Rhubarb Coffee Cake With Cardamom-Ginger Crumble

April 13, 2019
19 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Makes one 9-inch round cake
Author Notes

This coffee cake is fit for spring, thanks to a rhubarb jam that counterbalances the sweetness of the sponge and the lemony, gingery crumble. The end result is a beautifully balanced cake, toppling with crunchy spiced crumb that brings out the best in rhubarb—not to mention a great excuse to eat cake for breakfast. A cup of coffee is all you need to go with. —Grant Melton

What You'll Need
  • Rhubarb jam
  • 2 cups diced rhubarb (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Coffee cake with cardamom-ginger crumble
  • 2 1/2 cups flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Rhubarb jam
  2. In a small pot, combine rhubarb, sugar and cornstarch. Stir to coat all the pieces with sugar and cornstarch. Add the water and place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a bubble. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and the rhubarb breaks down, about 5 minutes. Once thickened, pour into a bowl and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  1. Coffee cake with cardamom-ginger crumble
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F and line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter with the sugar. Once combined, add the sour cream. Once mixed, add the eggs one at a time. Little by little, add in the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Then, slowly stream in the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Scrape the batter into the springform pan and carefully spread into an even layer.
  5. In the same bowl you mixed the dry ingredients, make the crumble. Put remaining 6 tablespoons butter, remaining 1 cup flour, brown sugar, flaky sea salt, ginger and cardamom into the bowl. Using your hands, mix it all together until it forms big clumps. Set aside.
  6. Pour the cooled rhubarb sauce of top of the cake. Spread the mixture leaving a 1/2-inch border around the sides. Pile the crumble on top of the sauce layer. Do not pat it down.
  7. Place the cake into the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is brown and the sides of started to pull away from the edges of the pan.
  8. Let the cake cool thoroughly before removing it from the pan.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • RavensFeast
  • Shambam2
  • Alek Meyer
    Alek Meyer
  • delicia.sampson.7
  • Ramona N, Cunningham
    Ramona N, Cunningham

32 Reviews

Olivia June 29, 2023
My fourth summer in a row baking this cake, always a hit. The ginger and cardamom in the crumble topping really complement the rhubarb well. I cut the sugar in the cake batter by about 20 grams (I like my cakes a little less sweet), and substituted 80 grams of Greek yogurt for the sour cream. I agree with the other reviews wishing the subdivisions of ingredients for cake batter vs. crumble topping were clearer--it's not too late to update the piece, Food52! People are still baking this cake!
PCOLLIER1017 June 5, 2023
I made this again using hints from another recipe. It seemed to do the trick:

Increase flour in batter to 1 2/3 cups ( one and two thirds instead of one and one half). Add 1 teaspoon of water to the crumble
heather June 4, 2023
Having the butter soft to make the crumble seems strange and the batter was not supporting the jam as i was topping it, so i guess i'm not surprised that it has sunken out of view. My cake is in the oven right now and the "crumble" is simply a pool of brown sugar and butter, some of which has sunken along with the jam.
I followed the recipe exactly, what did i do wrong?
heather June 4, 2023
Ugh, i did mess up. I forgot the flour in the crumble. BUT the rest i did do correctly. Bummed about the jam sinking. And i used a 9" pan, as directed- the amount of batter i had for the cake was quite shallow.
DeniseJohn May 27, 2023
Excellent recipe. My only comment is step #3 should give the specific amount of softened butter (1/2 C), which is how flour is handled. Love the jam!
bdc May 24, 2022
Rather frustrating to get halfway through a recipe and find out that I magically should have known that the 6 tablespoons of butter should have been reserved for the crumble. Even more frustrating to see that multiple people have commented in the four years since the recipe was posted (asking for the ingredients list/recipe to be clearer) and that this has gone ignored.
Pcollier1017#5 August 30, 2020
I made this but was a little disappointed that the cake batter when baking rose up and almost completely covered the crumble. I followed the directions (didn’t get confused with the butter), used the right size pan and baked for one hour.

I thought the cake was better the next morning. More like what I would expect a coffee cake texture to be.

