It's rhubarb season and I'm always looking for new ways to use rhubarb. The latest recipe addition is this Rhubarb Crumb Cake. It's an extra moist New York Style Crumb Cake topped with tart fresh rhubarb - a great combination with the sweet buttery crumb topping.
I love crumb cake and this only the second recipe on the site. The first was my Apple Raspberry Coffee Cake, the one I made for The Great American Baking Show. Since making that cake, I have learned a lot about developing recipes and how different ingredients contribute to this recipe.
This recipe will be the first of many crumb and coffee cake recipes, and I hope you enjoy this one
Rhubarb Crumb Cake Ingredients
The amazing thing about crumb cake is that the crumb layer and the cake layer are about the same height. And the ingredients for the crumb layer and cake layer are identical. I replaced some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour which gives it a slightly nutty flavor and I used brown sugar instead of granulated sugar which gives it a slight molasses taste.
- All-Purpose and Whole Wheat Flour. I replaced part of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour which gives the cake a slightly nutty flavor.
- Ginger, Nutmeg, and Cinnamon. The combination of these spices in the cake and the crumb topping add a delicious kick to the cake.
- Light Brown Sugar. Brown sugar adds a slight molasses flavor to the cake. If you don't have brown sugar you can use regular granulated sugar.
- Buttermilk. Buttermilk contributes to the moisture and tang of the cake. Because I like the tang that buttermilk adds, I don't add baking soda to diminish it.
- Baking Powder. Baking powder helps the cake to rise. For cakes, the general rule is to use 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of flour.
- Eggs. Large eggs are used in this and all my recipes. The eggs weigh approximately 50 grams each, so if you have different size eggs weigh them. You may need more or fewer eggs depending on their size.
- Unsalted Butter. The butter should be room temperature. I use unsalted butter because different brands of butter use different amounts of salt, so it's hard to control the amount of salt.
- Rhubarb. The star of the show. I use 3-4 cups of fresh rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Smaller pieces make it easier to scatter across the cake and ensure that it cooks properly.
What Makes a Great Crumb Cake
Crumb cake is one of my favorite things and I find it hard to resist when I find a bakery that makes a good crumb cake. Here are the things that I think make a great crumb cake.
- The crumb topping is soft, not hard
- The crumb topping and the cake are about equal in height
- The cake is moist and has a tight crumb
- The same ingredients are used in both the crumb and the cake
How to Make Rhubarb Crumb Cake
- Cut the rhubarb into 1/2-inch pieces and make the crumb topping
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ground ginger.
- Cream the brown sugar and the butter. Then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition
- Alternate the addition of the dry ingredients and the buttermilk. The final batter will be thick and creamy.
- Spread the batter into a 13 x 9-inch pan and use an offset spatula to smooth and level out the batter
- Evenly spread the crumb and chopped rhubarb over the top of the batter. Bake the cake at 350°F until the center registers at 202°F, about 40-45 minutes.
This Rhubarb Crumb Cake is everything you could want in a crumb cake. The topping is soft with just the slightest bit of crunch and the cake is dense and moist. If you've never made crumb cake before, give this recipe a try. If you don't have rhubarb, you can make it with blueberries or chopped apples or just make it plain.
Try These Other Rhubarb Recipes
Rhubarb Crumb Cake
For the Crumb Topping
- 2 cups (260 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1-1/2 cups (300 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (170 grams, 12 tablespoons) unsalted butter melted
For the Cake
- 2 cups (260 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (70 grams) whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup (170 grams, 12 tablespoons) unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 (200 grams) large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
- Melt a tablespoon of butter and brush the bottom and sides of a 13x9-inch pan. Line the pan with parchment paper so the paper overhangs the sides of the pan and brush the parchment paper with the remaining butter.
- For topping, melt 12 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan. In a bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. Add the melted butter to the flour mixture and mix together with a spoon until it is crumbly. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- For the cake, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder and ground ginger. Whisk together.
- Place the brown sugar, butter, and vanilla In the bowl of a stand the mixer and beat on medium high until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well combined. Add the vanilla and mix. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until flour is just mixed in. Do not over mix. Add half of the buttermilk, beat until combined. Add half of the remaining flour and mix on low until just combined. Add the remaining buttermilk, mix on low and then add the remaining flour and mix on low until combined. Scrape the bottom and the sides of the bowl and mix on low speed for another 10-20 seconds to make sure everything is well combined.
- Place the batter in the pan and use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly around the pan.
- Evenly spread the crumb and chopped rhubarb over the top of the batter by first spreading half of the rhubarb over the top of the batter, then spread all of the crumb mixture, then the remaining rhubarb.
- Place pan in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. The temperature of the cake in the center should be about 202 degrees F. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Use the parchment sling to remove the cake from the pan.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting and serving.
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