Mindy forced me to make Rhubarb Cake

Looking for a way to use up rhubarb?  Other than using its leaves to whack people with? Try this Rhubarb Cake and Coulis. 


Mindy made me make a rhubarb cake.  Mindy’s a reader and she’s an asshead.  Last year at some point when I mentioned rhubarb she told me I had to make a rhubarb cake.  This year I did a post on a Rhubarb Tart and she told me I had to make a rhubarb cake.

So I made a rhubarb cake.

And now I don’t like Mindy because I ate all the Rhubarb Cake and have delusions about making another one and eating all of it too.

It’s Mindy’s fault which is why Mindy’s an asshead. This may or may not affect our future relationship as blogger and reader. It has definitely affected my relationship with my back fat.

So let’s get back to this cake.  Mindy has an old family recipe for Rhubarb Cake and she’s adamant that even if you don’t like rhubarb you’ll like rhubarb cake.  Since I DO like rhubarb the chances of me liking this cake were pretty good.

I started off using her recipe (like I always do) and ended up changing it to suit my tastes (like I always do).  So my recipe is slightly different than hers, plus I added in a Rhubarb Coulis for to get rid of some more of my rhubarb, plus it adds a bit of tartness that I like.

So if you try it you too will be able to have evil thoughts towards Mindy, with the added bonus of also having evil thoughts towards me.

Rhubarb Cake with Rhubarb Coulis

Rhubarb cake is the perfect dessert for anyone who isn't a fan of overly sticky, sweet concoctions. Lightly sweet with a burst if tartness in every bite.
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Course: Dessert
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk I never have buttermilk on hand so just add 1 Tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of regular milk and let it sit for 5 minutes
  • 3 1/2 cups of rhubarb
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • Topping
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats


  • Cream together butter and sugar.
  • Beat in egg and vanilla.
  • Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  • Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
  • Toss your rhubarb with 1 Tbsp of flour and stir into the batter.
  • Pour batter into 9X13 baking pan (or equivalent)
  • Smooth the surface.
  • Mix together melted 1/4 cup of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and rolled oats.
  • Crumble topping over surface of batter.
  • Bake in 350f oven for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs on it.


This cake was a favourite of everyone who came to visit the day or two it was here in my kitchen. It’s a bit crumbly like a coffee cake, is sweet enough to be dessert like but not so sweet it’s sickening. The rhubarb (if you pick nice pink stalks) adds a bit of colour to the cake, and depth to the taste. You get that little shot of tart with every bite.

If we can just be brutally honest here, I think I need to reiterate what an asshead Mindy is.

If you can be bothered, here’s the recipe for the coulis, which you just dot around the plate.  It helps to cut through the sweetness of any dessert.

Rhubarb Coulis

Rhubarb Coulis is the perfect addition to a sweet dessert you want to add a little tart kick to.
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Course: Sauce
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff


  • 250 grams 9 oz rhubarb stalks cut into small cubes
  • 100 grams 3 3/4 oz caster sugar (caster sugar is superfine sugar which dissolves easier)
  • 100 grams 3 3/4 oz water
  • 1 vanilla pod


  • Place the rhubarb, sugar, water and vanilla pod in pot and bring to the boil.
  • Cook until rhubarb is soft enough to easily pierce with a knife tip.
  • Remove vanilla bean.
  • Blend mixture in blender until smooth.
  • Pass the mixture through a fine sieve if needed to make it smooth.

So that’s 3 rhubarb recipes down (Rhubarb Crisp, Rhubarb Tart, Rhubarb Cake) and about a million more to go.  I have two other rhubarb recipes on deck from readers so if you haven’t been called out as an asshead yet, don’t worry.  There’s still another 3 months of rhubarb season left.



  1. Cherie says:

    Yesterday, I made a rhubarb lentil soup. Interested? It is really good, spicy and not your usual lentil soup. Used up some rhubarb and some too large Swiss chard as well as some green lentils.

