, , , , , ,

Holy crap, how is summer halfway over already?

I have, like, eight recipes for rhubarb stuff on my delicious (warning: about 80 lemon-related recipes ahead) and rhubarb season is already starting to slip away. Gah.


At least I got this one out of the way.

Sadly, though, procrastination got the better of me and I’m only posting it now . . . about five weeks after making it. This is bad for several reasons.

1) Rhubarb season is slipping away quickly.

2) Now I am craving a piece of this cake and there is none to be had.

OK. Two reasons.

I love crumb cakes. And I love rhubarb. So, really, there was no debate on whether or not I’d be giving this recipe a shot.

Sadly, my crumb topping didn’t turn out quite as nicely. In fact, I had to kind of manipulate the crumb topping into actual “crumbs” (I suspect I needed a little more butter), but it was still delicious. A nice layer of sweetened rhubarb slices through the middle was a good contrast to the cake and sweetened crumble topping.

Normally, I’d meditate more on the failures of this attempt, but, let’s face it, it was cake, with rhubarb, topped in a mixture of sugar and butter. Even if the crumb topping was kind of crummy, it was still going to be fantastic.

Update: I just went back to Smitten Kitchen’s recipe and found that I’m not the only one who had problems with the crumb topping. Apparently, it’s all about the order in which you mix the crumb ingredients… (Instructions below the recipe will outline the correct way.) Yay! Now I’m ready to try this again and hope for much better results.

Sliced rhubarb

Cake pre-crumb

Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffee Cake

This is courtesy of Smitten Kitchen, which she apparently adapted from the New York Times.

‘Big Crumb’ Coffeecake with Rhubarb

Rhubarb filling

  • 1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Crumb topping

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour


  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.

Preheat oven to 325. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan.

Slice the rhubarb into 1/2″ thick pieces, then toss with sugar, ginger and cornstarch.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. THEN, add flour with spatula or wooden spoon. It (should) will look and feel like a solid dough. Set aside.

Stir together sour cream, egg, yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix in butter and a spoonful of the sour cream mixture until flour is moistened. Increase speed for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds each time. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the batter and set aside. Put the rest of the batter into the prepared pan.

Spoon rhubarb mix over the batter, then top with dollops of the 1/2 cup of batter set aside.

Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs — 1/2″ to 3/4″.  Sprinkle over cake.

Bake for between 45 and 55 minutes — until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.