Rhubarb Coffee Crumb Cake

Rhubarb Coffee Crumb Cake

I used to think that there was nothing better than store-bought Entenmann’s Coffee Crumb Cake.   The outrageous ratio of crumb to cake always seemed like confectionary perfection, and on the rare occassion that my parents would buy it as a treat for Sunday morning I would experience both utter excitement, and then utter regret at having eaten way more than a suggested serving size. 

Rhubarb Coffee Cake Prep 1

Rhubarb Coffee Cake Prep

When I moved to New York, I discovered the New York style crumb cake, where the crumb ratio far exceeds it’s measly store-bought competition, and I was hooked.  I’ve tried to re-create the “big crumb” coffee cakes that adorn bakery windows here in Manhatten, and have come close (especially by adding pumpkin) but, this my friends, this recipe is a winner. This is the kind of crumb cake where no-one notices if you pick off one of those big crumbs on top, leaving an enormous crater of crumb-gone missing.  This is the kind of crumb cake where you even want to eat the actual cake part. Its rich, buttery, vanilla-y flavor melts in your mouth.  This is the kind of crumb cake that when left alone with – well…let’s just say don’t leave yourself alone with this one.  Make friends, many of them.  This cake needs to be shared.

Rhubarb Coffee Crumb Cake

Rhubarb Coffee Crumb Cake

  • Servings: ~12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Note: If you can’t find rhubarb don’t dismay – the filling would be almost equally as good with fresh blueberries, strawberries, rasberries, etc… Just adjust the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness of your fruit choice.  If you don’t have cake flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour.  

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and NY Times


For the rhubarb

  • 1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch slices (yields about 2 cups)
  • 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
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour (see note)

For the cake

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farhenheit.  Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the sliced rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch and ginger.  Set aside.

3. To make the crumbs, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt and butter and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the flour with a spatula or wooden spoon – the crumbs will look like a solid dough.  Set aside

4. To make the cake, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt to a small bowl, mix to combine and set aside.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and egg yolk and mix until incorporated.  Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat on medium speed until combined.  Slowly mix in the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl until batter is evenly mixed. Sccop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.

5. Scrape the remaining cake batter into the prepared pan.  Spoon the rhubarb over the batter and dollop the 1/2 cup of batter you set aside over the rhubarb. No need for it to be even.

6. Using your fingers, break the crumb mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size.  Sprinkle over cake to form an even coating on top.

7.  Bake cake until a thoothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.  Cool completely before serving.

Cake will keep for 3 days at room temperature, covered with serran wrap.


9 thoughts on “Rhubarb Coffee Crumb Cake

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  2. Yum! how delicious! 🙂 I love coffee cake but for some reason I rarely make it! I think because it seems like it’s supposed to be a breakfast cake, but I always feel it’s so sugary that I never want to eat it in the morning.

    It would also be good with afternoon tea, though! So I may have to give this recipe a go! Thanks for posting it 🙂

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