Polish Rhubarb Crumb Cake – Placek z Rabarbarem

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This Polish Rhubarb Crumb cake is truly going to exceed your expectations.

Rhubarb being a sour veggie, yes veggie may not be your go to snack. It is perfect thus to use in a cake, like this Polish Rhubarb Cake – Placek z Rabarbarem i kruszonka. Rhubarb’s tartness paired with a sweet, buttery crumble and pillowy cinnamon cake is a match made in dessert heaven, reminiscent of a classic crumb cake.  I’m not kidding! I just had a bite, and it is way more than what I expected it to be from a Rhubarb Cake.

front view of rhubarb cake, slices stacked up

Whether you are a season baker or just starting up, this Polish Rhubarb Cake is perfect to make for any occasion. Unique flavors and simple preparation, I don’t need more convincing to make it.

Go ahead and try it yourself, celebrate the vibrant, seasonal produce of spring and early summer with this Polish Rhubarb Cake.

Why you love this Rhubarb Crumb Cake Recipe

Unique flavor – perfectly balanced, lightly sweet and tart, a unique and refreshing taste.

Seasonal – rhubarb is a seasonal ingredient, and using it in cakes makes the most of its short availability, making the treat feel special and timely.

Texture – pillowy soft, moist cake and crunchy crumble topping offers a delightful mix of textures in every bite.

baked rhubarb cake, front view, drizzle of glaze

Ingredients, Variations and Substitutions

All-purpose flour – ensure it’s measured correctly to avoid a dense cake. Use whole wheat flour, for a nuttier flavor, or gluten-free flour blend (for a gluten-free option).

Rhubarb – the star ingredient, providing tartness with its tangy pieces. Use fresh, firm stalks. Alternatively frozen rhubarb can be used (thawed and drained), or tart apples (for a different flavor). Pink rhubarb can be used as a substitute. It offers a similar tart flavor and texture, making it a great alternative.

Baking soda – helps the cake rise. Ensure it is fresh for proper leavening. If you don’t have it handy use 4 times the amount of baking powder.

Baking powder – another leavening agent to help the cake rise. Check the expiration date for effectiveness. As a substitute you can use an additional ¼ tsp baking soda plus ½ tsp cream of tartar.

Butter – adds richness and moisture to the cake. Use soften butter for even mixing. Alternatively you can use margarine, vegetable oil (for a dairy-free option, though the texture might be slightly different).

Brown sugar – used both in the cake and the crumble, adds sweetness and a hint of molasses. Considerations: Pack it firmly when measuring. You can use coconut sugar as a great substitute.

White sugar – sweetens the cake. Make sure to cream it well with the butter for a light texture. You can also use cane sugar, coconut sugar (for a more caramel-like flavor), or honey/maple syrup.

Eggs – they provide structure and moisture for the cake. Use eggs at room temperature, they will blend more smoothly. For vegan option use flax eggs, or ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce.

Egg yolk – adds extra richness. As a substitution you can use 1 tablespoon of heavy cream or milk.

ingredients for rhubarb cake

Vanilla – flavor and aroma. Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor. Great alternatives are almond extract, or vanilla bean paste.

Greek yogurt or sour cream – adds moisture and tanginess. Full-fat versions will give the best texture. Buttermilk, crème fraîche, or non-dairy yogurt (for a dairy-free option) are great alternatives.

Powdered sugar – it is used to sweeten and balance the tartness of the rhubarb. You can also use granulated sugar (though it may alter texture slightly).

Equipment you will need 

  • Mixing Bowls
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Stand mixer or hand mixer 
  • Spatula or Wooden Spoon:
  • Knife and Cutting Board
  • Baking Pan 
  • Parchment Paper or Non-stick Spray
  • Whisk 
  • Cooling Rack
  • Pastry Cutter or Fork
squares of rhubarb cake, close up

Top Tips for best tasting Polish Rhubarb Cake

Room temperature ingredients – make sure butter, eggs, and yogurt/sour cream are at room temperature. This helps them blend more easily and evenly into the batter.

Properly measure flour – use the spoon-and-level method to measure flour. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a knife to avoid packing it down, which can lead to a dense cake.

Cream butter and sugar – beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This incorporates air into the batter, making the cake light and pillowy.

Fresh baking powder and soda – ensure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh. Old leavening agents can cause the cake to not rise properly.

