Rhubarb Cake is a soft, moist, and flavorful cake full of diced rhubarb and topped with granulated sugar that is simple to make and a dessert everyone will love! If you love baking with rhubarb, be sure to try my Rhubarb Bars next!

Rhubarb Cake in Pan

Rhubarb Cake

This Rhubarb Cake recipe was a recipe given to me by my friend, Elizabeth (who also gave me this Swedish Meatballs recipe). It was passed down from her grandmother, who got the recipe from a member of her church circle. It is a simple recipe to make, but it is a cake that never fails and the perfect dessert to make to use up all the rhubarb that grows in abundance around here!

Rhubarb Cake Raw Ingredients

Rhubarb Cake Ingredients

Rhubarb: You will need 3 cups of diced rhubarb in this rhubarb cake recipe. For reference, a pound of rhubarb will yield about 3 cups when diced. You could also use frozen rhubarb.

Buttermilk: The original recipe called for ‘sour milk’, which is just milk with vinegar added. So, I used buttermilk instead. If you don’t have any on hand, make your own buttermilk to use.

Topping: Just some sprinkled granulated sugar is all you need for the topping. It gives each bite a little extra sweetness.

Pieces of Rhubarb Cake on White Plates

Let’s Talk Rhubarb

The experts will recommend “choose stalks that are fresh looking, crisp and blemish free…look for smaller leaves, which is also an indication of a younger stalk. Avoid limp stalks and stalks with split ends.” That’s fine and dandy if you are aiming to be the next Martha Stewart, but not how we do it.

I don’t look for perfection, I don’t mind a few blemishes, and there is nothing wrong with a large leaf or a split end. You cut those off anyway! I’ve used big huge stalks and small stalks. They all add something amazing to whatever dessert you are preparing. All rhubarb is good rhubarb in these parts.

We have not tested this recipe with frozen rhubarb, but you can either let it thaw and drain before adding. Or, simply add the rhubarb frozen.

Piece of Rhubarb Cake with Bite Taken Out

Can I Freeze Rhubarb Cake?

Yes! This is an easy dessert to freeze. And, it will still taste great after it has been frozen. To freeze the cake, double-wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in a freezer-safe container for up to three months. Be sure to label and date the container. 

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4.43 from 7 votes

Rhubarb Cake

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Rhubarb Cake is a soft, moist, and flavorful cake full of diced rhubarb and topped with granulated sugar that is simple to make and a dessert everyone will love!



  • cups (300 g) brown sugar, packed
  • cup (145 g) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup (245 g) buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • cups (312.5 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups rhubarb, diced


  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • To a large mixing bowl, add brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, buttermilk, salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
  • Stir in the flour.
  • Fold in diced rhubarb and pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the sugar over the top of the batter.
  • Bake 45-50 minutes.
  • Let the cake rest for about 30 minutes before cutting and serving. Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping (optional).

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. Can I use coconut oil or applesauce in place of regular oil? Trying to eat healthier but I love all your recipes. Thank you

  2. Really quite delicious. Excellent for breakfast, and seems like it would work really well with other fruits (maybe blueberries, or freeze dried peaches slightly rehydrated).

  3. this cake is horrible! it doesn’t even come close to the look in the photo. there is so much brown sugar … its just a terrible WASTE of time and ingredients

    1. Hi Sharon! I respectfully have to disagree. This recipe has been around for 50+ years (that I know of, probably longer!) and has rave reviews. Literally handed down through generations. The amount of brown sugar is appropriate and normal. Before leaving reviews like this, you may want to look and see if you made it correctly. Maybe even try making it again, and then when you have butter results, come back to let folks know that it is delicious. Thanks!

  4. I’m not sure what happened but I was disappointed. Could be that I made my own buttermilk (I followed the instructions provided to do so). Had an off-flavor. I’m still leaving 4 stars because I think it was the buttermilk but…..

    1. Totally understand this review! Did you use lemon or vinegar? I found that lemon juice works much better for taste quality. Other is to make it to your taste, the milk gives it moisture so if you do not like the buttermilk then either lesson the acid or leave out.

  5. Loved this moist cake. The sugar is right on to sweeten the rhubarb, not too much and using the buttermilk guarantees a smooth moist crumb. I used canola oil which makes for light cake.

  6. This is a delicious cake! Highly recommend making it, and it freezes well, too! With rhubarb season almost over, I’m going to make a few of them, and stick them in the freezer to enjoy later.

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