A delicious and moist rhubarb sour cream cake, topped with a cinnamon sugar and flaked almonds. You can make this cake with fresh or frozen rhubarb!
This old fashioned rhubarb cake is wonderfully spiced with cinnamon and I love the bit of almond on top. This is a great cake to use up frozen rhubarb or an excellent use for a fresh crop, if yours is ready now. Thanks to the addition of sour cream, this is a wonderfully moist cake, that keeps well.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Rhubarb – you can use either fresh or frozen rhubarb for this cake. If frozen, no need to thaw!
Sour Cream – full-fat sour cream is recommended for the nicest texture and moistness of the finished cake.
Flaked Almonds – flaked almonds make the prettiest cakes, but if you need nut free, simply omit and use just the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Can you eat rhubarb leaves? No! Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, a poisonous compound, so should not be eaten. It is perfectly fine, however, to add rhubarb leaves to your compost pile.
Can you freeze rhubarb? Yes! And you absolutely should, as rhubarb freezes really well, with no preparation needed. Simply cut into cubes or even lengths, place in a freezer bag and enjoy from the freezer for up to 1 year.
Do you need to peel rhubarb? No, you typically don’t, but if you have a particularly thick stalk, you can use the edge of a knife to pull off the stringy bits, much like you would do with celery.
- You may feel like there is a good bit of sugar going on top of this cake, but the cake itself is fairly lightly sweetened and of course, rhubarb is quite tart, so it really doesn’t put this cake over the top in the sweetness department. It’s just right for my taste.
- You can make this cake a little ahead, though I think it’s best on the day it is baked.
- This cake is lovely served warm with a little bit of vanilla ice cream.
- You could probably use a 9-inch springform quite successfully, if you don’t have a 10-inch. As the cake will be thicker, it will need to cook longer, of course. I feel like an 8-inch springform would be too small for all the batter here.
- When testing this cake, be sure to poke several holes, as it is chock full of rhubarb and you will likely hit some when testing, that may make it look not done, when it is. That said, be sure not to under-bake this one either, especially if you started with frozen rhubarb. The frozen rhubarb keeps the batter colder longer and has extra moisture, that needs to cook out of the cake.
Be sure to have a peek at this cake around the 50 minute mark of baking and if it is already browned enough, lay a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over-top to keep it from browning too much as it finishes baking.
Get the Recipe: Rhubarb Sour Cream Cake
- 2 1/3 cups all purpose flour, spooned and levelled
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, reduce to 1/2 tsp if using salted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, I use light brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg
- 3 teaspoons vanilla, or vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup sour cream, full fat recommended
- 4 cups rhubarb, fresh or frozen, diced
- 1/3 cup flaked almonds
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Icing/Confectioners’ Sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350° F. (regular bake/not fan assisted) and grease a 10-inch cake or springform pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment (just to make your life easier, as this is a moist cake and it will just come out of the pan more easily). Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until it is well combined and resembles wet sand. Add the egg and beat until the mixture is well combined and there are no lumps of brown sugar. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat to combine.
- With mixer on low, add the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Fold in rhubarb. Spoon mixture into prepared pan.
- Sprinkle top of the cake with flaked almonds. Stir together the 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon for the topping, then sprinkle liberally over the top of the cake. You don't need to use it all, if you don't want. Just use what feels like the right amount for you.
- Bake in preheated oven until golden and a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean, 60-70 minutes, checking at about 50 minutes and if cake is browned enough, lay a sheet of aluminum foil loosely overtop to cook it longer without over-browning. *If starting with frozen rhubarb, the cooking time will be the closer to 70 minutes.
- Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the outer ring. Transfer to a cooling rack (with the bottom part of the pan still on) and allow to cool until warm. Serve immediately or allow to cool completely, then remove bottom part of pan.
More Rhubarb Recipes to Love!
Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!
Oh my goodness!!! This cake turned out great!
I wish i could post a pic of it !!!
So glad to hear, Carole! Thanks so much :)
This turned out sooo good!I used frozen rhurbarb, so it did take the full 70 minutes to cook,but well worth the extra time!
So glad to hear, Brenda! You’ve reminded me that I have rhubarb in the freezer that I should use up. Thanks so much :)
This looks delicious but my husband is allergic to tree nuts. Any suggestions. Liz
Hi Elisabeth and you can just omit the almonds on top. With the sugar/cinnamon topping only, it will still be a lovely cake :) Enjoy!
A friend made this cake and it was fabulous! But my husband is allergic to rhubarb. Could I substitute other fruit into the cake, for example, apple or pears?
Hi Cassie and yes, you could definitely substitute just about any other fruit. Pears or apples would be great, as would strawberries, raspberries or blueberries :)
Rhubarb leaves are not toxic unless you eat 5 kgs of them. That’s a pretty huge amount. https://www.gardenmyths.com/oxalic-acid-rhubarb-leaves-harm-you/
I don’t recommend eating them, but it’s time this myth is put to rest.
Can this be made ahead and frozen? Would love to have on hand for holiday brunch!
Hi Dek, this one should freeze just fine. Enjoy!
Another fantastic receipe! Ended up using a 9-inch (no 10) springform pan & baked for 70 minutes. No problem using all the batter. Baked up beautifully! The receipe made a big cake which was enjoyed at room temperature for several days. Would definitely make again!
