Rhubarb Cake with Crystallized Ginger Crumb

Remember when my backyard rhubarb was barely poking its head up through the ground?  I was happy to see the first signs of spring, sure, and new life unfurling is always inspiring, yada yada, but really?  I was excited because I was already thinking about this cake.

It’s sweet and light, with barely-tart shards of rhubarb nestled in every bite.  It’s topped with a crystallized ginger crumb that gives it a bit of a coffee cake appearance, which lets you get away with serving it for breakfast.  (I’ve never understood why topping a sugary cake with MORE sugar makes it into breakfast fare, but I’m not complaining.)  It’s a family favorite.

This recipe comes from Rustic Fruit Desserts, a book by Portland baker Julie Richardson and chef Cory Schreiber.  If you don’t have it already, you might want to run out and get it right now.  I know I’ll be using my copy all summer.Rhubarb Cake with Crystalized Ginger Crumb: Make the crumb first by mixing 1/3 c. sugar, 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, 1/4 c. finely chopped candied ginger, and 2 Tb. melted butter.  Place in the freezer while you make the rest of the cake.  Thinly slice 1 lb. rhubarb and set aside.  Cream 3/4 c. room-temperature butter with 1 c. sugar on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light and creamy, then add 2 room-temperature eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each.  Meanwhile, whisk 1 3/4 c. flour with 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. dried ginger, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Add these dry ingredients and 3/4 c. room-temperature buttermilk to the butter/sugar/eggs as follows: mix on low speed while alternating additions of the dry ingredients in three parts and the buttermilk in two parts (so you start and end with the dry ingredients).  Fold in the sliced rhubarb.  Scoop into a buttered pan (I usually use a 7×11″ rectangular pan, but this photo shows a cake made in a 9″ springform pan), top with ginger crumb, and bake at 350 until the cake is lightly golden and firm on top.  This takes 45-50 minutes in my 7×11 pan, but nearly an hour in the 9″ round pan (and in the round pan I had to cover the edges with tinfoil to keep them from darkening too much for the last 10 minutes).


24 thoughts on “Rhubarb Cake with Crystallized Ginger Crumb

    1. emmycooks Post author

      I have been busy! This was a cake I volunteered to make for a fundraiser for my daughter’s school–so of course I had to make one for us as well, and then the next day I had to visit the neighbors to hand out the remains of it so I would stop eating cake. Busy! :)

    1. emmycooks Post author

      Good question! It’s worth tracking it down for this cake. It grows like a weed in Seattle, which doesn’t quite make up for the fact that I will never be able to ripen a full-sized tomato in my garden. :)

  1. Mercer Mom

    I’ll be making this soon. I started Rhubarb Season 2012 with the NYT’s rhubarb caramel sauce. This seems like a good second act. By the way, I tried the kale salad rubbed with salt. Revelatory! I had tried the raw kale salad at Skillet, and felt like I was being held prisoner at a raw foodist restaurant. Interesting, but wouldn’t it be a nicer salad if the kale weren’t raw? The salt rub gets me over that hurdle. Thanks

    1. emmycooks Post author

      Dear Mercer Mom, You are so daring! I am too scared to make anything with “caramel” in the name. But maybe we could arrange an exchange (or potluck!) of rhubarb treats? Because that SOUNDS pretty darn good. I’m glad you liked the salty kale salad but sorry that you didn’t like the one at Skillet, I LOVE IT. I guess you’ll have to make do with the bacon jam burger (?!) instead. xo, emmycooks

  2. Amy

    Lovely, I’m always looking for new rhubarb recipes that don’t get mixed up with either strawberries or raspberries. And as luck would have it I have some crystallized ginger to use up! I’m bookmarking this one, thanks for it!

  3. Karista

    Love the crystallized ginger in this recipe! Emmy this looks completely delicious, and a great use of all our Northwest spring rhubarb. :)


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