4 years ago

Butter Rhubarb Cake with Crumb Topping

This mouthwatering new cake recipe from Twin Cities food blogger greens
& chocolate
is a wonderful way to use rhubarb, which is in
season right now.

Slowly but surely,
spring seems to be creeping into Minnesota, which only means one thing: bring
on the spring produce! Okay, maybe it also means it’s time for patio
sitting, walks around the lakes, leisurely bike rides and lots and lots of yard
work, but in my mind, it’s all about the food.

It’s also a nostalgic
time for me, as it brings back memories of picking peas, asparagus, green
onions and rhubarb from my grandma’s garden. I remember thinking it was so
funny how asparagus just grew straight up from the ground and how fun it was to
snap the ends off the peas.

I also remember
really not understanding the appeal of rhubarb. I think it stems from one
of my older cousins having me take a bite of it raw, which is quite sour, and
after that I didn’t have any interest in rhubarb crisp or cake.

Of course I came
around and sometime in high school I tried my grandma’s rhubarb cake and life
was never the same. I’ll be a rhubarb lover until the end of time. My
grandma’s rhubarb cake recipe was quite simple, which of course is what made it
so dang good, and let the rhubarb be the star of the show.

I like to keep my
rhubarb cake pretty simple too, but this time I went ahead and changed one
minor detail: I browned the butter.

If you’ve never
browned butter, you are in for a major treat. The process of browning it (which really just
involves letting it melt over the stove and cooking it until it develops little
brown specs in it and you are overcome with a nutty buttery smell…OMG) gives
the butter a toasted flavor that, in my opinion, takes baked goods from great
to incredible.

That is exactly the
case in this brown butter rhubarb cake. Even Marc, my chocolate and peanut
butter dessert-loving husband, was blown away at how much he loved this
rhubarb-studded cake.

We ate this for
dessert but since it’s topped with a crumb topping, it could even be pulled off
for breakfast as a coffee cake. Isn’t it great how adding more butter and
sugar to something suddenly qualifies it as breakfast?


Brown Butter Rhubarb Cake with Crumb Topping

For the cake:

  • 12 tablespoons
    unsalted butter
  • 1 ¾ cups
    all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking
  • 1 teaspoon baking
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure
    vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups chopped

For the crumb topping:

  • 6 tablespoons
    unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup all-purpose
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease 9" round or square baking pan.  
  3. In small saucepan, add butter over medium heat. 
  4. Melt the butter, and then continue to cook and stir with a
    wooden spoon as the butter begins to foam, and ultimately turns from yellow to
    light brown and then finally an amber color. It will also release that
    deliciously nutty aroma. It is best to use a light colored pan so you can
    see the changes.  
  5. Immediately remove from heat.  
  6. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking
    powder and salt.  
  7.  In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat together the
    brown butter and sugar until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Add vanilla.
  9. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/3 of the
    buttermilk. Repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk until all is used,
    stirring until just combined. Don’t over mix.
  10. Fold in rhubarb.
  11. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  12. Make the crumb topping by combining butter, flour, brown
    sugar and salt, and mixing until butter is dispersed and the consistency is
    crumbly. I use my fingers to do this but you can use a fork if you don’t
    want to get messy.  
  13. Top cake with crumb topping.  
  14. Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, until tester
    comes out clean.
  15. Let cool completely.
  16. Cut into slices and enjoy!