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Rhubarb Coffee Cake

This easy Rhubarb Coffee Cake recipe is tender and moist from sour cream, and studded with tart, jammy bites of rhubarb. With a thin, crispy sugar baked topping, this is one of the best rhubarb recipes out there!

a piece of rhubarb coffee cake on a plate

This easy Rhubarb Coffee Cake recipe is a simple, classic sour cream coffee cake that’s studded with glorious bites of tart, jammy rhubarb. The cake transitions beautifully from weekend brunch to afternoon coffee to a delightful dessert – ENJOY!

Why I Love this Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Although there’s no coffee in this rhubarb coffee cake (I get asked about that a lot, so thought I’d just put that out there!), it’s traditionally enjoyed with a cup of coffee. I grew up eating coffee cake (most likely with a glass of cold milk), so it’s a term that has been in my vocabulary since childhood. Besides the nostalgia, here’s why I love this coffee cake with rhubarb:

  • Seasonal edible joy. I wait, somewhat impatiently, for the first stalks of rhubarb to ripen in the garden each spring. And then I make rhubarb sauce, bake strawberry rhubarb crisp, mix up rhubarb margaritas, and simply enJOY it every single chance I get!
  • Super delicious. Obviously, I wouldn’t make this if I didn’t think it was yummy. But the sour cream, rhubarb, and sugary, crispy topping really drive home this recipe’s deliciousness.
  • Easy. This is a simple recipe. The only thing you might not be familiar with is whipping egg whites until they’re stiff. But that’s easy-peasy, and I’ll show you just how to do it.

Here’s another favorite coffee cake, this sour cream coffee cake with cinnamon sugar ripple. It’s baked in a tube pan, which is extra fun – each piece flaunts those gorgeous cinnamon sugar ripples!

ingredients needed to make sour cream rhubarb coffee cake

Ingredient Notes

  • Flour – All-purpose flour provides the structure for this cake’s batter.
  • Baking soda & baking powder – These help the cake rise.
  • Salt – This provides a little contrast to the sweetness, which makes all the flavors more pronounced.
  • Cinnamon – I really like rhubarb recipes that include cinnamon. This warm spice plays so well with it!
  • Eggs – The egg yolks help bind the batter together and give rich flavor and texture. And the egg whites are beaten separately, until they’re stiff, then folded into the batter – this helps give the cake more structure and rise.
  • Butter – This gives beautiful flavor and a tender texture.
  • Sugar – This is added to the cake batter itself, then more is sprinkled over the batter (along with a bit more cinnamon) to finish.
  • Vanilla – This adds more flavor to the cake.
  • Sour cream – One of my favorite baking ingredients (have you made my sour cream banana bread yet?!), this adds lovely moist, tender texture and a touch of tangy flavor.
  • Rhubarb – You’ll fold rhubarb pieces into the cake batter and then sprinkle them over the top.

How to Make Rhubarb Coffee Cake

This is an easy cake to make from scratch. Here’s what the process looks like…

  • Prep. Preheat oven to 350°F. Then very lightly spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with non-stick spray. I prefer to use a light-colored metal pan for this recipe.
  • Beat egg whites. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff. It won’t take them long to change from clear and runny to white and thick! Transfer egg whites to a separate bowl and set aside.
  • Cream butter & sugar. In the same stand mixer bowl (no need to wash it first), cream the butter and sugar. Then beat in the egg yolks and vanilla.
  • Add dry ingredients & sour cream. Alternately mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon) and sour cream into the butter/sugar mixture in two additions each.
  • Add egg whites & rhubarb. Gently fold in the stiff egg whites. Then fold in the rhubarb.
  • Finish. Spread batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with a little more rhubarb, then a generous bit of cinnamon-sugar.
overhead view of baked rhubarb coffee cake in a 9x13 metal pan
  • Bake. Place in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely.
side view of rhubarb coffee cake

Tips for Success

Here are a few of my best tips for this recipe:

  • Whip those egg whites. Be sure to whip the egg whites until they’re stiff. When you pull the beater out of the bowl, the egg whites should not sag or drip at all.
  • Don’t skimp on the sugar. To get that wonderful crispity sugar crust on top, do not skimp on the sugar. Use the amount specified in the recipe.
  • Store uncovered. And to keep that sugar crust wonderfully crispity for a couple days (if you have leftovers), store the cake uncovered at cool room temperature. If you cover the cake, or if you store it in the fridge or on the counter when it’s warm and humid, you will lose that crunchiness.
a piece of rhubarb coffee cake on a plate

How to Serve This Coffee Cake

I like to eat a warm piece of coffee cake, as-is. If you’d like to jazz it up a bit, you could drizzle a quick powdered sugar icing (just stir some water or milk into powdered sugar) over the top. Or serve with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream, for dessert!