Did anyone else have a problem with the crumble?
inflytur May 21, 2020
While the flavors are good the cake doesn’t really come together. The rhubarb “jam” ends up being too loose and doesn’t allow the cake to set up. I’m glad I read the previous comments about the ingredients list being confusing. I did make the cake exactly according to the instructions.
RavensFeast May 19, 2020
You have got to update the ingredient list in this recipe, stating that the butter is divided, or separating out the crumble ingredients all together. As a professional recipe writer, you Know better. I read the recipe through before baking and still missed it because of the way it’s written. It’s such a bummer to get excited about baking, choose a recipe that looks good, then proceed to waste your ingredients and time on a disappointing outcome due to improper recipe writing. With an extra 6 T. of butter in the batter, the cake was stodgy and dense. Perhaps baked as the author intended, this cake would be a winner — but, baked as written, it’s not worth the time or ingredients.
Ramona N. May 27, 2020
I have to agree about the ingredients list. Either create three sub-recipes, as the author did for the rhubarb jam--one for the cake and one for the crumble, or at the very least say "add 1/2 C. butter..."

I did not have fresh cardamom, so added cinnamon instead. Used dry buttermilk.
Queezle_Sister April 20, 2020
This is a lovely coffee cake! Ginger, Cardamom, and rhubarb is a brilliant combination, and I was thrilled at how well it came out of the pan, and how nicely the cake slices stayed together. I started with cooked rhubarb from last summer, and just sweetened and thickened it. Also, because I live a mile high, I also added an extra egg. But
Julie C. June 18, 2019
I doubled the rhubarb jam which was delicious but it made the cake a little too moist. I would definitely make it again!
Michele June 16, 2019
Made this cake with the extra 6 tbsp of butter in the batter. It was fabulous.
Claire B. June 16, 2019
I made this as directed, but used dark brown sugar in the batter and in the crumb topping. Baked it for about 50 minutes. It was delicious!
Shambam2 June 2, 2019
The recipe does not state that the butter should be divided. I didn’t realize that 6 tablespoons were for the crumble until after I started creaming all of it with the sugar. Please update the wording specifically with regards to the butter.
Bee May 30, 2019
Delicious cake! A true coffee cake! I too, baked mine in a 10" spring form, and it was done in 40-45 minutes. cake was light and not too sweet (i used brown sugar instead of white), as per the other reviews i also feel like you could double the jam, and the topping quantity was perfect and plentiful. Its a keeper recipe!
Alek M. May 29, 2019
You really need to be more clear about how to divide ingredients! This recipe is very unclear.
Angela K. May 28, 2019
I wish I would have seen the review that told me to divided the butter. I thought the cake was ok. Could have doubled the rhubarb jam. Simply just not enough rhubarb flavor. I thought the cardamon flavor was a bit odd. It ended up giving it an odd flavor with a numbing effect on the tongue.
delicia.sampson.7 May 28, 2019
That cardamon must have been super fresh. I couldn’t really taste it in what I made. I don’t know how old the spice was that I used, it was in the spice rack where I was visiting.
delicia.sampson.7 May 27, 2019
Baked this last night to have this morning. I had to make it in a 10” pan, so I shortened the baking time to 45 minutes. Also the store that I went to did not have buttermilk, so I used Kefir instead. I enjoyed the cake very much.
I have some ideas I’ll try next time I make it. I’m thinking to add sliced almonds to the crumble topping, and to the batter add some crystallized ginger.
Hayley E. May 24, 2019
It would help to have “divided” written with the butter. I added 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons butter to the batter instead using just the 1/2 cup and saving 6 tablespoons for the topping, not realizing my mistake until I got to the topping section. The corn starch was added to the jam in the same way so it didn’t occur to me that it might need to be separated. Consistency would help!
Gerry May 26, 2019
Same with the Sugar - lists 1/2 cup but it is used twice, once in the jam and second time to cream with the butter...
I baked this recipe. I believe the baking time is too long. Base was very dark and I personally love rhubarb so if I bake this again I would add extra. Otherwise a good recipe.
delicia.sampson.7 May 27, 2019
I did a similar thing. I only put the 6 tablespoons of softened butter into the mixer! Then when the batter was mixing I read through the whole recipe instructions and realized I was missing 2 tablespoons plus needed to get out more butter to soften! It’s was humorous to me, because I heard my 7th grade cooking teacher’s voice in my head saying, “Always read a recipe though first, before you start making it.” A lesson I obviously had not learned! Alls well that ends well, as it was a delicious cake.
Sam May 23, 2019
The flour used, is this all purpose flour, im from the uk, and there is many types of flour here!
Smaug May 24, 2019
Would be nice if that was specified- with a cake, you generally want a weak (low gluten) flour; you'd probably be safe with a bleached All Purpose (which is generally lower gluten than unbleached).
Lori A. May 22, 2019