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Crumbly Rhubarb Cake

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  • Author: Sarah Schiffman, adapted from The New York Times
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This cake kicks butt. It’s pretty much spring on a dessert plate, and if you are swooning right now, you’d be correct.



rhubarb filling:

  • 1/2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed (about 2 stalks)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise with a paring knife and seeds scraped out

for the crumbs:

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 3/4 cup cake flour

for the cake:

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • (or one more vanilla bean)
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Slice the rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with the orange zest, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla bean seeds. Set aside.
  2. Next, make the crumbs. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter until the mixture is smooth. Stir in flour. It will look like a solid dough.
  3. To prepare the cake, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment: mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until the flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two more batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Separate out 1/2 cup of batter and set aside.
  4. Scrape the remaining batter into prepared baking dish. Spoon rhubarb over the batter and dollop previously set-aside batter over rhubarb. This doesn’t need to be even.
  5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size and spread over cake. Bake for around 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool before serving.
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
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