Gentle mixing – when combining the dry and wet ingredients, mix just until incorporated. Overmixing can develop the gluten in the flour too much, leading to a tougher cake.

Prep rhubarb properly – chop the rhubarb into even pieces to ensure it cooks evenly. If using frozen rhubarb, thaw and drain it well to avoid excess moisture in the cake. Quick note – Rhubarb will turn anything it touches pink, so make sure to use a washable cutting board and wash your hands immediately after handling. You may want to wear gloves.

Check for doneness – use a toothpick to check if the cake is done. Insert it into the center; it should come out clean or with a few crumbs, but not wet batter.

Cool Completely – let the cake cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack before cutting. This helps set the structure and flavors.

front view of rhubarb cake, slices stacked up

Step by step instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Line a 9×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper or lightly grease it with non-stick spray.
  • Wash and chop 2 cups of fresh rhubarb into even pieces.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped rhubarb with 3 tbsp of flour and 3 tbsp of powdered sugar. Toss until the rhubarb is evenly coated. Set aside.

  • Make the crumble – in another mixer bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, ½ cup of softened butter, ½ cup of brown sugar, ½ cup of white sugar, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Use a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers to mix the ingredients together until they form a crumbly texture. Set aside. I put mine in the fridge to keep it cool.

  • In a large mixing bowl, sift or whisk together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tsp of baking soda, and 1 tsp of baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat ½ cup of softened butter and ½ cup of granulated white sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

  • Add the 3 room temperature eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the egg yolk and 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and continue to beat until well combined. Finish by adding the 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt or sour cream.
  • Gradually add the dry flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix just until combined, being careful not to overmix.

  • Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  • Evenly distribute the rhubarb mixture over the top of the batter, with the red/ pink rhubarb studding the surface.
  • Sprinkle the reserved crumb topping evenly over the rhubarb layer.

  • Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  • You can drizzle the top with powdered sugar glaze

How to best enjoy Polish Rhubarb Cake

Serve warm or room temperature – this cake is delicious whether served warm or at room temperature. If you prefer it warm, reheat individual slices in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds.

Add a dollop of cream – enhance the flavor by serving it with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a spoonful of crème fraîche.

Pair with fresh fruits – complement the tartness of the rhubarb by serving the cake with fresh fruits like strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries.

Dust with powdered sugar – for an extra touch of sweetness and a beautiful presentation, dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar before serving.

Drizzle with Sauce – a light drizzle of vanilla sauce, a drop of honey or rhubarb butter can add an extra layer of flavor.

front view of rhubarb cake, slices stacked up, scoop of ice cream

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top view, slices of rhubarb cake on plates, spoons and a dish with rhubarb butter

Storage instructions, reheating

Short-Term Storage:

  • Store the cake in an airtight container.
  • Keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days.
  • Ensure the container is well-sealed to maintain the cake’s moisture and freshness.

In the Refrigerator:

  • Transfer the cake to an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Bring the cake to room temperature before serving for the best texture and flavor.

In the Freezer:

  • Cut the cake into individual slices for easier thawing and serving.
  • Wrap each slice tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  • Place the wrapped slices in a freezer-safe bag or container.
  • Label the bag or container with the date.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To thaw, transfer the desired number of slices to the refrigerator and let them thaw overnight, or let them sit at room temperature for a couple of hours.

Reheating Instructions:

From Room Temperature or Refrigerator:

  • Microwave:
    • Place a slice on a microwave-safe plate.
    • Heat on medium power for 10-15 seconds, or until warmed through.
    • Be careful not to overheat, as this can dry out the cake.
  • Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C).
    • Place the desired number of slices on a baking sheet.
    • Cover with aluminum foil to prevent drying out.
    • Warm in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.
  • From Frozen:
  • Microwave:
    • Place a frozen slice on a microwave-safe plate.
    • Heat on medium power for 20-30 seconds, or until thawed and warmed through.
    • Adjust the time as needed, checking frequently to avoid overheating.
  • Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C).
    • Place the frozen slices on a baking sheet.
    • Cover with aluminum foil to retain moisture.
    • Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until fully thawed and warmed through.
  • Additional Tips:
    • Moisture: If reheating in the microwave, you can place a small cup of water in the microwave with the cake to help maintain moisture.
    • Crisp Topping: For a crisper crumb topping, reheating in the oven is preferable.

top view, slices of rhubarb cake on various plates, spoons and a dish with rhubarb butter

