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Food Eyeswoon Kitchen:

Rhubarb Cake…Get It While You Can!

Photography by Sarah Elliott

The moment rhubarb’s vibrant pink stalks begin to make appearances at the farmers market I dream up all of the various ways I can show them off. I mean she is practically neon pink, which in and of itself demands attention. In addition to being beautiful, she’s also exclusive – she is only around for a few short months in spring. While she looks, tastes, and acts like a fruit, she is really a vegetable – the predicament is kind of like a tomato or a cucumber. And most important of all is her flavor. She is tart and bitter, so in order for her to play nice in the flavor playground, her friends must really get to know her. She’s a tricky one, this herbaceous veggie, and people tend to be nervous about engaging with her in the kitchen. But do not take her exclusivity as snobiness. Play with her while you can – she will be your springtime baking best friend!

In addition to being beautiful, she’s also exclusive – she is only around for a few short months in spring.

A few weeks ago I sliced, diced, and folded her in an almond meal and yogurt cake batter. It was not too sweet and offered a nice balance of flavors with a bit of orange zest and cardamom set against good ol’ Rubie’s bitterness. The combo of sugary almond and tart rhubarb is perfect and the moist consistency of the cake is divine. The pieces of rhubarb seem to almost melt into the cake. To show off her beauty I sliced larger pieces of the stalk and haphazardly placed them atop the batter. I also added a hearty helping of sugar to the cake top, which crystallizes to make a crispy crunch, a pleasant surprise and juxtaposition to the soft, almost custard-like interior. Since Rubie will disappear from the markets shortly, this batter is the perfect must-make-now vessel for just about any seasonal fruit – strawberries or nectarines would be equally lovely here.

This cake was as delicious as it was gorgeous. Be sure to play with Rubie. She just might surprise you with her versatility! To use the rest of her stalks, I decided to make compote to dollop on the slice of cake. Aperol, another friend that comes out of the woodwork come spring and summer, is equally as herbaceous and vibrant as rhubarb. Aperol has a unique taste, with infusions of bitters and sweet oranges and many herbs, including rhubarb. So, it seemed like introducing these two and fostering a friendship needed to happen.

One thing to note: I used a fluted tart pan to make this, and at times I was concerned that the batter might bubble over. It did not, but you can also use a springform pan or a standard cake pan fitted with parchment that you can pull out for easy release.

Rhubarb Almond Cake

EyeSwoon Kitchen


Rhubarb Compote

  • 1 cup rhubarb, chopped into 1” pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Aperol

Rhubarb Almond Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • ¾ cup, plus 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1lb. rhubarb stalks, trimmed
  • 1 ¼ cups AP flour
  • ¾ cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 9 x 1 1/8” round tart pan
  • Melted butter


Rhubarb Compote

In a small saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, orange zest and juice. Bring to a low boil stirring frequently. Simmer until rhubarb is macerated and compote has reduced down, about 30 minutes. Compote will thicken as it cools.

Rhubarb Almond Cake

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter tart pan and sprinkle evenly with sugar. Slice rhubarb in half lengthwise and set aside 8 of pieces for the top of the cake; chop remaining rhubarb into ½” pieces. Set aside.

Sift together flour, almond meal, baking powder, cardamom, and salt.

Place 1 cup butter and ¾ cup sugar in bowl of standing mixer. Beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure it’s fully incorporated before adding the next. Beat until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down batter.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients. Add yogurt and zest. Beat for another 1 minute. Fold in chopped rhubarb with spatula. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth batter and arrange reserved rhubarb over top; sprinkle with remaining 3 Tbsp. sugar.

Batter will seem really full, but will contain itself during the bake.

Place tart pan on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 70 minutes, rotating once. Check cake doneness by inserting toothpick. Cake is done when toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Serve with vanilla bean whipped cream and rhubarb compote.

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