Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake

Tender, buttery, and loaded with brown sugar streusel, this rhubarb coffee cake is an easy way to use up spring’s bounty. Try this recipe with any seasonal fruit: berries, peaches, sour cherries, plums, or apricots. See this recipe for a gluten-free and/or dairy-free coffee cake variation. 

close up of Rhubarb Coffee Cake slice
Synchronicity is a funny thing. Like the time I got into a friend’s car to find him playing Tom Jobim’s Aquas do Março, a classic Brazilian bossa nova song I’d been, unbeknownst to him, obsessing over for the past month.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake with fork
Or the summer I ran into my high school art history teacher in a tiny church in a little-known French town which we had studied in his class.

slices of rhubarb with sugar
Or a few weeks ago when a friend messaged me that she was bringing rhubarb coffee cake to a potluck when I’d spent the day looking for just the right recipe. Her coffee cake was nothing short of spectacular; my only complaint was that there wasn’t ten times more! The piece I devoured at said potluck, huddled outside in the cold so as to hoard it all to myself, only made me hunger for more.

slices of rhubarb in cake batter
So I set out to make a rhubarb coffee cake – one that I wouldn’t have to share (without having to huddle outside, but rather lounge in my cozy apartment on the couch/ in the bath/ on the kitchen counter). I sat down with a stack of coffee cake recipes that I’d made over the years, muddled them together, and ended up with something which I was torn between wanting to hoard and conversely wished to run up to strangers shouting, ‘I made this!’ and shove a piece in their mouth. (I did a bit of both.)

top down shot of rhubarb coffee cake in a baking panCrafting My Best Rhubarb Coffee Cake Recipe

Like most things food-related, I have some preconceived notions about coffee cake. My ideal coffee cake combines a buttery yellow cake with chunks of meltingly tender fruit and plenty of salty, crisp streusel in every bite.

streusel on top of rhubarb coffee cake
The fruit should melt into the cake, which should bubble up through the streusel. The cake should be rich, but not so buttery as to be heavy or leave a greasy mouthfeel. It should be moist, but not so wet that it takes hours to bake (I’ve been there.)

rhubarb coffee cake in a baking pan
It should be delicate enough to crumble under the pressure of a fork, yet sturdy enough to travel well. It should be tall enough to cut into generous cubes. It should not be so sweet as to dissuade you from making it breakfast, but decadent enough that you wouldn’t feel cheated having it for dessert, preferably with a warm beverage either way.

sliced rhubarb coffee cake with piece taken out
This coffeecake is all those things and more; I even witnessed if not a converting of than at least a tolerating by former rhubarb haters and some of the pickiest eaters I know. (After taking several bites: ‘Why did you tell me there were vegetables in here? Now you’ve ruined it.’ Takes another bite. Takes another. Finishes piece. Accepts offer of another.)

top down shot of rhubarb coffee cake on plates
This rhubarb coffee cake recipe is mainly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Sour Cherry coffeecake. I doubled the streusel, and used yogurt and a bit of half and half (which I almost always have in the house) in place of the sour cream (which I rarely have around) which gave it a pleasantly light texture. I baked it in a 9″ square pan rather than a tube pan, omitted the glaze, and used chunks of rosy red rhubarb tossed with sugar in place of the cherries.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake on a plateCoffee Cake All Year Round

It is quite a straightforward recipe, with easy-to-remember quantities. I’m looking forward to trying it with other fruits throughout the seasons, such as berries, peaches, sour cherries, ripe pears (with cardamom), plums, or apricots. You could add sliced almonds or chopped, toasted pecans to the topping if you’re a nut lover.

fork cutting into a piece of rhubarb cake

Looking for more rhubarb recipes? Try these:

More Coffee Cake Recipes:

*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram,  Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this rhubarb coffee cake recipe, I’d love to know. Leave a comment and rating below, and tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet  and  #bojongourmet.*

3.49 from 31 votes

Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake

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With a moist, tender crumb, salty streusel, and tangy bites of rhubarb, you won't be able to resist this easy and delicious coffee cake. Spring on a plate!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 16 2" squares (one 9x9" cake)



  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick butter, softened but cool (6 tablespoons)


  • 1 stick butter, softened, plus a bit more for the pan
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 3-4 large stalks rhubarb, in 1/2" slices (2 1/2 cups or 250 g)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


For the streusel:

  • Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the butter, and work with your fingers or paddle on low until the mixture begins to clump together. Set aside at room temperature.