Glad to hear! And thanks for testing the 9-inch pan :)
This is so up my alley. I love how rustic it looks which makes imperfections look perfect! Rhubarb has such a surprising taste as a dessert and adding in cinnamon sounds divine. Does it pair nicely with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped topping?
Thanks so much, Cindy. It’s a delicious cake and yes, great with ice cream or whipped cream!
I made this last night. It was yummy. It looked done at 1 hour baking time. But after I let it sit… the middle started sagging. It tasted great except the middle wasn’t quite done. Either I’ll bake it for the 70 minutes next time or I’ll use a tube pan. The edges were perfect. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll let you know how it turns out next time. Blessings!
I hate when that happens, Christine, but glad the outside was good. Sometimes I pop a sheet of aluminum foil over the top loosely, to stop the cake from browning too much, while still letting the cake cook a little longer.
Gorgeous looking cake! Perfect for a springtime party!
Thanks so much, Jess. One of my favourite cakes!
I have just made this fabulous cake to take to work and share with colleagues mid way through a flu vaccination clinic. It went down a treat. Next time, and there will be a next time, I may use coriander as the spice as I think it may go rather well with the rhubarb and the flaked almonds.
So glad you enjoyed it, Becky.
I love rhubarb, definitely saving for future baking. Beautiful photo’s.
Thanks Laura. This would be great with frozen rhubarb as well, if you stashed some away.
Would you have any tips for making this and then shipping it? I’d like to make it for Father’s Day and then perhaps pack it in a tin and mail it overnight? 2-day? My father loves loves loves rhubarb so any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Hmmm. It does keep well, so should be good to ship on that front, though I’d do overnight, if it’s affordable – just so it’s as fresh as possible. It’s also a fairly sturdy cake, so I think if you let it cool and then wrap well, it should be good. I’d do a layer of plastic wrap around it and then several layers of foil wrap. You could also ship it in the springform pan, for the ultimate in protection. Maybe the pan is a Father’s Day gift, too :)
I am making this for coffee this afternoon
Last week I made a rhubarb custard pie that was to die for….I will let you know how this goes for me….sure looks good. I am tired of my oold recipe that I have had for 35 yrs.
Enjoy! I do love rhubarb custard pie too.
Cut my slice of the cake; added a dollop of whipped cream and have been won over…..very nice. Thank you.
So glad you enjoyed it!
Wow! This looks great! Love rhubarb!
Your pictures are amazing!
Thanks so much Jennifer. I loved this cake. If you are a fan of rhubarb I am sure you would enjoy it.
Your cake looks so delicious, I’ve just started baking with rhubarb and this looks a recipe to make really soon. It sounds fantastic!
Thanks Laura. I love baking with rhubarb. One of my favourites, I think. Enjoy!
I made it and love, love, loved it! Perfect with vanilla ice cream :)
Glad you enjoyed it Benthe!
This looks amazing! I’ve never been one to enjoy rhubarb, ever since I had one bite of a really bad rhubarb pie. However, since then I’ve grown to enjoy it. I recently posted a saucy rhubarb dessert. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’ll have to convert it to gluten free!
Thanks Carla. I think a bit of almond meal would be nice in this, when you’re converting.
That is a seriously gorgeous looking cake! I’ve never really tried cooking with rhubarb, but your photos are making me really want to give it a go!
Thanks so much, Rosie. Hope you get a chance to try it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how nice cooked rhubarb is.
I love rhubarb and this cake looks delicious! Have a great day!
Thanks so much, Katarina.
Hi Jennifer – this cake looks fab! Rhubarb reminds me of my childhood when it used to grow in my Mum’s garden. Me and my friend would pick it straight out of the ground and were given a bowl of sugar to dip it in – I cannot believe nowadays that we were ever given sugar with our fruit! Anyway your cake proves that there is a more grown up way to enjoy the sweetness of the rhubarb and sugar combo! Thanks for this recipe – I love your blog, it is one of my favourites.
Hi! And thanks so much. We would eat rhubarb that way when I was young as well. Great memory. This cake is definitely in the same spirit.
I wanted to make something with rhubarb last week and I couldn’t find frozen rhubarb anywhere! I remember seeing once in the grocery store but I can’t find it anymore. When it finally comes in season I’m definitely stocking up, freezing it and making this cake….and the recipe I was originally going to make!
Hi Liz. I saw some in the store recently too, but just couldn’t bring myself to buy it when it grows like a bad weed around here :) Hope you get a chance to try this. It was delicious.
My rhubarb is just poking its head out too, and I can’t wait to chop it up and make it into a beautiful cake like this one!
I’m sure you’d enjoy this cake Renee. It’s been a hit here and keeps really well.
How good does that look! My husband adores rhubarb. I should make this :) Could pass as a coffeecake for breakfast, yes? The texture looks amazing!
Thanks Sophie and absolutely, could work for breakfast. It’s great morning, noon and night!
There’s so much rhubarb around at the moment and I love it! Gorgeous looking cake.
Thanks so much. I think this is my new favourite rhubarb treat. I’ll definitely be making it again when my rhubarb is ready.