rhubarb crumble cake slice 4

Hi guys!  Now, I know Julia Child said a hostess should never apologize, but since this isn’t a meal we’re talking about per se, I’d like to start off with an apology.  I don’t know to what extent you’ve noticed or been bothered by it – I’ve tried to fix or get fixed everything as quickly as possible, but quickly is never quick enough when you’re the harried one trying to make it happen! – but we’ve been dealing with some little (ok, and some big) glitches with the website over the past couple of weeks.

I loooove the new site, the look, the new functionality, everything, but we’ve been having some totally unanticipated (obviously!  If they’d been anticipated, we’d have done something preventive beforehand!) problems with the server host and with data usage issues, which have caused the site to crash three times now in, what? two weeks?  Ugh.  I’m sincerely sorry that this has happened at all, let alone more than once.  I’m mortified.  It hasn’t been anyone’s fault, just unexpected stuff that happens and has to be dealt with, and it’s been dealt with absolutely as fast as possible each of those times.  There’s a learning curve with this stuff, and sometimes I feel like I’ve gone shooting off the curve entirely (I’m telling you, I’m really bad with computers and internet things and technology.  So bad.).  I’m really sorry if you’ve been bothered by it, and we’ll keep doing our best to prevent future problems.

rhubarb crumble cake whole

Can we still be friends?


The other big news this week – besides the fact that my committee meeting actually went really well and I came back totally inspired and motivated to work harder than ever on my dissertation, and how often does that happen? –  is that we found out on Wednesday that we’re having a little boy!

This is SO exciting and cool.  And, me being me, it also sent me off into a major panic attack.  Of course.

rhubarb crumble cake slice 1

Seeing the baby with everything developing healthily so far (YAY!!! Continuing to keep fingers crossed for the next 4 months…), and knowing it would be a boy, and working on registering for all the gear that we’re going to need, made everything seem really concrete and really intimidating.  I feel like a lot of pregnancy is like, “yay, babies!” and you have this little imaginary friend that you cary around with you, and you talk to it and feel it move around, and people are happy for you that you have an imaginary friend.  But then, you see, real imaginary friends don’t, after a number of months, suddenly come kicking and screaming into the world with wants and needs that you have to somehow figure out how to fulfill when, in fact, you know nothing about babies or children or parenting.

You can read all the books in the world, and get all the advice in the world, but there still is no way to actually know what you’re doing.  You’re dealing with an individual!  And, I’m a person who rather likes to know what she’s doing.  I like to be at least somewhat skilled at something before I start doing it in front of anyone at all, and that’s just not something that’s going to happen (with a baby, even if no one else is there, the baby is there, and totally counts, and is totally going to be judging, I just know it!).  I find that a little terrifying.

rhubarb crumble cake slice 2

So my mind has been in a tizzy of, “oh my gosh. what am I doing? I don’t know how to do this. I’m going to drop it or smash it or lose it or not be able to understand what it needs or not be able to give it what it needs.”  And then, “what if I don’t like the baby? What if it’s just like this baby that’s sitting there and I don’t know what to do with it. What if I’m a terrible mother? I’m going to be a terrible mother!”  Those kinds of things.

I know it’s quite normal to go through phases of panic before having a child – it says so in my books!  But it still feels bad to have them.  It feels like there must be something wrong with you when everyone else is so thrilled for you, but you’re feeling more scared than thrilled.  At least at that moment.

But that’s the good thing about it, that it’s all just moments.  And the moments of sheer terror pass and the moments of elation come again.  I started to calm back down yesterday afternoon and remember all the reasons why I was, and am, excited, how I’m not doing any of this alone, and how even if you could parent perfectly, it would probably be way less fun than muddling through and figuring out your own way.  Right?  (Please just say I’m right.)  After all, imperfection provides much better material for stories.

rhubarb crumble cake slice 3

Also, for the first time ever I received flowers for mother’s day!  Including hydrangeas from Squid (the dog) and little baby boy (I’m hazarding a guess their dad had something to do with it).  That was awfully cool.  And, because I have, for several days, had a serious craving for rhubarb crumble cake, I made myself a mother’s day cake.

The universe was extremely obliging, and supplied a number of possible recipes to sate my craving, without my even directly asking.  I had the thought, and then rhubarb crumble cake and muffin recipes started popping up everywhere.  I’m sure this has nothing to do with it being rhubarb season.

I decided to take one from Food52, ever an inspiration, and adapt it to suit my, well let’s just call it a need.  This is a somewhat unusual cake in that it has no leavening apart from whole eggs, whipped like crazy into a creamy yellow fluff.  This, folded together with moderate amounts of sugar, butter, and flour, gives you a cake that has a richly moist, intensely buttery, soft and pillowy crumb.  Which is just exactly what I want in a simple fruit studded cake.  The richness and sweetness are perfectly cut by the tangy pieces of rhubarb, which melt into compote-like puddles dotting the cake.

rhubarb crumble cake slice 5

I love rhubarb.  Love.  So, I added it in a quantity such that there are almost equivalent amounts of rhubarb and cake.  Don’t bury your rhubarb, strut it out, I say!  Then, the pebbly crumble on top adds a nice bit of sandy crunch to a cake that is in all other ways a big old softy.  You could serve this cake with yogurt for breakfast, by itself for coffee or tea, or with a bit of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for dessert.

Do your mom proud, or yourself proud, or rhubarb proud, or all of the above.  Bake a cake!

