Rhubarb Coffee Cake (Gluten Free & Regular)

Loaded with spices and buttery cinnamon streusel, this Rhubarb Coffee Cake has the perfect amount of tartness and balance from fresh rhubarb and is a wonderful treat for any time of day.

I can't explain just how much I truly love coffee cake, and no matter what time of day it is - breakfast, lunch, snack time, dessert, or even midnight snack - coffee cake is a perfect treat. 

Sour cream makes this coffee cake ridiculously moist and tender, without making it heavy or too sweet. Sometimes, If I don't have sour cream in my refrigerator, I will swap it for blended cottage cheese. It adds extra protein, and no one can tell a difference. 

With this cake being about about half streusel, you'll never miss out on that sweet, spiced goodness. It truly is the best part. However, that ripple of rhubarb is fantastic and adds so much freshness and flavor.

I love simple cake recipes that I can whip together when friends are coming over, and I know that everyone will love. This is also a great treat to take to work to share with your co-workers, as well. This is so fast and easy, plus you'll absolutely never know that it's gluten free - if you choose to make it gluten free. 

However, if you're not in need of making a gluten free recipe - the recipe has a very simple swap for making this regular. Easy peasy!

How to Prepare Rhubarb:

Rhubarb is such a fun and unique vegetable that we treat as a fruit, really. It looks very similar to a reddish-pink celery. However, they taste nothing alike. 

When rhubarb is raw, it is very tart and slightly bitter, but once cooked and a little sugar is added - rhubarb becomes sweet and almost berry-like. That's why it is usually paired with berries in other desserts.

No peeling is required, and it's treated like you would celery. Wash the rhubarb stalks really well, cut any leaves off (if any remain, these are not meant to be eaten), and trim both ends. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces and that's it! Super easy prep, and that's all there is to it.

Keep in mind that rhubarb is in season during the spring and summer, so that is when this recipe is best. This vegetable is often found at larger grocery stores or supermarkets that carry a larger selection of produce, and a lot of farmers' markets will carry rhubarb, as well. It is worth the hunt for rhubarb - I can guarantee you that much. 

For another rhubarb recipe to try - check out my Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. It's so delicious, fruity, sweet, tart, and balanced. It's a real treat.


Ingredients You'll Need for Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake with Rhubarb

Rhubarb Filling:

- Rhubarb, fresh

- Granulated Sugar

- Vanilla

Streusel Ingredients:

- Flour: Brown Rice Flour, or All Purpose Flour

- Brown Sugar

- Cinnamon, ground

- Nutmeg, ground

- Salt

- Butter, melted

Cake Batter Ingredients:

- Butter, softened

- Granulated Sugar

- Eggs

- Vanilla Extract

- Flour: Brown Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, AND Potato Starch - OR, All Purpose Flour for non-gluten free

- Baking Powder

- Cinnamon, ground

- Cardamom, ground

- Salt

- Sour Cream, Blended Cottage Cheese, or Plain Greek Yogurt

How to Make Fresh Rhubarb Coffee Cake:

1. Wash and dice up the rhubarb. Combine in a saucepan with sugar and vanilla. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is very tender. Once tender, remove from the heat and let cool. While cooking the rhubarb into a compote, begin working on the coffee cake streusel and batter.

2. Grease a 10-inch baking dish and line with parchment paper. I always use parchment paper for easy removal and cutting later on. 

3. Combine the ingredients for the cinnamon streusel in a medium bowl and stir together with a fork until clumps form. Set aside as you prepare the coffee cake batter.

4. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy - for about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.

5. Add in the flour(s)- if doing gluten free, if not, just all purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt and stir to combine. But, don't over mix.

6. Mix in the sour cream and stir until just combined. Add about half of the batter in the greased and lined baking dish - spreading to cover the bottom of the pan.

7. Add the rhubarb compote to a fine mesh strainer to remove all of the excess liquid. Let drain until all that is left is the fruit pulp. Spread the rhubarb compote evenly over the cake batter in the baking dish and sprinkle half of the streusel over the rhubarb.

8. Add the remaining coffee cake batter, spreading evenly, and top off with the rest of the streusel. Bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly.

9. Let the cake cool completely before removing the parchment and cake from the pan and cutting. Enjoy! Store the leftover slices in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

This cake freezes very well. Wrap the slices tightly in an airtight container or plastic wrap and freeze for 3-4 months. Thaw at room temperature and reheat in the microwave. Enjoy!

Pro Tip: Let the cake cool entirely before removing the cake from the pan (by the parchment paper), otherwise you'll have a mountain of warm coffee cake crumbles.

Why Strain the Cooked Rhubarb?

The reason we strain the excess liquid out of the rhubarb compote is that when we simmer the fruit, it releases a lot of moisture. So, if we cook all of that extra juice in with the coffee cake - we'll end up with a pretty soggy coffee cake. 

and, if we stir in and cook chopped, fresh rhubarb with the coffee cake batter - it will release all of that juice inside the coffee cake, just the same. 

So, not only would it take the coffee cake longer to cook, but it would be soggier than it should be, and no one wants that.

The photo above is what the compote looks like before we strain it - right after cooking it, and the photo below is what it looks like right after we finish straining it. We are left with mainly fruit pulp, not excess juice. Yay!

How to Store Rhubarb Coffee Cake:

If it will be eaten within 1 day, it can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

However, if you'll be snacking on it for longer - store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days.

This cake is also great frozen and can be stored in the freezer for 3-4 months when wrapped well. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or in an airtight container. I, personally, like to individually wrap pieces of the coffee cake in plastic wrap and freeze them in a plastic bag for easy thawing and snacking. It doesn't get any easier than that. 


Other Delicious Recipes to Try

Rhubarb is a stellar ingredient, and I will never grow tired of it. This recipe is a fantastic use of it, but if you’re looking for another way to make rhubarb shine… look no further than this  Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. It’s the perfect thing for any occasion, party, or holiday. Rhubarb makes everything better, in my opinion. This crisp is just so fantastic and soooo easy.

And, speaking of crisps, one can never go wrong with this Perfectly Spiced Apple Crisp. It isphenomenal and tastes amazing during any time of the year.

This Perfect Peach Ice Cream is a wonderful way to use up those summer peaches on your kitchen counter. It's light, creamy, refreshing, and sooo delicious.

Morning Glory Muffins are a staple in our home, and I just love how much nutrition is packed into a little cupcake wrapper. Fruits, veggies, nuts, dried fruits, and warm spices all combine together to make this so yummy, and so yummy that even most kids love these. too.

As a fruit lover, I've gotta mention this Strawberry Chili Jam. It's to die for. With only the perfect amount of spice, it works with so many things and can be used in so many ways. It's perfect, and I absolutely adore it. I competed with this recipe on Food Network, and that just proves how killer or a recipe it is. 

Well, this fresh Blueberry Buttercream is a great choice and so easy to make. It's fast, simple, light, buttery, and sooo creamy. It's perfect on any cupcake, cake, brownie, or other dessert. However, its dang good on THIS pistachio cupcake, or lemon, coconut, or almond cake. Gracious. I'm hungry now.

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1 comment

  1. We're kindred spirits with coffee cake. I could happily eat it all day long. This rhubarb variation sounds fantastic, Hannah!