The Best Rhubarb Cake You’ve Ever Had
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I remember being a little sprite, sitting in my grandma’s kitchen, and “helping” make rhubarb cake. I remember hearing tales of how she helped HER grandma make this same recipe, it’s been in our family for more generations than I could count. It’s easy to understand why, when you learn a little about the history of rhubarb.
Rhubarb fascinates me. It’s been around for over 5,000 years, according to Chinese medicine. This Asian gem is actually a vegetable, contrary to what most people think, and is closely related to Burdock. Being native to central Asia, it was also in common use among Arabs, Greeks, and Romans in ancient times. It was no surprise to Marco Polo to find it on his travel to China in 1271 and bring it back to Europe.
Of course, the Western world didn’t use it medicinally. Quickly added to pies, cakes, and custards, it seemed a new treat. It had it’s own problems, like being poisonous. The broad leaves are laced with toxic levels of oxalic acid. The edible stalks, though tasty enough when stewed with sufficient amounts of sugar, could still be stringy and tough, depending on growing conditions and other uncertain variables.
That changed in 1837 when a new, sweeter variety, was introduced and it became a whiz to use for everything as before, in addition to jams, and jellies. It traveled across the Atlantic to the new world, and “Pie Plants” were often enjoyed by the pioneers. Even Laura Ingalls Wilder mentioned in in her newly wed adventures.
It is pretty easy to grow, and pretty darned prolific if you remember one thing: do not cut the stalks off the plant. You must PULL them off to trigger regrowth. Otherwise, the plant starts it’s die-back and will go to seed.
Our Rhubarb Cake Recipe
You will need:
- 1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 2/3 Cup Veggie Oil
- 1 Egg
- 1 Cup Sour Cream
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 1/2 Cups Flour
- 2 Cups Diced Rhubarb
- 1 Cup Chopped Nuts – Pecans or Walnuts
Mix all items together. Put into a well-greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Set aside.
For the Rhubarb Cake topping you will need:
- 1 Tablespoon Butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
Combine the three ingredients to make the topping for the rhubarb cake. Sprinkle it evenly over the top of the cake batter, patting it into batter slightly.
Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes.
We like it just like this, but grandma used to frost it with a powdered sugar glaze. This glaze is great for everything from cinnamon rolls, to coffee-cakes and easy to double or triple, should the need arise.
You will need:
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 -2 Tablespoons of Half & Half or Milk
- 1 Tablespoon soft Butter
- 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
In a small bowl, just combine all ingredients until completely mixed. Thin with a little milk if needed. You want to be able to drizzle it over the top of the finished rhubarb cake.