This rhubarb crumble breakfast cake is part tart, part sweet, and entirely delicious. With oats, yogurt, whole wheat flour, and maple syrup, it's practically a healthy breakfast. Though it makes a good snack any time of day and is a quick bake when you've got rhubarb to use up.
A few years ago a generous friend divided up her rhubarb plant and shared some with me to plant in my own garden. Now, each spring I look forward to seeing it sprout back up when warmer weather arrives.
Rhubarb is an interesting fruit (I mean vegetable), but browse just a few recipes you'll notice that people tend to smother it in sugar. Yeah, it has a tart flavor - and yeah, I absolutely hated it as a kid - but with too much sweetness you lose its charm and flavor. So when I cook with rhubarb, and in this rhubarb crumble cake recipe in particular, you'll find that I go easy with the sugar. It may be cake, but it doesn't taste overwhelmingly sweet.
For some more of my rhubarb recipes, check out this ginger rhubarb gin cocktail, cherry rhubarb pie, and maybe a rhubarb apple chutney. And for another cake that's a bit less sweet, you might like this date carrot cake.
- Rhubarb is the star of the cake, and when it bakes, it creates pockets of tart jamminess.
- Rolled oats add some texture and fiber to this cake and is one of the reasons why this cake works well as a breakfast and not just a dessert
- Whole wheat flour adds more nutritional value. If you only have all-purpose flour, that works too. Use an equal amount.
- Ginger makes a great pairing with rhubarb.
- Greek yogurt helps keep the cake super moist. Don't substitute regular yogurt, it's too runny.
- Maple syrup is the sweetener I use instead of refined white sugar. Not only is it a better choice, but it also helps to keep the sweetness dialed in.
- Brown sugar adds some more sweetness and helps create that crumbly texture of the topping.
See the recipe card below for all the ingredients and quantities.
It's time to make rhubarb crumble breakfast cake!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Pour the wet into the dry and use a spatula to gently combine until completely blended.
Spread the batter into a greased baking dish.
Sprinkle the crumble over the cake batter.
Bake the rhubarb crumb cake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until cooked through.
In a second bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
Add the chopped rhubarb and fold it into the batter.
In a bowl, combine the crumble ingredients until you have crumbs.
Don't skimp with those crumbles!
Serve the cake warm with extra brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans.
- Make sure to use cold butter when making the crumble topping so that it retains some of its texture when baking.
- This is a very wet cake batter. Because of that, the crumb topping may dissolve into the batter and not be quite as crumbly. That's why I set aside some of the brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pecans to sprinkle over the cake after baking to assure there is still some crunch.
🍓Substitutions and Variations
Wheat flour - If you only have all-purpose flour, that's fine. You can also use part whole wheat and part all-purpose flour.
Yogurt - Sour cream also would work in place of yogurt.
Maple syrup - I've only made this recipe with maple syrup, so I can't say how the cake will turn out if you use granulated sugar instead.
Strawberry rhubarb - You can substitute half of the rhubarb for sliced strawberries if you're a fan of the classic strawberry rhubarb combo.
Dessert - If serving for dessert instead of breakfast, you can sweeten things up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream served over a warm slice of the cake.
Since it's such a moist cake, I suggest storing it in the fridge rather than at room temperature.
Frozen rhubarb would work fine here. Just proceed with the recipe as written.
Rhubarb has a refreshingly tart or sour taste. On it's own, it's probably not that tasty, but in a cake with a bit of sugar, it's well-balanced. It tends to melt down in cooking and in this cake, it creates these pockets of gooeyness that I think you'll enjoy.
No, there's no need to peel your rhubarb. Just chop it into bite-sized chunks and it'll cook down in the oven.