It’s late spring, and with spring comes rhubarb. Alleluia!

The trick with rhubarb is to cook it with sufficient sugar for a short enough time to take the edge off the tartness without making the fruit mushy.

In this recipe, the rhubarb is macerated (making it tender), producing a syrup to infuse the cake (bonus)! The cake is then topped with ginger streusel. Heaven on earth.

The crunchy streusel topping gives way to a buttery, tender cake studded with juicy sour-sweet rhubarb. Yummy!!


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Ginger Rhubarb Coffee Cake

There is nothing like the tart punch of rhubarb enveloped in a tender, buttery cake. Here, the rhubarb is macerated, rendering a sweet-tart syrup to infuse the cake, topped with a crunchy ginger streusel. Heaven on earth.



For the Macerated Rhubarb

  • 500 g or 4 c rhubarb, washed and diced into ½” pieces
  • 75 g or 3 oz granulated sugar

For the Streusel

  • 134 g or 2/3 c granulated sugar
  • 120 g or 1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  •  ml or 1½ tsp cinnamon
  •  ml or 1½ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 113 g or 4 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 60 g or ½ c nuts, coarsely chopped (pistachios, pecans, almonds)

For the Cake

  • 360 g or 3 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 15 ml or 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 5 ml or 1 tsp salt
  • 200 g or 1 c granulated sugar
  • 113 g or 4 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 170 g or ¾ c rhubarb juice (from above)
  • 10 ml or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 g or 1 tbsp lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 large egg
  • Diced rhubarb (from above)


Prepare the rhubarb

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the diced rhubarb and sugar.
  2. Pour the mixture into a strainer and place the strainer over a bowl. Let drain for 45 minutes, tossing occasionally; reserve the rhubarb and liquid separately.

Make the streusel

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Using a fork or your fingers, work in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add the nuts.

Make the cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 7″ springform pans or one 9 x 13″ rectangular pan.

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  2. Beat in the butter until the mixture looks sandy (2–3 minutes).*
  3. Mix in the rhubarb juice, vanilla, and lemon zest; beat in the egg. Scrape the bowl and mix again (30 seconds). The batter will be thick.
  4. Stir in the drained rhubarb by hand, mixing until evenly distributed.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan(s) and sprinkle the top(s) with the streusel.
  6. Bake the cake(s) until a paring knife inserted into the centre comes out clean (45–50 minutes). Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before serving.


*This recipe uses the “reverse creaming” method popularized by Rose Levy Beranbaum and included in her 1988 cookbook The Cake BibleRather than beating the sugar and butter (traditional creaming), this method beats the softened butter into the dry ingredients with a little of the recipe’s liquid before the rest are added, producing a cake with an incredibly tender crumb. It’s foolproof.

It’s another winner from King Arthur Baking. They’ve baked it as a 9×13″ coffee cake; I made two 7″ round cakes in springform pans—one to eat now and the other for a hostess gift or to pop in the freezer for unexpected guests. It freezes beautifully.


  • Author: Helen Kain