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Fresh rhubarb and strawberries in a dense, sweet cake. Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Cake uses sour cream to give the cake a dense and rich texture.

A slice of strawberry rhubarb coffee cake on a plateOfficially rhubarb season starts in April. And it is now (almost) April. Consider this a public service announcement: Somewhere, fresh rhubarb is out there. Go find some, I’ll wait….

Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake on a plate top view

This is a classic, dense crumb cake. Sour cream adds richness and softens the texture, creating a dense, fine crumb, “like a muffin, but big.”  Yes, kinda like that. You can use a full-fat greek yogurt in place of the sour cream if you want. I haven’t tried that with this particular recipe. If you used a 0% fat yogurt you will give up some of that richness.

You will need 2-1/2 cups of chopped fruit. I used about half strawberries and half rhubarb. Feel free to mix this up with other berries, all rhubarb or whatever beautiful summer fruit you have on hand. This is a trustworthy, tried and true cake recipe. It will work with just about any kind of fruit. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Cake slab cake

Preparing rhubarb for baking

Rhubarb is surprisingly easy to work with. Remove the large green leaves from the stems, you just want the stems. It does not matter if the stems are green or red or some shade in between.

chopped rhubarb for strawberry rhubard coffee cake

I rinse the long stems under cold water just to remove any remaining dirt from the garden, then dry them off with a dry kitchen towel. At this point they are ready for chopping. For recipes like this one, I chop in 1/2 inch or so pieces. 

TIP: Rhubarb freezes beautifully.

Prepare the rhubarb stems as noted above, making sure they are nice and dry, then chop and toss into a freezer bag. Chopped rhubarb will keep in the freezer for a good 6 months. 

Frozen rhubarb is can be used in most recipes that call for fresh, including jams, pies and crumbles. In this recipe, frozen would work just fine (I would not use frozen strawberries however). If using frozen rhubarb in this recipe, and most others, thaw it first and let some of the extra moisture drain off before tossing onto the cake. For other recipes, like this muffin, I would just toss in the frozen rhubarb directly into the batter still frozen. 

Here is how you make this Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Cake:

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Cake

an easy cake packed with fresh fruit and topped with a sweet cinnamon crumb
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 320kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour all-purpose
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter soften
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2.5 cups strawberries and rhubarb any ratio, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 tso cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup flour all-purpose
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter cold, cut into small pieces

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 13x9 cake pan.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In the bowl in the stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until creamy and light. Add eggs, one at a time until incorporated.  Add 1/3 of flour mixture to butter and sugar, mix on low speed until just combined. Add 1/2 of the sour cream, again mixing at low speed until just combined. Repeat -- adding flour, sour cream, then flour again, mixing until just combined after each addition. 
  • Spread mixture into prepared cake pan and sprinkle with fruit. 
  • Make streusel topping: in a small bowl combine brown sugar, cinnamon, flour and butter. Mixing with your fingers to distribute butter and a fine crumb forms. Sprinkle on top of cake. Bake cake at 350 30-35 minutes. Test for done-ness by inserting a cake testing. It will come out clean when the cake is done. Allow cake to cool. Serve warm of at room temperature.

Notes

This is a lovely basic cake recipe. Keep this one tucked away for safe keeping and pull it out all summer long to take advantage of fresh summer fruit - peaches, blueberries, plums, options are endless.
Trish | The In Fine Balance Food Blog