Polish Rhubarb Cake – Placek z rabarbarem

Sylwia Vaclavek
Tart rhubarb is perfect for this cake. Paired with a sweet and buttery crumble it is match made in dessert heaven
No ratings yet
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Polish
Servings 16
Calories 296 kcal

Equipment

  • mixing bowls
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • stand mixer or hand mixer
  • Knife and cutting board
  • baking pan, 9×9
  • parchment paper or non-stick spray
  • whisk
  • cooling rack
  • pastry cutter or fork

Ingredients
 
 

Cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar
  • 3 eggs at room temp
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup greek yogurt or sour cream

Filling

  • 2 cups fresh rhubarb
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar

Crumble

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup of butter softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Line a 9×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper or lightly grease it with non-stick spray.
  • Wash and chop 2 cups of fresh rhubarb into even pieces.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the rhubarb with 3 tbsp of flour and 3 tbsp of powdered sugar. Toss until the rhubarb is evenly coated. Set aside.
  • In another mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, ½ cup of softened butter, ½ cup of brown sugar, ½ cup of white sugar, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Use a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers to mix the ingredients together until they form a crumbly texture. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, sift or whisk together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tsp of baking soda, and 1 tsp of baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat ½ cup of softened butter and ½ cup of granulated white sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the 3 room temperature eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the egg yolk and 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and continue to beat until well combined.
  • Gradually add the dry flour mixture to the wet ingredients, alternating with ½ cup of Greek yogurt or sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined, being careful not to overmix.
  • Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared baking pan.
  • Evenly distribute the rhubarb mixture over the top of the batter, with the red/ pink rhubarb studding the surface.
  • Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the rhubarb layer.
  • Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack.

Notes

Use room temperature ingredients – this helps them blend more easily and evenly
Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, this will  make the cake light and pillowy in texture.
Mix the ingredients just until incorporated. Overmixing can develop the gluten in the flour too much, leading to a tougher cake.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 296kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 5gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 204mgPotassium: 106mgFiber: 1gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 431IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 1mg
Keyword placek z rabarbarem, rabarbar, rhubarb, rhubarb cake
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Conclusion

I bet, by now this Polish Rhubarb Cake – Placek z Rabarbarem i kruszonka sounds like dessert you will be making this summer.

Whether you are planning on sharing it with friends and family or enjoying a slice with your afternoon tea, this rhubarb cake will become a favorite.

Combination of simple ingredients that put together balance the tartness of rhubarb with a sweet cake and crumbly topping. Sounds like the Polish Rhubarb Cake has it all. Perfect for any occasion, it’s a wonderful way to enjoy seasonal produce of spring and early summer.

Get the ingredients, preheat your oven, and just make it. You are in for a delicious treat.

FAQ

Can I use frozen rhubarb instead of fresh?

Yes, you can use frozen rhubarb. Thaw and drain it well before using in the recipe. Keep in mind that frozen rhubarb may release more moisture during baking, so adjust the flour in the filling accordingly.

Can I substitute rhubarb with other fruits?

While rhubarb is traditional for this Polish Rhubarb Cake, you can experiment with other fruits like tart apples, strawberries, or raspberries. Just keep in mind that the flavor and texture may vary.

Can I use non-dairy substitutes for butter and yogurt/sour cream?

Yes, you can substitute margarine for butter and non-dairy yogurt or sour cream for Greek yogurt or sour cream. Keep in mind that this may slightly alter the taste and texture of the cake.

How do I know when the cake is done baking?

Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, the cake is done. Avoid overbaking, as it can result in a dry cake.

Can I make this cake ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the cake ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Alternatively, you can freeze individual slices for longer storage.

How should I store leftovers?

Store leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Click HERE to read more about storage.

Can I omit the crumb topping?

Yes, you can. The cake will still be delicious, but the topping adds a nice textural contrast and sweetness.

Can I use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour?

Yes, you can substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour, but it may result in a denser texture. You can also use a blend of whole wheat and all-purpose flour for a balance of flavor and texture.

Can I make this cake gluten-free?

Yes, you can use a gluten-free flour blend in place of all-purpose flour. Additionally, ensure that your baking powder and baking soda are certified gluten-free.

Can I reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe?

Yes, you can reduce the amount of sugar in the cake batter or crumb topping to suit your taste preferences. However, keep in mind that sugar adds moisture and tenderness to baked goods, so reducing it too much may affect the texture of the cake.

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