  2. brenda says:

    I just put my first to do into my 2016 calendar … throw some poo onto the rhubarb patch

  3. dee says:

    Hey Karen: I love the new site, especially this section. I love rhubarb and will definitely be trying this cake. A few years ago I came across a rhubarb site that blew my mind-all the info you’d ever want on growing the stuff, 300 recipes and a whole bunch more. Check it out fellow assheads/asshats et al.: http://www.rhubarbinfo.com/home

  4. JaneWT says:

    I realise that I am somewhat late in this post – however I feel I should declare immediately that I am British and like many of my many of my countrypeople I do like to be rushed into action (unlike the impulsive Canadian and US devotees you have). So I have re read and deliberated carefully and decided that this is the recipe for me – my first one since I started following your delightful blog (about 3 months or so now). Now here is the rub – I carefully copied out the recipe (well copy paste and printed) and, of course, I had realised it was all in cups but I thought it would be a simple task to do a(n) (on-line) conversion. It was then that I found out there were American cups and they differed from Canadian ones……still I decided you MUST be using Canadian. However, in attempt to be thorough I thought I should check and found out there are sites telling you many different quantities – for example 3.5 cups of rhubarb varies from 795 grams to 425 grams and as for flour well ……. anyway I won’t witter on as I am sure you get the picture. I have made decisions and now will have to wait until tomorrow (or maybe Sunday even as the honey from my 2nd hive must be harvested and I may only have tomorrow as the weather is a little hit and miss – there what post from the UK would be complete without a weather mention?!!). So although, as I said, I have made an executive decision on the quantities I shall use – it did take most of the morning and then the afternoon disappeared somewhere too! So with all this procrastination and hand wringing I thought I should send you a plea from your ‘foreign’ followers – especially us English (as I am sure I can’t be your only one….) – more clues please when you give us recipes – I am a ‘bilingual’ cook so ounces or grams or even a pointer to a website that converts (correctly?) would work. I will give you further updates after this cooking adventure on the outcome ….. even if you have no interest at all!!! But I should say thanks for a smashing and entertaining blog and if you have 2 messages from me – as I did type one this morning – opps and sorry – but it disappeared into the ether – if this is the only post you have – I knew that but just felt I should exercise (English) caution……

    PS if you ever need the explanation of when you used British English Great Britain and UK I would be happy to oblige as others I have encountered from across the pond seem befuddled by when you use each term……

    • JaneWT says:

      So I made the cake using my cobbled together weights and measures – and although it is rather tasty – it is NOT the rave I was led to believe it to be. I am inclined to think that is more about my translation and NOT the recipe itself. So all I can do is repeat my plea – when you have a recipe could you please give us a clue as to the proper translation. Pretty please. So having replied to my own post I am off to do the washing.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jane! The measurement differences between American and Canadian cups are so infinitesimal that it doesn’t make a difference. Especially with the rhubarb. Similar recipes are in many cookbooks and some say to use 2 cups of rhubarb and some say 4. It doesn’t make a difference with the cake. As for the flour, just use a cup. A regular measuring cup like everyone has. Use a dry measurements one (not a glass liquid measuring cup). Scoop the flour into the cup, then level it off with a knife. That will give you an accurate cup of flour. I’m sure you did fine with your recipe. My guess is, rhubarb cake just isn’t your thing. :) ~ karen!

  5. Julie says:

    Thank you asshead Mindy! This is really delish! And thank you for posting…really good…

  6. Kae says:

    I am totally bookmarking this page :-) A great post and great replies!

    I like the new word of the day “asshead”. I also like the term’ass hat’. Although I’m not sure what this would actually look like or why it would be offensive. I think an ass hat would look kinda cute, but, then, I’m weird.

    I’m too poorly to do any baking, but all I can think of now is cake. I’m going to have to take my sorry asshead to the local cafe and buy up their stock of goodies.

    I wish all you lovely people a great day and happy baking!

  7. Leslie says:

    I want to join your Rhubarb Asshead Club!!! Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam, with “low/no sugar” pectin (so you only sweeten it as much as you want to and it still jells just right). And yes, you CAN put that into little glass jars and put them in the freezer. Or put it directly into your own mouth. Or save some steps and smear it right on your back fat. As you wish.

    P.S. This works with Blueberries, too!

    • Karen says:

      I’ve never made freezer jam Leslie! I’ve always worried it would be … well … gross. *Maybe* I’ll give it a shot because I have both strawberries AND rhubarb. ~ karen!

      • Leslie says:

        I really like Nancy Baggett’s Kitchenlane recipe, subtitled Spring in Every Jar. I think you’re really going to love this freezer jam!

  8. Kristin Ferguson says:

    I used to make a rhubarb-raspberry cobbler with little currant scones for topping, and served it with a shot glass of clotted cream with vanilla bean. It was my sophisticated, fancy restaurant take on English tea.

