Rhubarb ‘Big Crumb’ Coffee Cake

I love crumb cakes and this recipe is all about the topping; golden, bite-sized boulders of butter and sugar spiced with cinnamon and ginger. Heavenly.

I also love rhubarb and have been patiently waiting for it to come into season as I've been itching to try this bookmarked recipe for months.

This soft, gooey centered cake with over-sized chunks of streusel is a pan of moist crumbly bliss. My only regret is that I didn't double the recipe.

Rhubarb ‘Big Crumb’ Coffee Cake
From: Smitten Kitchen, originally from New York Times


Butter for greasing pan

For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 3/4 cups cake flour

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces


Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.

To make crumbs, in a large bowl, whisk sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then, add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will look and feel like a solid dough. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.

To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.

Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.

Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here... acme cakes

  2. i never tried rhubarb - i know crazy right?! - and it's in SO many yummy looking recipies -i think i'm gonna have to try it out - wha does it taste like, sweet, bitter?

    *kiss kiss*
    ~Tiptoe Butterfly~

  3. I love looking at pictures of food, I love rhubarb. Looks so delicious.SarahD:)

  4. What is that a million calories???? Bad bad girl posting such things during bikini season! :D


  5. Again, you have posted a recipe I can't wait to try. I LOVE rhubarb (need to use what's in my garden) and this looks like something that would go perfectly with a hot cup of tea. Thank you for this idea. Isn't Smitten Kitchen a great site? So many amazing recipes.
    Enjoy your day. =)

  6. OM-Freakin’-G! That looks sooo good!

  7. ahhh I always get crumb-cakes! sooo yummy! my mom looves rhubarb! I think I may have to try this with her next time she visits!!

    xox Vicky
    Bikinis & Passports

  8. Oh, yum! Rhubarb reminds me of zucchini bread. The first time my Grandma said she was going to make a zucchini bread for dessert, I was sooo disappointed (zucchini=yuck to an 8 year-old). I was so pleasantly surprised, just like with rhubarb! Yum!

  9. I can't tell you how excited I am to find your blog! You are the first official food blog I am following:) I am always looking for good new recipes:)

  10. Loving your recipes! Especially this one! My mom used to make this with rhubarb straight out of our garden! Thanks for stopping by 'imagine'! I love you're link in your signature, how do you do that? xo -jami

  11. YUM ... the big chunks look unusual and enticing!

  12. I was just telling my husband the other day about how my aunts & uncles would grow rhubarb and if we wanted a snack, we'd have to go pick it out of the ground, wash it off with a hose and munch away! That's for putting a yummy, stylish spin on it :) Super cute blog!!

  13. came your way via debby at inspired design. don't you love smitten kitchen? this rhubarb coffee cake looks amazing...i'm going to turn it gluten-free and get this going! yummy :)

  14. Looks delicious! I might just make this for hubby Sunday morning for Father's Day ~ my family would love it! Thanks for visiting Inspired Design ~ I am now following you! Now I have no excuse for not cooking w/ all of your delicious recipes. Debby xo

  15. ok I am printing this out! I've been craving to make something with rhubarb too! Reminds me of my granny ;) xoxo

  16. Omg...these look sooooo good :)


  17. oh wow, this cake looks sooo good!!!

  18. Oh my gosh, that looks delicious... I want to eat everything on your blog!

    tweet tweet tweet


  19. You had me at "big crumb." What a "delightful biteful!" Ha.

  20. Against my better judgement, I am following your deliciously looking blog.

  21. Hi Mary, lovely site you have here, I love crumb cakes, I actually most of the time eat more the crumb then the cake. So big crumb works wonders for me. It looks delicious.

  22. oh my god this looks amazing. how have i not stumbled across your blog before? i'm a total foodie and LOVE these photos/all of your photos... inspiring! i should really learn to cook more, currently im more of a baker (solely of cookies and cupcakes... yikes) but i'm working on it. great blog and great photos, and great FOOD .


    [v] hobovogue

  23. Thanks for this recipe, kind one, I shall print and save - must try this Rhubarb Big Crumb Coffee Cake at the weekend. Before It escapes me - this cake is so beautifully photographed, too. Enjoy the day!;-)

  24. Can't wait to make this one!
    Thanks, darling!


  25. yummy, yummy!!!!!!! i will do it!!!1

  26. wow your blog is... delicious ;)

  27. it looks so yummy!
    I think I'll try it too:)

  28. I love rhubarb. I never tasted it until I was an adult, post-college, and was like, "Where has this been all my life?!"

  29. Oh my lands, Mary!! That crumb is toweringly decadent and wonderful!!! :-) That's my favorite part of a crumble. :-)

  30. I love crumb cake too, and you've got several yummy looking recipes for it that I can't wait to try.

  31. Hello Dysfunctional Dieter, lol!! :)

    Thanks so much for the nicey you left on my blog. I just love yours! Your recipes look delicious. My parents have rhubarb on their farm and I am going there next weekend so I am printing this as we speak.

    Please come join my *Cupcake Challenge*, I promise it will be loads of fun!!

  32. Wow... It seems to be perfect!! *_*

  33. I'm loving your blog & will be back! Great recipes! {thanks for stopping by trustyourstyle}

    xo Mary Jo

  34. This looks delicious! Think it's time for the domestic darling to emerge. I will attempt this recipe, great blog - am following :)

  35. Yummy Yummy Yummy for my tummy! ;-) Seriously, your blog is by far my most favorite food blog! I look forward to it all the time :-)

  36. Mary thank you so much for your sweet comment at my blog, and truly i love this post, i am definitely following you now, XOXO

  37. You like my blog?! I like your blog!! You seem to do awesome recipes (can't wait to try out some shrimp soup). I am following you now!


  38. I can imagine my teeth sinking into the brown sugar crust and then getting the sour rhubarb afterwards. Oh my lands! I must make these now!
    Great photos! :)

  39. ohhhh my god, saving your url, im definitely gonna try some of your recipes these look delicious

  40. I will have to try and make this! You make it immpossible not to! Beatiful photography as well! xoxo

  41. i'm not really a fan of the coffee flavor, but i'm not going to lie, that looks GOOD

  42. I've made this cake too, and it's incredible! I was antsy all winter to get a chance to make it again. Also, your pictures are gorgeous!

  43. these look divine. Yumm
    Do enter the contest I am conducting now on my blog.

  44. This looks incredible! My grandparents grow rhubarb...and now I have a recipe to use with it!

  45. your recipes all look great! ill be sure to come back!

  46. mary it looks so delicious :)

    Ohh how I wish ti stay near you:)
    I'll invite myself at dinner everyday:)
    Lots of hugs

  47. I made this cake before as I'm a sucker for all things rhubarb....so I know it tastes divine!!!

  48. I made this a couple of years ago with strawberries. It's one of my faves!

  49. Perfect for my new-found love of rhubarb. Looks delicious!

  50. Mary I just made the crumble and it is delicious!!!! It will be a permanent fixture in my recipe books. Thank you again. I'll be highlighting it in my Cups of Tea Sunday - July 18th. I hope your weekend is treating you well. =)


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