Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffeecake
Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffeecake

Every Saturday morning when I was younger my dad would do his coupon grocery shop. It was his thing. My siblings and I would still be asleep (usually), so he would slip out to get it done before we had the opportunity to chime in about any (non-coupon) things we wanted. 

He took his couponing very very seriously.

Usually, with each shop, he would bring home some kind of breakfast pastry or dessert. I had two favorites, Entenmann's Crumb Coffee Cake or their donuts. Not a big fan (at that time) of pastries filled with custards or jams, waking up to treats like this was like my dad telling me, good morning! here's some cake for breakfast! 

Best dad ever.

We all loved it. Not surprising, by Saturday afternoon, the entire cake would be gone.

My favorite part of these buttery coffee cakes was the crumb topping. Sugar, flour, butter, what's not to love? In fact, I loved it so much that I remember eating all the edges around the cake because that is where the biggest crumbs were. Lucky for me, I was the middle child so no one seemed to notice.

Two decades later my dad still buys these breakfast pastries and I still love a good coffeecake. So the other day when I remembered the bunch of rhubarb I had just waiting to be cooked, I thought, it's time to make grown-up coffee cake. Translation? Coffeecake with a fruit filling. Or, in this case, a plant filling. When I was little I always assumed that only grown ups ate desserts or pastries filled with mashed up fruit. Anywayyyy, it turns out that I was wrong all along (hmm, imagine that?). After all, it was my very own offspring who said to me the other morning that he wanted a donut filled with raspberry jelly. When I asked if he wanted a chocolate one too he replied flatly, "no, mom. Only jelly".

So, coffeecake.

If you're a coffeecake lover, you'll love this coffeecake. And if you love the crumb topping of coffeecake, then you will REALLY love this coffeecake. And the tart rhubarb is a perfect complement to the buttery perfection of the extra large crumbs and soft cake.

Childhood memories, full circle.

Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffeecake

Rhubarb (Big Crumb) Coffeecake

Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 50-60 minutes
Total Time: approx. 90 minutes
Yield: 9 bars
Category: Spring + Summer; Bread + Muffin + Scone; Sweets + Dessert


4 cups chopped rhubarb
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons crushed almonds or macadamia nuts

1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yoke
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoon butter, softened and cut into 8 pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and grease an 8-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray (I also lined my baking pan to be on the super safe side).

  2. First prepare the rhubarb filling by chopping the rhubarb into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Transfer chopped rhubarb to a large mixing bowl and toss with the sugar, cornstarch and ground ginger. Set aside.

  3. To make the crumbs * whisk the sugars, ground cinnamon, ginger, and salt into the melted butter until fully combined and smooth. With a wooden spoon add the flour. It will feel like solid dough- that's a good thing. Press it together in the bottom of your bowl and set aside.

  4. Prepare the cake batter- In a small bowl whisk together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Using your mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt on low power. Add the softened and cubed butter and one spoonful of the sour cream mixture, increasing speed to medium, mixing just until flour is moistened. Increase speed to medium high for approximately 30 seconds. Add the remaining sour cream mixture in two separate batches, beating for 15 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

  5. Scoop a heaping 1/2 cup of batter from the bowl and set aside.

  6. Transfer remaining batter to prepared baking pan, making sure to scrape every last bit out of the bowl. Carefully spoon the rhubarb mixture over the top of the cake batter. Spoon the remaining set-aside batter over the top of the rhubarb; it does not have to be perfectly even. 

  7. Use your fingers and break the prepared crumb topping into big, crumby pieces. Try to get the pieces to be approximately equal in size. Sprinkle over the entire cake. Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and cake has set.

  8. Allow your cake to cool completely before serving. Keeps stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.


*This makes A LOT of crumb topping. I like it this way. If the topping isn't your thing, simply reduce amounts by half.

Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffeecake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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