  9. Nicole says:

    I am now living in fear that I will be called some nasty names all because I passed on a recipe!! In the good ole days that was called being neighbourly or friendly but I guess now Karen calls it something totally different;) I must say though, I am greatly impressed with the way you made it look like Mindy’s fault that you inhaled a cake and not yourself! I am in awe of what you can teach me! So after saying all that I recommend trying to can Rhubarb pie filling. I do it every year and its fantastic! It is the best on a cold winter’s night to enjoy Rhubarb pie( and it looks great in a jar so it makes a great gift). Now…be nice!

    • Karen says:

      I know what you’re doing here Nicole. You’re trying to get me to call you an asshead. I can see right through your tactics. But not until an actual recipe comes across my desk that I consequently consume at least 5,000 calories from will I call you an asshead. ~ karen!

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  11. Janmarie Ogle says:

    Remember sago? You either like it or not! My mum has this beautiful rhubarb sago recipe( which I,ve copied out to try and make it myself one day) Anyway its done in the microwaeve. 1/2 cup sago and 1 1/2 cups hot water or orange juice……microwave in a covered dish 3-4 minutes till sago granules are clear and dissolved. 1/2 cup sugar 4 cups chopped rhubarb……..stir these in and microwave 3 minutes….stir well ..microwave another 3 minutes until rhubarb is soft and cooked… stand 5 minutes..cool off then chill. I must admit I personally havent made it…my mum always does it its delish…I hope I can do it justice when I attempt it…

  12. Kelli says:

    So Karen, is this the start of the list of “true cakes”?

    Ah rhubarb. My grandparents had a GINORMOUS veggie garden which included rhubarb. My grandma made every possible thing you could imagine with it: jam, topping, pie, cake, lipgloss, lotion… (heh…kidding) you name it. But my favorite way was just raw, cut into chunks, and sprinkled with lots of sugar!

  13. IRS says:

    I don’t grow rhubarb, don’t know where to get it, and will probably never try the Karen/Mindy recipe, but my takeaway from today’s post is the word “asshead”. Never heard that one before, but it will now be inserted into my regular, everyday vocabulary. Thanks Karen! Your blog is the only one I read that contributes to my Swear-Like-A-Sailor repertoire. It’s much appreciated. :D

    • Karol says:

      I’m with you, IRS. I had the same thought about Asshead. I use the word Asswipe, as in “what an Asswipe”, but I think it would be a little more dignified to replace that word with Asshead. (Ha! yes, I’m a dignified curser) Not.

  14. Sakura S. says:

    What on earth is wrong with you people??? I don’t understand your diabolical need to put vegetables in your desserts!!! Next you’ll be telling me, “Ooooo, I have this recipe for celery pie! It’s for people who don’t like their desserts too sweet! You’ll just adore it!” and “OMG! I’ve got a recipe for rutabaga cake! It’s delicious! I know you probably HATE rutabaga, but you’ll LOVE this! I swear it!” It’s just not natural, I tell ya. I think I need a slice of good old chocolate layer cake, stat.

    • Cussot says:

      The first time I ever had avocado, it was in a smooth, sweet pudding. Does that count as a vegetal abomination, Sakura? And thanks for the rhubarb cake recipe, Mindy you evil minx. I actually DO have buttermilk at the moment – all is lost!

    • ronda says:

      ummm … chocolate, from cocoa beans, which come from fruit pods on the cocoa tree … so, basically, fruit cake (?)

  15. sera says:

    I think this is so funny. I have always hated rhubarb until this year when this delectable french bakery opened down the street from my house. They have a really good rhubarb tart and an amazing rhubarb olive oil bundt cake. mmmm. so good.
    I really have to start making olive oil cake. So moist and good!

  16. Wisconsin Gal says:

    OK, I must join this conversation. I do not like rhubarb and IF I make this cake, I will use strawberries. But I now why our rhubarb plant, which was here when we moved in, is growing bigger by the minute – it is located directly next to the compost pile. In fact, compost often lands on top of the rhubarb leaves. It’s in rhubarb heaven!