4.5 from 2 reviews
Rhubarb crumble cake
  • For the crumble:
  • ¼ cup all purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs. butter (I used salted and really liked the extra punch of salt)
  • For the cake:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. butter, melted (again, I used salted, but unsalted will also be good)
  • 1¼ cup all purpose flour (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 2½ cups rhubarb (I used 3 fat stalks), cut into half-inch thick pieces
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease an 8 or a 9 inch cake pan.
  2. To make the crumble, put the ¼ cup flour, brown sugar, ¼ tsp. salt, and 2 Tbs. butter into a small bowl. Use your fingers to rub them together until all combined and you have pea-sized lumps. Set aside.
  3. Combine the eggs, 1 cup sugar, ½ tsp. salt, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a standing mixer, or another mixing bowl. Beat on high speed with the wire whisk attachment (or a hand held mixer) until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.
  4. Gently fold in the melted butter. Then, fold in the flour and rhubarb until mostly combined. Spread the cake batter into the pan, and sprinkle the crumble evenly over the top.
  5. Bake the cake until it it is nicely browned on the top and a toothpick comes out clean, about 60-65 minutes for a 9-inch pan, about 65-75 minutes for an 8-inch pan.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing it from the cake pan. Or just allow it to cool slightly and then cut it and serve it warm from the cake pan! The cake should keep for a few days, covered with foil or plastic wrap.
Adapted from Food52



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21 Responses to Rhubarb crumble cake

  1. Suzanne says:

    I love your new site. It will take a while to iron out kinks but thats ok, it will all mesh soon. I saw that cake on food52 and it looks so good, moist and flavorful. Have a wonderful day and congratulations, a boy, thats just fantastic!!

    • Emily says:

      Thank you so much Suzanne. I’m hoping it will all come together soon. I need to stop letting the little things stress me out, eh? 🙂 And, thank you for your congratulations. We’re pretty excited to have a boy, and his grandma-to-be already went nuts buying him little baby boy Norwegian folk costumes!

  2. Angela says:

    Congrats to you and your family! So exciting. I can only imagine the emotions you are going through and I don’t imagine the blog stresses have made it any easier. Here’s hoping your first Mother’s Day will be more relaxing, as well as the rest of your pregnancy!

    • Emily says:

      Thank you so much! I’m hoping for a little more relaxation too! There are so many emotions involved, but I think I just need to keep reminding myself not to take it all quite so seriously! 🙂

  3. Amelia says:

    This looks delicious, must try it.

  4. Jo-el-eo says:

    I tasted this cake. It’s astonishing.

  5. Sarah says:

    Congratulations on your impending little family!

    We’re not having kids, but as an educator I’m always interested in learning and reading more about parenting trends out there, and I recently ran across one that boiled down to this: Don’t be afraid to hug your children when they’re really crying. They don’t try to manipulate you until they’re toddlers and then it’s usually with screaming. Tell them you love them. Let them take risks and get hurt and make mistakes – they’ll learn their own limits much better that way and act more safely. Let them have alone time. Don’t overschedule their lives. Make rules and stick to them. Explain why. Don’t worry TOO much about what they eat – kids go through taste phases (e.g. when I was a baby I LOVED sweet potatoes and hated regular potatoes, then when I was a kid it was the opposite, now I love both) and some kids will eat anything and others will be picky eaters. Not that YOUR kids are going to be picky, probably. Lol.

    And probably you didn’t need all that advice from someone who is never going to have kids (probably). But since you said you were terrified, I wanted to be reassuring and help you chillax. Sorry if I just made it worse.

    ANYWAY – Congratulations again and thank you for the lovely-looking rhubarb cake. I could have used that recipe last night when I made a rhubarb crumble that was light on the rhubarb. Lol…

    • Emily says:

      Thanks so much Sarah! I think that’s all great advice. It’s funny how hard it is to remember those simple, common sense things when you’re the one who’s supposed to do them. But, I’ll keep trying!

  6. Margo says:

    Em –
    I love rhubarb, like irises and dill, because they are among the first plants to start growing in the spring. The rhubarb in our garden is coming along but it’s nowhere near big enough to start eating yet – and we we’re south of Duluth. So where did you find rhubarb this early in the year?

    • Emily says:

      Hey Margs! The rhubarb in our garden is coming along, but it’s still barely peeking out of the ground. I had to buy rhubarb at the grocery store because I just couldn’t wait. Maybe it’s cheating, but it was totally worth it, hehe!

  7. That looks delicious!

  8. Sarah says:

    I love the cake and I love the china! Can I ask who made the china?

    • Emily says:

      Thanks Sarah. I don’t actually know who made the china! It’s a garage sale find. I suppose I can check and see what it says on it though!

  9. Hi! I found your blog on Pinterest, following a pin for your orange & cardamom cake I had pinned ages ago but want to try this weekend…and I got intrigued by your gorgeous photos and stories, so I’d been reading along until I saw this post. Congratulations on your little boy to be!! I’m very excited for you, and struck, because we found out on May 9 that we’re having a little boy too. So I’m guessing you & I are about the same way along in pregnancy (we’re due in mid-Sept.) Anyway, I just thought that was a fun coincidence and thought I’d say hi. This rhubarb crumble looks to die for, by the way. I LOVE rhubarb…but sadly none is to be found here in Thailand, where I’m currently living. {sigh} But orange & cardamom I can do! 🙂

    • Emily says:

      How exciting! We must be about on the same timeline. Fun! And congratulations to you! Sorry you can’t rhubarb, but I suppose that’s how it goes. There are certainly plenty of Thai ingredients we can’t get here. 🙂 Hope you love the orange cardamom cake as much as we do.

  10. Cathy says:

    I made this cake last Friday to take camping in North Western Mongolia with 12 other friends. When I opened it up people were impressed, when they tasted it they were really impressed – thank you. Living here we love to find recipes that use all available ingredients – the rhubarb I picked wild on the hills next to Ulaanbaatar!

  11. vemales says:

    I want to make this beautiful cake.

  12. bedak wanita says:

    that’s look very tasty 😀

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