with fresh fruit and berries.
I hope you enjoy this simple summertime cake as much as we do! The tart, tangy rhubarb combined with the sweet, sugary topping is simply amazing.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes! Just thaw and drain your rhubarb before adding it to the batter.
How many people does this rhubarb cake serve?
It’s a super dessert for family, but large enough to serve when you have company for dinner. You’ll get 12 good sized-pieces out of your 9×13 pan.
How to store this cake:
To store leftover cake, simply cover baking dish with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature.
Want to grow your own rhubarb at home or at school with your students? Check out Megan Zeni’s guide for growing, caring for and harvesting rhubarb with kids.
Easy Rhubarb Cake – a Delicious Summertime Treat
- 2 cups All-Purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1.25 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup milk
- 2.5 cups chopped approx 3 large stalks or 6 small-med stalks, fresh rhubarb
- TOPPING: 1/3 cup white sugar mixed well with 1 tsp cinnamon
- In small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In larger bowl, by hand, cream together brown sugar and butter.
- Add egg and continue to beat by hand until well-blended.
- Stir in vanilla.
- Now, ALTERNATE between adding the 1 cup of milk and the flour mixture that you’d set aside.
- Add about a 1/4 of the milk and stir well. Then add about 1/4 of the flour mixture, and stir well.
- Continue until all is added to the batter.
- Stir in the chopped rhubarb.
- Spoon into sprayed (or greased and floured) 9 x 13 baking dish or cake pan.
- Sprinkle with white sugar/cinnamon topping.
- Bake 40 minutes at 350º F. (or until knife comes out clean)
- Shake pan from side to side to evenly distribute sugar topping if necessary.
- Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.
More of our best cake recipes:
- Crazy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
- Crazy Good Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Easiest Coffee Cake Ever
- Easy Buttermilk-Rhubarb Muffins
More of our best summer recipes:
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
Thank you, this was delicious! Nice to have a baked good where rhubarb stands alone as the star. Move over, strawberries. I even screwed up, and read the recipe with 2 cups milk and had to go back to re-read ingredients when I saw how soupy the batter was. Added in flour and a bit more baking soda until a reasonable consistency was reached. I’m excited to make it again, as it was intended.
Glad you were able to fix it, Hayley, and so happy you loved it!
This was exactly the kind of dessert I was looking for last night and I loved how I didn’t need to get my mixer out to do the job. My whole family loved how delicious and light it was. Thank you for sharing. I will definitely be making this again and again.
Oh, great! I’m so glad you found it. And I’m so glad it’s going to become a family favourite at your house!
Tried to make it gluten-free with a all purpose gluten-free flour blend & a tsp of xanthan gum. Beautiful when I took it out of the oven. Then it sank down to half the height. Was very moist and tasted awesome tho’. Any suggestions as to why if did that or how to fix it?
Well, baking is a science, Mar, so any time you change the ingredients, you run the risk of those ingredients not behaving exactly like the originals would have. I would suggest googling “Gluten Free Rhuarb Cake” to find a recipe that will suit you and turn out exactly the way it should. 🙂
I made this glutenfree. The trick i find with GF baking when you substitute GF flour in a regular recipe is that it needs significantly longer baking time. I don’t think the GF flour allows the moisture to evaporate or absorb the same as regular flour. I think I added an extra 15 minutes, checking the cake every 5 minutes to see if a toothpick (or skewer) comes our clean. My GF flour mix is 2/3 c. Rice flour, 1/2 c. Tapioca starch, 1/3 c. Cornstarch, 3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
This isa delicious cake and I have made it several times. A KEEPER
Good to know, Linda! My son had to go gluten free a few months ago, and we’re not sure when we’ll be able to re-introduce it to his diet. I’m happy to know I can modify this recipe for him! Thank you!
This cake was a hit, thanks. Any experience using frozen rhubarb?
Made this with frozen rhubarb that I thawed completely before adding to the batter. Worked perfect… Got lots of compliments on this yummy cake.
Good to know you had great success using frozen/thawed Rhubarb, Vi! Thanks for letting us know!
I used rhubarb I had frozen up and rinsed it under hot water and drained it. It worked perfectly!
Oh! Great to know, Andrea!
Your Rhubarb cake is to die for!! My husband and I have had 2 slices already. Very moist and the topping is great! We moved into this house about 10 years ago and the plant was already here, it took me till just last year to try recipes with the fresh cut Rhubarb, never thought I would like it but it is so….good! I will be making this cake quite often. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.
Yay! I’m so glad you love it, Tracey! It’s one of my favourites too. And I’m so glad you’re using your rhubarb! I have an amazing muffin recipe you can try if you have any rhubarb left in your garden. You can find it here: https://happyhooligans.ca/buttermilk-rhubarb-muffins-sugar-crumble/
I made this yes and offered it at he Labo Day Picn, warm right out of the oven! It wasabi hit and so simple to make!
I chose this at random for a quick dish to take to a party. This was a hit! Easy to throw together and so moist. Making another today!
