Last year around this time, I was four months into studying LSAT full time while taking care of an infant. We were two months into the pandemic. I remembered those hard days and how going to the grocery store felt like a vacation. And I wrote this post “When there’s rhubarb, there’s hope” to cheer myself up when I saw rhubarb in the grocery store. What a year.
I’m so grateful now we’re fully vaccinated. To celebrate and to mark an ending for this unusual year, we took a mini road trip to Whidbey Island with little croissant. Oh boy. Does it feel good to travel, to eat in a restaurant, and to explore. I created a series of stories to recap the trip to Whidbey Island so if you’re interested, be sure to follow me on Instagram and see the saved highlights.
You’ll see in my last Instagram story I showed you the souvenir I brought back is local rhubarb from a farm stand If you know me and know my love for rhubarbs, you’ll not be surprised. But also, what a coincidence. An unusual year starts and ends with rhubarbs.
As soon as I got back home, I started to plan what should I bake with these precious rhubarbs. I wanted a good coffee cake with chunks and chunks of rhubarbs hiding inside. Unhappy with what Google shows me about rhubarb coffee cake, I decided to make my own.
King Arthur Baking’s blueberry buckle recipe is the coffee cake recipe in my back pocket. So I used it as the base of this Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffee Cake. I like how it only calls for half stick of butter for the cake batter, which results in a moist but not oily or heavy kind of coffee cake. It’s light enough to be breakfast but sweet enough to pair with black coffee and pick you up in the afternoon. The streusel topping creates some beautiful big crumbs, which we all know that’s what we actually want for coffee cakes. You do not need sour cream, buttermilk or any kind of special dairy. As long as you have butter, egg and milk in your fridge, you can make this Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffee Cake.
I did not skimp on rhubarb too. Full 2 cups of rhubarb will make every bite a perfect bite (AKA rhubarb in every bite!). The tartness and brightness from rhubarb pair so so well with the warm, sweet and cinnamony big crumb on top and the buttery cake. This Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffee Cake is the perfect coffee cake for spring.
I have instructions below on how to prep everything and bake the coffee cake in the next morning, if a warm coffee cake is your thing. I actually like it cold and enjoyed mine for three mornings. The cake didn’t dry out and stayed soft and amazing for at least 4 days. So it’s also an ideal coffee cake to bake on a Sunday and you’ll thank yourself in the next few mornings.
Happy spring my friends. Until next time, eat more Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffee Cake and stay well! 🌸
Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffee Cake
Yield: a tall 8″ cake or a shallower 9″ cake
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Baking
1. 1/3 cup (67g) sugar
2. 1/2 cup (57g) All-Purpose Flour
3. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
4. 1/8 teaspoon salt
5. 4 tablespoons (57g) butter, at room temperature
1. 2 cups (241g) All-Purpose Flour
2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
4. 3/4 cup (149g) sugar
5. tablespoons (57g) butter, softened
6. 1 large egg, at room temperature
7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8. 1/2 cup (113g) milk, at room temperature
9. 2 cups (283g) fresh or frozen chopped rhubarbs
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8″ square, 9″ square, or 9″ round cake pan.
2. To make the crumb topping: Mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Cut or rub in the butter with the side of a fork or your fingertips until it reaches a crumbly state. Set aside.
3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla.
4. Alternately add the milk and the flour mixture to the sugar/butter mixture, ending with flour. Add rhubarbs. Stir only enough to blend.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the batter. Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Remove the cake from the oven, and set it on a rack to cool completely before removing it from the pan. If you like a warm coffee cake, serve it right from the pan about 10 minutes out of the oven.
1. I used a stand mixer to beat together the sugar, butter, egg and vanilla. You certainly don’t have to. Just be sure to whisk them thoroughly for 2 minutes. The mixture should be pale and lightweight.
2. If you are not sure how to transfer the cake to a serving plate, here’s how: Loosen the sides with a knife or spatula. Holding the pan in your left hand, gently tip the cake out onto your right hand, remove the pan, and gently right the cake onto a serving dish.
3. This coffee cake tastes the best in the first two days, but it will stay moist if it’s kept in an air-tight container for 4 days. If you didn’t finish it in two days, keep it in the fridge.