You’re going to love this Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake recipe … it comes straight from my grandmother’s cookbook and is so delicious and easy to make!
This post contains affiliate links. This recipe was originally published on June 27, 2016. Last updated on April 24, 2019
My sister and I live in different states. We both love to cook, so when we get together there’s almost nothing I enjoy more than spending a little time in the kitchen.
On one visit a couple years ago, she pulled out my grandma’s cookbook. I love flipping through the pages of this cookbook. Some of the recipes are family favorites and others I’ve never tried.
Almost none of the recipes have instructions, which can make preparing them a challenge!
Like many Wisconsinites do, my sister has a large rhubarb plant in her yard. So on this visit, we decided to make the Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake. It was delicious and has been a family favorite recipe ever since, and I just know you’re going to love it as much as I do!
Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake
I don’t remember my grandmother ever making this cake, but I wish I did. If you are searching for Rhubarb Cake recipes, you have to try this one … it’s the BEST!
This simple Rhubarb Cake has a really tender, moist crumb. And between the crunchy topping and bites of tangy rhubarb, it’s hard to stop at one piece. I loved this Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake so much, that I made it for my husband as soon as I returned home from visiting my sister!
If you’ve never had rhubarb before, this cake is a good place to start.
Rhubarb grows low to the ground and has red stalks and large leaves. Only the stalks are edible, and they need to be cooked to bring out their delicious flavor. Because it’s tart, rhubarb is often combined with strawberries and other sweet fruits.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a rural area, you may have a rhubarb plant in your backyard. It seems like every home had one where I grew up in Wisconsin. But if you live in the city like me, check the local farmers market or find a store with a big produce section. It’s only available in spring and early summer.
How to Make Rhubarb Cake
This Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake is so easy to make.
You’ll start by making the topping, a combination of sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (I like to use pecans or walnuts). Mix everything together, then set it aside.
Next, you’ll prepare the cake itself … I prefer to use my stand mixer for this, but it can be done by hand, too. Cream together the butter and sugar, then mix in the egg. Combine the baking soda and buttermilk, then mix it in, along with the salt. Add the flour next. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little weird … it won’t be perfectly smooth.
Stir in the chopped rhubarb, then spread the batter in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle the cake with the topping, then bake.
Once you cake has cooled, it’s time to eat!
This Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake recipe is delicious on its own, but I think it’s even better with a little whipped cream or ice cream. So I recommend splurging a little.
However, you serve it, this is a yummy rhubarb dessert that your family will look forward to enjoying every spring!
This Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake is a delicious treat, and the recipe comes straight from my grandmother's cookbook!
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 cup chopped nuts (I prefer pecans or walnuts.)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups + 1 tablespoon flour
- 3 cups chopped rhubarb
- whipped cream, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Combine sugar, cinnamon, and nuts in a small bowl. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together using a mixer.
Add the egg and blend well.
Combine baking soda and buttermilk.
Add milk to butter mixture, along with salt. Mix well.
Add flour to milk/butter mixture in two batches, mixing until well blended. (It won't be perfectly smooth.)
Fold rhubarb into batter with a spatula.
Spread batter in prepared pan.
Sprinkle topping evenly over cake.
Bake cake 35 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cake cool completely before eating.
Serve cake topped with whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!
If you are like me, you probably don't use a lot of buttermilk. Here's an easy substitute: combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar with enough milk to make 1 cup. Let sit for 5 minutes before using in recipe.
Love this Rhubarb Cake Recipe?
If you enjoyed this easy rhubarb dessert, then you’ll love these sweet treats, too!
- Strawberry Banana Bread
- Mini Funfetti Cakes
- White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie Cake
- Mini Ombre Cakes
- Strawberry Ice Cream Cake
Looking for more classic recipes? You can find all of my family’s favorite recipes here! You’ll find everything from my mom’s Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Cherry Tarts to my dad’s Classic Bread Stuffing, plus other faves like Poppy Seed Kiss Cookies and Mini Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cupcakes … and so much more!
Do you have any recipes that have been handed down through your family?