  17. Shirley says:

    Hi, Karen! I’ve been making this cake for over 40 years, with two big differences:
    1) I use only 1 1/2 cups of chopped rhubarb which I have always found to be sufficient, so I am amazed at your
    3 1/2 cups.
    2) I make a lighter topping of 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (no cinnamon in the cake mix), mixed and
    spread on the cake before baking.
    It is a delicious cake and it tastes even better the second and third days, if it lasts that long!

  18. Sally says:

    I never knew what to call the Rhubarb sauce my gram made, Coulis, good to know! She use to give it to us as a night lunch with a bit of cream poured on top…very yummy!

  19. Ev Wilcox says:

    My mom had a patch of wretched rhubarb in our backyard. I hated the stuff! Still do. Granted, maybe she just didn’t do a good job of making rhubarb pie, etc. But it there were woody, awful fibers in it, and tasted awful! Sure, I should give it another try, but I probably won’t! Give it to the chickens! They prob can’t taste anything anyway. Do they have tongues?

  20. I have a very similar recipe with a sweet butter/sugar sauce instead of the coulis. I currently have two of theses cakes waiting for me in the freezer. Recently I made butter tarts and used chopped rhubarb instead of raisins. OMG. I think I like these best.

  21. Elaine says:

    Drats! Can’t grow rhubarb here on Southern Gulf Coast. Am so jealous of all y’all yankees who have rhubarb!

  22. Barb says:

    This is pretty much the same recipe I use and it is delicious! My husband said he didn’t like rhubarb (or so he thought!) until I baked one of these. My rhubarb is ready to pick so you know what I’ll be doing soon! Thanks for the nudge to get going on this.

  23. Kim says:

    The best bunch of assheads I ever met! The cake looks awesome!

  24. Tigermom says:

    I love rhubarb and the many opportunities it is providing to use the word asshead!

  25. Laurel says:

    And should you need something to cut all that sweetness….rhubarb is technically a vegetable. My family on my husbands side is Polish and my MIL told me once that they used to eat rhubarb and potatoes together. Weird I thought, but once I tried it…and I gotta say…it’s pretty damn yum. So I went searching for a linkable recipe, So , here ya go! Rhubarb Potato gratin! give it a go!

  26. ronda says:

    new reader here! Love all the rants and comments! Found Karen yesterday and spent almost all day catching up!
    Lost my rhubarb … my whole garden actually … to raspberry canes! But rhubarb pie or cake … love them. Almost wish the raspberries hadn’t snuck in and taken over everything now.

    • Nancy S in Winnipeg says:

      My favourite jam – Raspberry Rhubarb! Years after I left home I would still beg my Mom for a jar.
      Time to get a rhubarb back in your garden!

  27. Margaret says:

    Right on This cake will sway any rhubarb hater…..our recipe uses coconut for the topping instead of oatmeal. I want some NOW!!!!!

  28. Ann says:

    I live so far south that it is hard to grow rhubarb. But finally I think I have a winning solution. Just the right spot in the yard and lots and lots and lots of rabbit manure. Rhubarb is a very heavy feeder. So Karen, now you know what to do with some of the compost out of your chicken run. Throw it on that rhubarb and next year you will be making something rhubarb every single day. Which is a good thing.

  29. SK Farm Girl says:

    Mindy I love you! Karen I love you! Have y’all tried rhubarb slush? OMG it is to die for!!! It’s sure to be a hit with Betty!

    • Su says:

      Rhubarb slush???? is there a recipe??

      • SK Farm Girl says:

        Yup, there sure is Su!

        Rhubarb Slush
        6 cups chapped rhubarb
        2/3 cup sugar
        2 cups water
        Mix together in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook until rhubarb has broken down and is rather mushy. Let the mixture cool. Once cooled down add the following to the rhubarb mixture:
        2 cans frozen pink lemonade
        2 cups vodka
        Blitz with an immersion blender to further break down the rhubarb and thoroughly incorporate all ingredients. Pour into ice cream pail and keep in freezer.
        Serve with 7-Up, ginger ale , or soda water! Enjoy; cheers!!!

        • Su says:

          Thanks so much!! I am trying this at our next party!!!

        • Mindykin says:

          (To clarify: I am a Mindy, but not *the* Mindy)
          I was wondering if this was one of those “hide the veggies so kids will eat them” recipes … until I got to the vodka. And then I started rubbing my chin and considering my rhubarb supply.

  30. Sarah says:

    If you’ve done Rhubarb Crisp, Tart and Cake, what about Rhubarb Clafoutis? My husband’s got a great recipe… Might have come from Cook’s Illustrated originally?