More Rhubarb Recipes

a piece of rhubarb coffee cake on a plate

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Yield: 20 servings
prep time: 25 minutes
cook time: 40 minutes
total time: 1 hour 5 minutes
This easy Rhubarb Coffee Cake recipe is tender and moist from sour cream, and studded with tart, jammy bites of rhubarb. With a thin, crispy sugar baked topping, this is one of the best rhubarb recipes out there!
4.7 Stars (24 Reviews)


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon Morton kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups full-fat sour cream
  • cups thinly sliced rhubarb, divided


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Very lightly spray a 9" x 13" pan. If you want to have very clean cuts of coffee cake, line the bottom with parchment paper, letting the paper extend over the long sides of the pan. This will allow you to lift the whole cake out of the pan for slicing. If that's not a concern, just spray the pan. Set pan aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff. Gently transfer whipped egg whites to a separate bowl and set aside.
  • Return same bowl to stand mixer (no need to wash the bowl first) and add the butter and 1½ cups of the sugar; cream together for two minutes. Then beat in egg yolks and vanilla.
  • Alternately mix sour cream and flour mixture into butter & sugar mixture in 2 additions each. Mix on medium speed until batter is incorporated and smooth – it will be very thick.
  • Gently fold in whipped egg whites until incorporated. Then fold in 2 cups of the rhubarb.
  • With a rubber spatula, spread batter into bottom of prepared pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle top of batter with remaining ¼ cup of rhubarb. Then, gently press the exposed pieces of rhubarb into the batter just a bit, leaving the tops of the rhubarb pieces exposed.
  • In a small dish, combine remaining ½ cup of the sugar and remaining ¼ teaspoon of the cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture evenly over top of batter.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely.


Store on the counter for up to a couple days. To keep the crisp, crackly texture of the sugar topping, do not cover the pan.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 Calories: 244kcal Carbohydrates: 36g Protein: 4g Fat: 10g Saturated Fat: 5g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 53mg Sodium: 225mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 21g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles or tag @farmgirlsdabble!

This post was first published in 2018, then updated and republished in 2024.

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23 comments on “Rhubarb Coffee Cake”

  1. 5 stars
    Just wondering if you could add strawberries to this cake as well and if so, would frozen berries work? How much strawberries could I add please. Love your recipes!

  2. Looks incredible. I am thinking that a 9×13 cake might be a bit much for my husband and me. Has anyone made half a recipe or could I put half in the freezer after it baked? Not sure what that would do to the sugar topping 

    1. Hi Lee – I know that many people use frozen rhubarb in their baking, but I haven’t tried it with this recipe.

  3. This is a delicious recipe!  I made this last year, and as soon as I saw rhubarb this year I made it again.  The only problem is that my sister wants me to bring some with me every time I visit her.  She is not understanding if the short rhubarb season.  I may be banished from her house until next spring!

    1. I am so happy to know you like this, Diana! I am still waiting on my rhubarb – such a late spring!!

    2. Rhubarb can be  safely grown till August. You only need to keep it watered and the seed heads cut. 

  4. Thank you for the delicious recipe, I made it exactly as written and it looks exactly like yours!  The cake has a lovely texture and taste, Yum!

  5. Cassandra Blankenship

    As a kid on a farm in northern Indiana, we always had rhubarb plants and mostly pie! All my siblings and I live in MT or ID now. We all have rhubarb in our gardens. Still mostly pie!

  6. Julie Youngman

    This coffee cake looks delicious! What would you think about substituting almond extract for the cinnamon?

  7. I love rhubarb recipes but I live in southern Nevada and haven’t found any yet this year. When I do find it, it is so expensive and puny. I grew up in ND where it grew like a weed so I was so disappointed when I looked for it here. Reading your recipes and posts bring back good memories… thank you!