For the cake:

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350º. Grease a 9 x 9 x 2" square pan generously with butter.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (or a bowl with a wooden spoon if you are badass) cream the butter and sugar together on medium until light and fluffy, 3 - 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each, then stir in the vanilla.
  • While the wets are doing their thing, sift the dries into a medium bowl. Toss the rhubarb with the tablespoon of sugar and set aside. Stir together the yogurt and half and half.
  • With the mixer on low, alternate adding the dries and the dairy in three parts, beginning and ending with the dries and mixing until just combined after each addition. Give the batter a fold with a rubber spatula to make sure it is homogenous.
  • Spread a little more than half the batter in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the rhubarb evenly over the top. Cover with the rest of the batter, and sprinkle with the streusel, squeezing into almond sized clumps if necessary.
  • Bake the coffeecake for 50-60 minutes until it is golden brown, beginning to pull away from the sides, springs back to the touch, and passes the toothpick test. Let cool for about 1 hour. Cut into 16 squares.
  • The coffeecake is best the day it's baked when the streusel is crisp, but will keep for several days at room temperature, or in the fridge for up to a week (but I would warm it up in a toaster oven before eating).


If you forget to soften your butter ahead of time, no worries: cut it into small pieces and let it sit out while you get your other ingredients in place. If your butter is still chilly, you can make the streusel in a stand mixer with the paddle for ease, and warm the butter for the cake by placing the bowl over your oven while it preheats.
For the dairy portion of the cake, I used a combination of yogurt and half and half, which I usually have around. I love the light texture I ended up with, but suspect the cake would work with buttermilk, milk, sour cream or any combination thereof.
For a gluten-free and/or dairy-free variation, see this coffee cake recipe, swapping in rhubarb for the berries as directed. 
Nutritional values are based on one of sixteen squares.


Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 396mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 3.1mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 1.4mg
Making this? I'd love to see!Tag your snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet!

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27 thoughts on “Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake”

  1. HI! I know this is an old blog post of yours and you might not ever see my comment but I wanted to tell you that I made this today for a church brunch. I have not yet eaten it but I am sure it will be great!! We always have an over abundance of rhubarb in my mother in laws garden that she gives us so I googled and found this. I liked reading this as well. You have a way with words. :) And I will also say the photos are great too. I have a part time portrait photography business so I can appreciate good photographs! I love to bake and cook and have thought about blogging on my photography blog recipes that I have tried. I might just have to do that now! Thanks for the recipe and I am sure it will go over very well at church!!!

  2. Thank you for the kind words! I'm glad the coffeecake seems to have turned out well. Judging by your portraits, I'm sure your food photos will be exquisite. Happy blogging!

  3. This was really good! I made it as written, Thanks for posting this recipe. My family ate up one yesterday, and it was nice to have the second one handy this morning for a fast breakfast. I’ll definately be making this one agian.

  4. Please, oh please could you give the butter quantities in grams? We don’t buy butter in sticks in Europe and measuring butter in cups or spoonfuls is so awkward.
    Looks like a great recipe, though…..

      1. Sorry, that still doesn’t explain how much a “stick” of butter is, to those of us not in the USA ! Also, what is “half & half”?

        1. A stick of butter is 113g and “half and half” is used for coffee in the US; it’s half full cream and half milk. So basically any cream with less fat than whipping cream should work.

  5. Hi! You may not see this, but how much rhubarb? I have stalks that are literally three feet long and fat, and stalks that are one foot long and skinny.

  6. Yes PLEASE!! The amount of rhubarb by cups. Saying how many stalks is too vague as they come in all sorts of variations of thickness and length!

  7. Growing up my mother use to make a similar cake. She would get so mad when her aluminum pans would be ruined. The acid in the rhubarb would eat holes in her pans. The solution was found using a glass pan.

  8. This looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it with some of the glut of rhubarb we have in our garden. Being English, I expected there to be coffee in the cake mixture – doh! I suppose in the US it is a cake to eat with a drink of coffee? Thanks for the education :-)

  9. Wonderful recipe! I have a really nice but not overwhelming amount of rhubarb this year and I look forward to making some delicious goodies with it soon. I loved reading this full post and want to say “thanks for wonderful recipe.”

  10. I’ve just made this recipe for my daughter who has a wheat allergy and substituted the regular flour with Pamela’s All Purpose flour. Hopefully it turns out as good as it looks.

    1. How did it turn out?! I’ve actually been working on a gluten-free version of this made with my own blend of flours. Let me know if you’d like to test out the recipe – I’d be happy to email you a sneak peek! :)

  11. Used sour cream and buttermilk and this Rhubarb coffee cake is one of the best I have made. The cake is so light and fluffy and moist all at the same time. Definitely one that will be added to my recipe book. Thanks….

  12. When you increase/double the recipe using the serving setting, the measurements in parenthesis do not increase.