    • j says:

      Hi Sarah-Can you share your husband’s recipe? Gotta eat everything rhubarb while it’s still growing! Thanks so much!

      • Sarah says:

        Turns out the recipe is from Style At Home, April 2009 (how conveeeeenient!). (I do the clipping, my husband does the cooking & baking!)


        (Here’s the introductory blurb: “In early summer, many bistro menus feature clafoutis, a custard-like batter baked with whole cherries. A specialty of the Limousin region, it’s one of the finest French desserts, and a cinch to make. The only drawback is that cherry season is short, and it’s a shame to limit clafoutis making to one part of the year. Plums, pears and apples work well, but rhubarb is fantastic – almost better than the original.”)

        1 lb fresh rhubarb, cut into thick slices
        3/4 cup whole milk
        3/4 cup whipping cream
        3 large eggs
        3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
        1/4 tsp cinnamon
        pinch of salt
        1 vanilla bean
        1/3 cup all-purpose flour

        Bring large saucepan of water to boil; add rhubarb slices and cook for about 2 minutes, just to blanch. Drain and set rhubarb aside.

        In bowl, combine milk, cream, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Split vanilla bean length-wise with small sharp knife. Using tip of knife, scrape seeds into bowl. Add flour and beat well.

        Grease large (about 12″ diameter) baking dish and sprinkle with sugar. Arrange rhubarb evenly in dish and pour batter over top. Bake in 400F oven until puffed and golden, about 40 to 45 minutes.

  31. Mindy says:

    Bahahahahahahah. I’ll take the Asshead title as a compliment. And guess what I’m making tomorrow morning? Another pan of the cake. My neighbor has salami to trade for something and she’s never had rhubarb. Ever. In her life. Tragic. I’m going to woo her with the cake and hope to get extra salami. ;) I told you it was good!

  32. Ann Brookens says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. I want to “like” all of these comments, and that isn’t even possible!

    Won’t someone take pity on all of us lazy types and make rhubarb cake for us? Pretty please?

  33. Pam says:

    Everything about this cake sounds delicious..except for the rhubarb. Yep, I’m anti rhubarb. Maybe that makes me an asshead of a different color.

  34. Muff says:

    this is one of my favourite cakes – our ‘old family recipe’ came from the Kerrisdale Courier newspaper back in the early 70’s and was called Lunar Rhubarb Cake because the blobs of topping (our recipe doesn’t have oatmeal in the topping) tend to sink to the bottom and make craters like the moon. So tasty and so easy to whip together. Hmmm – there’s a little more rhubarb out in the garden and it’s only 9:30 at night . . .

  35. Grammy says:

    Mindy, even though you are an asshead, so is Karen. It’s late on a Sunday night and I need to go get some rhubarb and there is no place to go for some. I haven’t grown it in my own garden for years, so I have to wait till I can find a Farmer’s Market with fresh rhubarb and now I will be thinking about Rhubarb Cake (which I’ve never heard of until now) and won’t be able to sleep. My health is at stake, here. So I hope both of the Rhubarb Sisters are happy now. Assheads.

  36. Carla says:

    I doubt blackberry rhubarb is a true pie.

    • Teri says:

      you may doubt it but I am planning a raid on my blackberry patch…. and eyeing the rhubarb in the herb garden…

  37. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    That’s it..I am planting rhubarb somewhere here..now I will have to go to Farmer’s Market on Tuesday to buy some..Thank a lot Mindy..sheez..

  38. Michelle says:

    Did you peel your rhubarb?

    • Karen says:

      Oh! I meant to mention that Michelle, thanks. I didn’t peel my rhubarb. I never peel my rhubarb. But I have the luxury of using only young stalks because I pick them right from my plant and it’s still *relatively* early in the season so they aren’t tough. In September with big old stalks, I would be tempted to peel them.~ karen!

  39. Sheryl Powell says:

    Okay, I want to be an asshead too. If you’ve never tried rhubarb blackberry pie, OMG. Rhubarb pie, great, blackberry pie maybe even better, together they are outstanding. I ordered a piece to share with hubby in a restaurant, took one bite and snarled that he could order his own. I now never make any other kind of fruit pie but this.

  40. Patrick says:

    And this is why you are my favourite blogger!! Although Mindy might not agree…

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