Almond Rhubarb Cake

A light and fluffy cake filled and decorated with sliced rhubarb, this Almond Rhubarb Cake is delicious for breakfast, or for dessert with a big scoop of ice cream.  Skip the strawberries and let the rhubarb flavor shine!

slice of almond rhubarb cake on a blue dessert plate with a big scoop of ice cream

Here’s the thing about rhubarb: do you actually know what it tastes like on its own?  I mean, when’s the last time you had something that was just plain rhubarb flavored?  Not rhubarb paired with another fruit?

I get it.  Rhubarb does pair perfectly with so many other fruits.  (Examples: strawberry rhubarb oatmeal bars, blueberry rhubarb pie). It helps balance out fruits that can otherwise be too overwhelmingly sweet.

But sometimes, it’s nice to just let rhubarb star on its own.  Or let it hang with a more mellow flavor.

Like oh, say, almond.  Like perhaps an almond rhubarb cake, maybe?

You could eat a slice of this almond rhubarb cake for breakfast with a cup of coffee and call it a coffee cake.  Oooooor…you can top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and pour the leftover rhubarb sugar syrup on top and call it dessert.

Or, you know, call it an even better breakfast.  I trust you know which way is the best way to serve this cake.

side view of a coffee cake topped with slices of sugar-soaked rhubarb

Ingredients and Substitutions

When it comes to making almond rhubarb cake, there are a few key ingredients that you’ll need to have on hand. Let’s go over the ingredients you’ll need, as well as some substitutions you can make if needed.

  • Rhubarb: Obviously, the star of this cake! There is no flavor difference between green and red rhubarb, but of course, using redder rhubarb makes for a prettier end result.
  • Sugar: We’re using both granulated and brown sugar in this recipe.
  • Butter: Make sure the butter is at cool room temperature before beating with the sugar – the butter should be around 65°F.
  • Eggs: The eggs should also be at room temperature before adding to the batter.
  • Vanilla/Almond Extracts: We’re adding both vanilla and almond extract for the best flavor.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour, properly measured. To keep the cake gluten-free, you can use a 1:1 direct substitution gluten-free baking mix.
  • Almond Flour: Of course, since this is an almond cake, we’ll also use some almond flour. Feel free to substitute another nut flour, like hazelnut flour, or skip the nut flour and use all all-purpose flour as well.
  • Buttermilk: Buttermilk helps keeps cakes light and tender. If you don’t have buttermilk, add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar to the buttermilk and let it sit for 5 minutes before adding to the batter.
  • Sour Cream: Sour cream also helps keep the cake tender by coating the flour molecules with additional fat. Full-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt can be used instead of sour cream.
overhead view of a coffee cake topped with bright red stalks of rhubarb

Sugar-Coated Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Rhubarb is such a beautiful color, and I really wanted to highlight this, rather than just dispersing it in the cake.  But it’s also pretty stalky and crunchy, and kind of tart.

So to solve this problem, the first step is soaking some long strips of rhubarb in sugar.  Why do we do this? It’s. time for my favorite subject, kitchen chemistry!

Kitchen Chemistry

Rhubarb is naturally crunchy and stalky. To soften the texture and sweeten the tart flavor, cover the rhubarb with sugar and let it sit. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water molecules — the sugar will draw out moisture from the rhubarb, creating a syrup-like liquid and leaving behind soft, pliable pieces.

Oh, and that sugary rhubarb syrup? It is delicious drizzled over the cake just before serving.

The base of the cake is an almond flour coffee cake, using both all-purpose and almond flour (but you can substitute in all all-purpose flour if you don’t have almond flour).

And of course, we’ll top the cake with a streusel-like crumb topping. What kind of coffee cake doesn’t have a delicious topping?

Once you spread the batter into the prepared cake pan and crumble the streusel over the top, arrange the sugar-soaked rhubarb slices around the edge of the cake. (Or just scatter randomly on top – it’s delicious either way!)

slice of rhubarb cake with a big scoop of ice cream on top
  • Mixing Bowls: My favorite set of mixing bowls – microwave and dishwasher-safe and all the sizes you could possibly need.
  • Springform Pan: While you can bake this in any round 9-inch cake pan, a springform pan makes removal so much easier.
  • Stand Mixer: Use an electric mixer, like this stand mixer, to cream together the butter and sugar.
  • Beater Blade: I always use a Beater Blade with my stand mixer to continuously scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Cooling Rack: This three-tiered cooling rack folds down for easy storage.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Almond Rhubarb Cake

  1. Make sure the butter is at cool room temperature before creaming it with the sugar. If it is too cold, the mixture will not become light and fluffy and provide the proper lift, but if it is too warm, the cake will have a slightly greasy texture.
  2. If you don’t have almond flour, you can make your own almond flour by grinding blanched almonds in a food processor until they become a fine, sandy texture.
  3. Not an almond fan? Allergy? Leave out the almond altogether – use all all-purpose flour instead of the almond flour and skip the almond extract. If you’re looking for another great flavor to pair with the rhubarb, try adding a little crystallized or powdered ginger to the cake batter and crumble.
  4. Love almonds? Add a little extra crunch by scattering some slivered almonds on top of the cake before baking.
  5. When choosing rhubarb at the market, look for stalks that are firm and crisp, not wilted, limp, or with any brown spots. Thinner stalks are generally more tender and sweeter than thicker stalks. Store the rhubarb in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer, wrapped in a damp paper towel.

More Easy Fruit Snack Cakes:

slice of rhubarb almond coffee cake with a scoop of ice cream on top

Almond Rhubarb Cake

Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

A light and fluffy cake filled and decorated with sliced rhubarb, this almond rhubarb cake is delicious for breakfast, or for dessert with a big scoop of ice cream.


  • 4 stalks rhubarb
  • 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (106 grams) brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (170 grams), room temperature, divided
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream


  1. Cut 3 of the stalks of rhubarb in half lengthwise, then cut into 3-inch pieces.  Toss cut rhubarb with 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar and let sit until sugar dissolves, about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
  3. Chop the remaining stalk of rhubarb into 1/4-inch pieces.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup (113 grams) of butter at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Slowly add in the remaining 3/4 cup (149 grams) of granulated sugar and brown sugar, beating well.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.  Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  5. Mix together 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (180 grams), almond flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add half the dry ingredients, followed by the buttermilk, and then the remaining dry ingredients. Mix in the sour cream.  Beat at low speed after each addition until just combined.  Stir in chopped rhubarb.  Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  6. To make the streusel topping, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter.  Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup (60 grams) of all-purpose flour.  Drop tablespoons of the topping over the cake.  Drain the rhubarb, reserving the syrup, and arrange it over top of the streusel topping.
  7. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the center of the cake is set and a tester comes out with moist crumbs.  Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack before unmolding the cake.  Serve at room temperature with reserved rhubarb sugar syrup.


This almond rhubarb cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, refrigerated for up to a week, or wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in an airtight freezer bag for up to 3 months.  Defrost at room temperature.

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Almond Rhubarb Cake is the perfect easy spring or summer dessert (or breakfast!), especially when it's topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of rhubarb syrup.