That’s great to hear, Debbie! I’m glad everyone loved it!
Delicious! And really forgiving! I added about 4c of rhubarb (turned out great). I didn’t have milk, so I used 1/2 cream and 1/2 almond milk. I think THAT made it a smooth and luscious batter! My oven accidentally turned off about 1/2 way through, so sorta had to re-bake. Still turned out AMAZING. I have a tradition of making my own birthday cakes, and this is what my elderly mom wanted this year (for MY birthday). She LOVES it!
Oh my! I’m glad to hear that the recipe is so fool-proof, AnnMarie! That’s great to know!! And I’m glad it was such a hit with your mom!
I HAD A RECIPE FOR RHUBARB CAKE AND LOST THE RECIPE,, BEEN LOOKING ALL OVER THE INTERNET FOR ONE. THIS IS JUST LIKE I USED TO MAKE, IT HAD A SUGAR CINNAMON TOPPING. AND IT LOOKS JUST LIKE IT, I FOUND SOME RHUBARB AT THE LOCAL STORE, I CUT IT UP AND PUT 2 CUPS TO EACH BAG AND FROZE IT. YEARS AGO STORE CARRIED FROZEN RHUBARB, HAVEN’T FOUND ANY LIKE THAT. NEED TO GET A CROWN AND PLANT IT IN MY YARD.. WILL MAKE THE CAKE TOMORROW
We loved this quick and easy rhubarb cake. Many thanks. Great for our New Year’s Day breakfast
You’re very welcome, Ana. Glad you loved the cake! Happy New Year to you!
Sherri G. Cherry
I just made this for the first time tonight & my husband & I both LOVED this cake! We ate it while it was still warm & added a spoon of frozen cool whip. Will definitely be making this again. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!! I liked how easy it was to follow your directions & the fact that it included ingredients that I typically have on hand. Oh, & I made mine in a glass dish & I decided to check it early & it was done 7 minutes earlier (assuming because of the glass dish?
Oh good! I’m so happy you guys loved it, Sherri! And I’m really glad you found the recipe so easy to follow! You need to try my rhubarb muffins too! They’re soooo good!
This is the first rhubarb cake I have made and it is fabulous! My only mistake is that I always cut down the amount of sugar that cake recipes suggest as I don’t like sweet cakes. Mistake this time! I totally forgot, of course, that rhubarb can be really tart. Even so, it’s a gorgeous cake and the cinamon and sugar topping adds a yummy crunch. Next time I’ll try putting some orange zest with it, not that it needs it. Thanks so much for posting the recipe – much appreciated here in Bavaria!! Stay well… x
Wonderful! I’m glad you loved it even though you cut back on the sugar. Adding orange zest is a great idea! I may try that myself!
Can this cake be frozen?
I haven’t frozen mine (it never lasts long enough!), but I did some Googling, and it looks like other rhubarb cakes can be frozen. If you’re worried, try freezing just one slice of it and thawing it the next day to see how it goes.
Delicious! I made this recipe today and it definitely is a keeper! I had to make some slight changes since I only had 1 3/4 c. chopped fresh rhubarb on hand. I ended up adding 3/4 c. chopped/mashed frozen strawberries. (I microwaved the frozen strawberries in a separate glass bowl until they were mostly thawed & used a potato masher to mash them up.) I also added 2 Tbsp. extra flour to the batter since the frozen strawberries were a little runny and about 1 Tbsp. more of brown sugar. Either way, with or without the strawberries, the cake tasted so yummy and I love the rhubarb flavor!
I don’t usually leave comments but this cake was so easy and so delicious I had to let you know. I don’t even like rhubarb. My father loves rhubarb and our neighbor has a big patch that they are always willing to share. We planted some plants last year that someone had thrown out and I was able to use some of that also. But, the cake was easy to stir together, came out beautifully and tastes delicious-so moist-will make again. My new favorite-for home and for potlucks (if we ever get to have those again).. Have you tried it with different fruit-apples, pineapple, etc?
This recipe is so delicious!! My picky grandson ate 3 pieces with vanilla ice-cream. I will make this every rhubarb season.
Super easy to make! I didn’t have quite enough rhubarb so added some strawberries.
Great idea, Marla! Why haven’t I ever thought of doing that?!
What about putting footed leotards on under the jammies?
Hi Jackie ! I have a rhubarb patch that l’ve been trying to keep ahead of . I’ve been making muffins and cakes . This recipe sounds really good and l was wondering if l could cut the ingredients in half and bake in a 8″ x 8″ pan .
There might not be quite enough batter to fill an 8×8 to the required level (approx 2/3 full). What if you were to make the 9×13 amount and just use any extra to make a few muffins?
Good recipe. I made this dairy-free by replacing the butter with a 4-oz container of unsweetened applesauce and 1 TBSP oil, and used Silk Vanilla soy in place of the milk. Reduced baking time by 10 minutes. I also used 1/2 white sugar and 1/2 brown sugar on the top just for personal preference. It made a nice little crunchy crust on the edges. Those got gobbled up right away. I also increased the rhubarb to 3 cups because I had already cut it. Really delicious and moist cake!
