This rhubarb loaf cake is an ideal and unexpected dessert to wow your friends and family this summer.
I feel like rhubarb doesn’t get to be the star of the show often enough. It’s always playing second fiddle to strawberries in summer dishes, and while that’s obviously a powerhouse couple, rhubarb on its own is absolutely delicious and totally worthy of being the main flavor in a dessert.
This cake comes to me via the shoebox full of recipe that my grandmother left to me. It’s written in her nurses’ scrawl on a 4x6 index card with pink stripes on the back. She has it marked as “rhubarb bread” but it’s definitely a cake.
It’s got a strong vanilla flavor, and the sour cream in the batter makes for a CRAZY moist cake. The rhubarb retains a little bit of it’s sourness during baking, which is the perfect compliment to the sweetness of the cake.
Some fun facts about Rhubarb:
Rhubarb is rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins that have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which help protect from cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It’s also rich in vitamin K and is high in fiber.
Rhubarb leaves are known to be poisonous and eating too much of the rhubarb stalks can cause several unpleasant side effects (you’d have to eat a LOT though).
We treat rhubarb like a fruit, but botanically, it’s actually a vegetable.
It’s a widely held belief that the redder the stalk is, the sweeter the fruit will be, but that’s not actually true. Green rhubarb is also safe to eat.
Shopping List for Rhubarb Loaf Cake
Tips for Making Rhubarb Loaf Cake
Start with room temperature butter – your cake batter will come together much more easily this way. If you don’t have time to leave your butter out for several hours before baking (I recommend at least 4 hours at room temperature) you can do the following to speed up the process:
1. Boil a pot of water and place a wrapped stick of butter on a plate, standing up on its end.
2. Once the water is boiling, pour some of it in a water glass, and let the glass sit for 3-5 minutes to get really hot.
3. Pour the water out, and place the glass over the stick of butter, and let it sit for 8-10 minutes.
4. Repeat until the butter is fully softened. This will get you pretty softened butter in about 20-30 minutes total.
If you don’t like rhubarb, you could substitute almost any other fruit. Strawberries would be awesome. Blueberries would be amazing. You could substitute raspberries, but if you do, I would do half vanilla extract and half almond extract.
Take 1 tablespoon of the flour from the ingredients and use it to toss the diced rhubarb in – this will keep the fruit from all sinking to the bottom of the cake.
Once baked, the cake keeps at room temperature for up to three days.
1 H & 10 M
Rhubarb Loaf Cake
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup sour cream
- 8 ounces rhubarb cut into a ½ inch dice
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2-4 tablespoons of milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350 and line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper so that it fits with some hanging over the long ends. You can use that to pull the cake out of the pan later. Spray the parchment paper with non-stick spray.
- Add the flour to a medium bowl, and remove 1 tablespoon of it to a separate small bowl. Add the salt, baking powder and baking soda and whisk to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes, until pale yellow and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition.
- Add the vanilla extract and stir.
- Mix in half the flour and stir, then half the sour cream and stir again. Repeat with remaining flour and sour cream.
- Toss the diced rhubarb with the 1 tablespoon of flour that you put off to the side earlier.
- Add the diced rhubarb, and stir gently to combine.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.
- Once cake has cooled, add the glaze.
- In a medium bowl, sift the powdered sugar through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps.
- Stir in the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired glaze consistency.
- Add the vanilla extract.