Rhubarb Cake

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July 19, 2011 by Flora Dawn

A couple of years ago I bought a share through a local Community Supported Agriculture farm, and after receiving what seemed like more than my share of rhubarb week after week, my family was not laughing. I know rhubarb is up there with zucchini for gardening jokes, and isn’t always a welcome addition to the family menu. However, it really can taste great.

It appears that rhubarb is a forgotten vegetable in modern cookbooks, but if you look back through our grandparents recipes, or Amish cookbooks, rhubarb recipes are plenty. It’s got quite a few practical uses, from preserves to pies; however, my favorite way to use up rhubarb is cake.

This particular recipe is based on a childhood favorites shared by a family friend who happened to be a wonderful cook. Of course, I had to improvise and come up with a gluten-free version, but I believe it is just as good as the original. It’s moist, flavorful, and might even convert some rhubarb-haters out there. It has a nice cinnamon-sugar topping, and quite a bit of sugar in the cake itself, so it balances out the tartness of the rhubarb nicely, without being overly sweet. And personally, I love cakes that have a crumb topping, as there is no need to hassle with frosting (although whipped cream might be nice).

I am not sure if there is any truth to this, but I have always been told that the pink and red rhubarb is sweeter than the green, and the smaller the stalks the better texture-wise. So, I always try to get the thin, red stalks for baking. It’s going to depend on the size of your rhubarb, but I used 3 stalks to get the 2 cups diced needed for this recipe. But if you end up with a little more or a little less rhubarb, the cake will still turn out.

Since this cake is super moist, it doesn’t crumble or dry out quickly the way most gluten-free deserts do. However, at our house it doesn’t really last too long anyway.

And although I use buttermilk and butter, I would imagine non-dairy substitutes would work equally well here.

So, next time a co-worker or neighbor offers you rhubarb, don’t hesitate, share in the bounty and bake yourself up a delicious cake. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Rhubarb Cake

No need for a stand mixer, I just use a large bowl and wooden spoon.


  • 1 1/2 cups white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups diced rhubarb


  • 1/2 cup sugar (brown or white)
  • 1 TB melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9×13 pan with oil or butter.
  2. For cake: in a large bowl combine rice flours, cornstarch, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Add the applesauce, oil, buttermilk and vanilla and stir  to mix thoroughly. Add rhubarb and stir to combine. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. In a small bowl combine the topping ingredients and blend with a fork or your fingers and spread over cake batter (it won’t completely cover it, just try to sprinkle it so that each piece will get some of the mixture).
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until center of cake tests done. Allow to cool before serving (although I like it warm too).




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