My 20 year old has just gone dairy free! Good to know I can modify the recipe successfully for him!
I added 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom because a friend added cardamom and it was amazing!
I would’ve never thought to add cardamom! I may have to try that!
Made this today and I used frozen rhubarb. It was absolutely delicious and everybody in the family loved it. Definitely a winner!
Yay! I’m so glad everyone loved it. Thanks for the wonderful review, Mayang!
like it, will make it this weekend!!!
This sounds like the rhubarb cake recipe I’ve been looking for! Since I have to purchase or be gifted rhubarb stalks I don’t want to mess it up…I’m wondering if the sugars and butter must be creamed by hand or if a hand blender can also be used?
Either way will work, Kelly. Enjoy!
First time baking with rhubarb. Glad I picked this recipe.. I was wondering how the cake would be if I froze some slices.
Would the slices become soggy after thawing?
I’ve used frozen thawed rhubarb, Laurie. Just let it drain before adding it to the batter. It should work beautifully.
I made this recipe using an all-purpose gluten-free flour, which is a cup for cup substitute and it is so good! The only problem I had was a little too done around the edges. Could have been the dark pan or the spray I used? No complaints here! Will definitely be making it again!
It might have been the spray, Sue. I’ve found that I get darker edges when I spray than when I use butter/flour.
Has anyone ever tried substituting maple syrup for some of the sugar?
Delicious and easy! My 4- year old loved helping me make this cake. I subbed unsweetened vanilla almond milk for the milk and it worked great.
Super! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and that your little one enjoyed helping! I love baking with kids.
Wondering why there is no baking powder just baking soda ?
With some cakes, if one of the ingredients will help the milk ferment, baking powder is not required. I’m guessing the rhubarb is the ingredient that does that in this recipe.
Got this cooking at the moment. Jumped straight to recipe and it said add the topping before baking, which I did, but looking at the picture I think it should be added after, so got my fingers crossed that it will turn out OK
You did it correctly, Rita, so I hope you found it delicious.
Like the name says, fast, easy, great recipe. You can whip this up in no time and it’s really delicious. Wouldn’t change a thing.
Thanks for your praise, Suzanne! I’m glad you enjoyed it!
I made this delicious cake the other day and absolutely love it!!!! I did not even have the correct ingredients. I did not have a full cup of milk, so used 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup almond milk. Did not sift the flour and used frozen rhubarb, defrosted. Did not matter- was great. It was especially good warm but good even cold and very very moist. Totally recommend and would make again.
Wow! I’m so glad it turned out perfectly for you. I’ve used frozen rhubarb successfully too, and I often sub in with almond milk, soy milk, oat milk etc. when I’m baking. I’m glad you enjoyed our cake!
I made it in a convection oven at 25 degrees lower and it was done in 25 minutes!
WOW! I love this cake. Followed recipe exactly. Cake is moist and delicious and i will make again.
Fabulous! I’m so glad you loved it!
Absolutely love this recipe. It has changed many minds about liking rhubarb. Great to take to picnics.
Wow! What a wonderful compliment, Jennie! I’m so glad you loved the cake. It’s a favourite here as well.
Wonderful to hear, Carol! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
Hi. Has anyone made without the topping? We hav3 some fabulous rhubarb purée we want to put over it at time if serving. Thank you in advance.
I’m sure it would be lovely with rhubarb sauce instead of the sugar topping, Etta. You could aways do both too!
This looks so good! What a perfect way to use up some rhubarb without making it overly sweet!
Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long ?
It will keep for a few days, but ours never lasts that long. Ha!
Just made your cake, so delicious. Thank you for this lovely recipe!
This cake is excellent! I’m going to make it multiple times. If I don’t have rhubarb, I will use frozen, thawed berries. One of the best cakes I’ve made.
This cake is sooo good! We all had two pieces each.
There will not be any lunch served in this house today.
Sometimes, you just have to “eat the cake”. Thanks for
the great recipe.
Easy and yummy. Not over sweet like so many rhubarb recipes.
Do you peel the rhubarb or leave the skin on? Some of my rhubarb looks a little more green…please advise.
No need to peel the rhubarb, and mine is often quite green. Go for it! It will be delicious!
This cake is wonderful. Not to sweet and very light. Im so glad i found it. I will definitely make it again!
Reallybenjoyed this recipe I’ve made it twice. I did add nutmeg to the batter it’s a spice I think really hoes with rhubarb.. 9nly other change was using a 1/2c sweetener and 3/4c brown sugar in the batter and 1/4c sugar with the 1 tsp of cinnamon. I have sugar sensive family members. It’s turned out perfectly and thoroughly enjoyed. A keeper.
My whole family loves this. It has become a staple at family reunions since I use my Grandma’s rhubarb.
This was so delicious and reminded me of the one my mom made when we were growing up.
Have made this twice now upon request by my husband. Very good and love the sugar and cinnamon on top, nice and crunchy.
Best rhubarb cake! Easy to make