Rhubarb Coffee Cake

I grew up in Montana with a big garden.  In one corner of the garden was a patch of rhubarb.  Honestly, if I wasn’t raised with it, I would have just considered it a big overgrown weed.  I would eat it raw, dipping it into sugar to counteract the bitter taste.  My mom would make rhubarb pie.  Not rhubarb-strawberry pie, but rhubarb pie.  I loved it.  She also make a rhubarb cake that was so moist and delicious but not overly sweet.  I’ve been trying to find the recipe that best captured what she made and haven’t been having a lot of luck.

I did however cobble together a very tasty coffee cake that at least is putting me on the right track.  The batter for this recipe turned out a lot better than I thought it would.  As I mention in the recipe, it is a thick batter, almost scone like in thickness, which had me a bit concerned as to whether it would be light enough to be ‘cakey’.  I was not disappointed.  I’m keeping this basic batter recipe in my back pocket as it obviously could be used with a variety of fruits.  A mixed berry coffee cake with this batter would be extra yummy.


1/2 cup no salt butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
3 cups Rhubarb, chopped

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts


Cream the sugar and butter, add the buttermilk and milk, the vanilla, and egg.  Once that is fully incorporated, add the salt and baking powder before slowly adding the flour.  This batter is going to get quite thick.  Add the rhubarb at the end and mix it in with a wooden spoon.

Spread the mix into a greased 9×13 pan.  Use a greased spatula to spread it evenly. Sprinkle the mix of brown sugar and nuts on top of it.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.   Make sure you have a piece soon after it comes from the oven, it is a delight.

I used 3 cups of chopped rhubarb for this recipe but found that I could have used more, so if you have that extra stalk sitting on your counter, go ahead and add it in.

Published by Sean D. Francis

Sean D. Francis is a technologist, writer, and geek. He podcasts, makes video, and dabbles in all the geeky genres including horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.