Rhubarb Cake

Rhubarb Cake

I have a confession to make.  I absolutely hate frosting cakes.  Gasp!  I always love looking at photographs of those gorgeous, perfectly frosted cakes, but I have never been able to replicate that look.  My cakes come out looking sad and just shy of a mess.  As many cakes as I have frosted over the years, you would think I would have figured it out by now... But, alas, not yet.  (There is always still hope though!)

Rhubarb Cake

Despite my frosting incapabilities, the cake still tastes darn delicious.  This cake definitely made it into my favorite top 3.  I MAY have had two slices a day, two days in a row.  It's that good.  It's not overly sweet, but perfectly light, and you get the wonderful, barely tart, bite of rhubarb in every slice of cake.  Fresh rhubarb is chopped and added to a fluffy cake batter, then perfectly baked so it is moist and light, then frosted with a cinnamon-tinted whipped cream.  I mean really, need I say more?

Rhubarb Cake

Rhubarb Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb

For the whipped cream frosting

  • 2 cups chilled, heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  To make the cake, grease two 9-inch cake rounds, then coat with flour, knocking out any excess.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy on medium-high speed, 3-4 minutes.  Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until combined, then the milk.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.  With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture until combined.  Gently fold in the diced rhubarb.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.  Place the cakes into the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans onto a wire rack.  Let cool completely before frosting.

To make the whipped cream frosting, place all of the ingredients in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on high speed until stuff peaks form, 5-7 minutes.

Once the cakes are cooled, place one cake on a cake stand or plate, generously frost and smooth before placing the other cake on top.  Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.  Serve immediately.

This is best the day it is made, but will keep in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for 3-4 days.

Source: Lily's Cafe Cookbook, Revised Edition by Kyra Alex