Rhubarb Cake with Vanilla Sauce

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 9 servings

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This Rhubarb Cake with Vanilla Sauce is so moist, loaded with rhubarb and topped with a simple streusel. Serve it with warm vanilla sauce for the ultimate Spring dessert!

rhubarb cake whole overhead on grey marble background

One of my goals for 2019 has been to cook and bake more for fun.

Although I love food blogging, and I feel like the luckiest person on the Earth to be able to work from home, dreaming up all sorts of recipes, there are times when it is a lot more like work and a lot less like fun.

In fact, it is this way most of the time.

For that reason, I’ve been trying to get myself flipping through cookbooks and magazines, finding things that get me excited about getting in the kitchen and then making them just for fun.

This Rhubarb Cake was one of those recipes.

The problem with this Rhubarb Cake though… is it was too good not to share.

I found it in one of my mom’s old issues of Taste of Home (she generously donated hundreds and hundreds of cooking magazines to my cause this last year when the moved), and I had to make it as soon as I saw it.

It was awesome, but it really had no rhubarb flavour.

So I doubled the rhubarb, and now it is one of my favorite Spring cakes! The warm vanilla sauce is pretty rich and sweet, but it goes perfectly with the tangy rhubarb.

If you want to skip that step, this cake is amazing even without it.

rhubarb cake piece cut out of whole on grey marble background

It ticks all of my boxes, and then some. If you’re a rhubarb lover, you need to add this to your Spring baking list!

Want to mix things up? Try swapping some of the rhubarb for fresh chopped strawberries!

Reasons to love this Rhubarb Cake with warm Vanilla Sauce:

  • It is very easy to mix up, thanks to a few swaps I made from the original recipe. Just a bowl and a whisk and you’re set!
  • This rhubarb cake is incredibly moist and never dry!
  • It makes a 9×9″ or 9×13″ pan, which gives you a lot of flexibility in bake time and cake size.
  • Streusel.
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How to make rhubarb cake:

  1. Whisk together the wet ingredients.
  2. Whisk in the dry ingredients.
  3. Stir in the rhubarb.
  4. Mix up the streusel and crumble that glorious stuff allllllll over the top.
  5. Bake!

See how painless that was?

rhubarb cake piece on white plate with rest of cake in the background

How to store rhubarb cake:

Cake is one of those things that can easily be made ahead and stores perfectly.

You can make this cake, bake, cover and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. Keep in mind that the streusel is crispiest when it’s fresh, and as it is stored, covered, some moisture seeps in and makes it softer. Still delicious, just not as crunchy.

You can make this cake, bake, cover, and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, simply leave out at room temperature for 3-4 hours, and warm in a 250 degree oven if desired.

To make the vanilla sauce ahead, simply prepare, place in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days, and warm gently in the microwave before serving.

Looking for more rhubarb recipes?

rhubarb cake with warm vanilla sauce being drizzled over on white plate
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Rhubarb Cake with Warm Vanilla Sauce

4.88 from 16 votes
This Rhubarb Cake with Vanilla Sauce is so moist, loaded with rhubarb and topped with a simple streusel. Serve it with warm vanilla sauce for the ultimate Spring dessert! 
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 9 servings
Calories 483cal


Rhubarb Cake

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or sub regular milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (fluffed and levelled, or 260g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen, thawed, about 600g)


  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour (32g)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50g)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Vanilla Sauce

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150g)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (or sub whole milk or half and half)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Rhubarb Cake with Streusel

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9×9″ or 9×13″ pan (both work fine — if you use a 9×13″ it will bake for less time and be a shorter cake.)
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add buttermilk, egg and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir until combined. Stir in the rhubarb and spread into prepared pan.
  • To make the streusel, combine melted flour, sugar and melted butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over cake.
  • Bake for 55-65 minutes for a 9×9″ pan, or 35-45 minutes for a 9×13″ pan, until a toothpick comes out clean or with moist crumbs. (Check first at the earliest time, and add time in 5 minute intervals until it is baked through) If the edges begin to darken too much, cover with foil for the last 15-20 minutes of bake time.

Vanilla Sauce

  • In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add the sugar and milk and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often. 
  • Boil for 3-4 minutes, until thickened slightly. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm with cake.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 483cal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 355mg | Potassium: 316mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 555IU | Vitamin C: 4.6mg | Calcium: 144mg | Iron: 1.7mg
Keywords rhubarb cake, rhubarb recipe

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Val Cooper says

    I made this cake today with the intention of freezing it for a 4 day river float trip. I thought I had 4 cups of rhubarb and only had 3 1/2. 😕 I also double the topping. 👍 It’s very good. I plan on freezing it. My question is, can you freeze the butter sauce? I plan on taking it frozen in the cooler and I can heat it up on the camp stove at camp. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Val! So glad you enjoyed the cake! I’ve not tried to freeze the sauce before so I have no idea how it would be to unfreeze it. I’m assuming you could but would need to be mixed well again over heat. Would love to know how it turns out if you decide to try it!

  2. Andrea says

    When I made this cake, I did not read your article – just the recipe. I poured the vanilla sauce all over the finished cake and served it that way. It was delicious. I had ladies over for a meeting and they thought it was amazing. It was also quite easy and fast to make. Thank you.

  3. Diane says

    I baked this cake in a round Bundt pan, but had to bake it longer with the deeper layer.
    It was so yummy with the Vanilla Sauce, which I made with 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup milk. Could use that delicious sauce over other desserts too❣️

  4. ELIZABETH says

    And your vanilla sauce recipe you don’t say anything about vanilla when mixing it probably needs to be corrected

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Elizabeth, I’m sorry I don’t understand what you are trying to say. The ingredients for the vanilla sauce are in the recipe card listed under vanilla sauce. In the instructions it’s listed under vanilla sauce on how to cook it. And then you just serve it over your cake.

      • Josephine B says

        Hi Ashley, I think Elizabeth is referring to that you haven’t mentioned “when” to add the vanilla. She only needs to add the vanilla in with the sugar and milk, but some people seem to need FULL instructions.
        I love all your recipes and make at least a couple each week, keep up the good work.
        Haven’t actually made this one as yet as we don’t have rhubarb season here yet in Australia, but WILL keep your idea of freezing when it comes into season as we love it and can’t get enough of it whether for cakes or main dishes.

      • Ashley Fehr says

        Thanks for helping with that Josephine! I’m glad you are enjoying the recipes 🙂 I have corrected the recipe so that the vanilla is added in the sauce!

      • Mary says

        This cake…. made it last night. It’s almost gone. I’ll be baking another tomorrow. I doubled the streusel. But oh man it’s sooo good! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jessica says

    Hi Ashley, do you think I could add chopped strawberries to this recipe? What would I need to adjust? Thank you!

  6. Steph says

    This recipe reminds me of all things rhubarb we’d eat growing up because it was my dad’s favorite dessert!

4.88 from 16 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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