If you are like me and enjoy a good rhubarb recipe, then you will love this moist rhubarb cake with vanilla sauce. The cake itself is delicious and the creamy and buttery vanilla sauce just takes this dessert to another level.
Easy Cake from Scratch Recipe
It is an easy recipe too. Why reach for a cake mix when this recipe goes together in just minutes. Bring this to your next potluck or picnic. It is sure to be a hit and your cake pan will be empty when you take it back home.
Good to Know Things About Rhubarb
If You are Unfamiliar with Rhubarb, here are a few things that are good to know.
Rhubarb season is generally April through June. Here in the Midwest, rhubarb is generally picked in the late April and May. However, I can enjoy a rhubarb recipe year-round if I freeze it.
Did you know that rhubarb is a vegetable? While it can be used in savory recipes, I have personally only used it as a dessert, and I treat it as I would a fruit recipe.
Rhubarb is a perennial plant that varies in color from deep red to a pale green. It grows in stalks that look like celery. However, rhubarb has a tart taste to it.
When picking the stalks, pull them out from the bottom as it will bring part of the root with it. This will help tell the plant to keep growing and producing more stalks next year. It is recommended not to harvest more than 30-40 percent of a plant so there is enough for the plant to regenerate.
Only the stalk is safe to eat. The leaves are poisonous so make sure to trim those completely off the stalk.
How To Make a Rhubarb Cake with Vanilla Sauce
This is a seriously easy dessert. The hardest part is picking the rhubarb, cleaning it, and dicing it.
Let me tell you a bit more about the recipe.
The first thing I do is clean and dice the rhubarb. This recipe uses 4 cups and I like to use stalks that are 10-12 inches tall and less than 1-inch in diameter. Then all I do is dice it. Set this aside in a bowl.
However, if you do have rhubarb that is bigger, that is okay to use too. You might find that the outer skin in a bit tough. If that is the case. I use my pairing knife to cut into the rhubarb just under the outer skin. Then I hold the skin between my finger and the pairing knife and pull. This is a quick way to peel. Just work around the stalk until it is all peeled. It takes only a few minutes to do. Then you can proceed with the dicing.
The next thing I do is get 6 tablespoons of butter in a microwave-safe container and melt the butter. I generally set the timer for 25 seconds, check the butter and see if it needs another 25 seconds. Once melted, set aside to cool a bit.
In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients; flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Give this a mix.
Then take about a cup of the dry mixture and add it to the rhubarb. Mix that. This makes sure that the rhubarb will stay incorporated throughout the cake and not end up in a lump on the bottom.
Now mix the wet ingredients, milk, butter, and eggs.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk or spoon to incorporate. When this mixture is just blended well, add the rhubarb mixture, and fold that in.
Pour batter into a pan that has been sprayed with oil or brushed with melted butter.
Bake. While the cake is baking, you could start on the vanilla sauce if you like.
How To Make the Vanilla Sauce
This sauce takes this cake from great to amazing in our opinion. Hailing from the dairy state might have something to do with our love of this buttery, creamy sauce.
Just melt butter in a saucepan, add the sugar, cream, and vanilla. Heat until it comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Let it boil a minute and turn off the burner.
Rhubarb Cake with Vanilla Sauce Would be Great for Breakfast or Brunch Too
We enjoy this cake both warm and cold. It is moist with a hint of the tart rhubarb in every bite. The addition of the sauce creates a decadently rich flavor. It is like having a frosting on this cake; however, the frosting has a creamy and buttery flavor rather than a sweet frosting flavor.
It is delicious as a cold dessert cake without any sauce too. Or the addition of a scoop of ice cream or a bit of whipping cream will pair nicely with this too.
This delicious cake can be made ahead, and the sauce reheated to be poured over the top.
Variations to this Dessert Recipe
Turn this cake into a poke cake. Once the cake is done, use a skewer or something maybe a bit blunter like a chop stick and poke holes in the top of the cake. Then just drizzle on the vanilla sauce.
Make an eggless cake. You can leave out the eggs in this recipe. It will still work. Just know that if you overbake it, it will be dry. The eggs help keep this cake moist.
Swap out the fruit. This is just a perfect recipe to use just about any kind of fruit with. Dark sweet cherries, strawberries, peaches, pears, or mango would work especially well with this recipe.
Add a different flavoring extract in the vanilla sauce. We added vanilla extract to our sauce; however, other flavorings would work well too. Try a bit of rum, lemon, orange, or strawberry extract.
Can you Make this with Frozen Rhubarb?
Yes, you can. Thaw and drain the liquid from the rhubarb before adding it to the recipe.
Can you Freeze this Cake?
Yes, bake the cake and wrap it well in plastic wrap. It will freeze nicely up to 3 months. Thaw the cake before serving and while that is thawing, make the vanilla sauce.
How Long with This Cake Last?
That is a loaded question. It does not last past 3 days even with our small family. However, we do cover the cake and refrigerate it and it should last up to 5 days. The vanilla sauce we have in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator. That has the same shelf life. We just warm it up before serving.
Do you Love Rhubarb Desserts?
If you are like us and love the tart and tangy taste then you might enjoy trying this super easy Rhubarb Pie. Just dice the rhubarb, mix the other ingredients in a blender and bake.
If you love desserts as much as we do and you can’t quite find what you are in the mood for. Here are a few editor’s picks on The Best Dessert recipes that you might enjoy.
Rhubarb Cake with Vanilla Sauce
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Rhubarb Cake Recipe
- 4 Cups Rhubarb Diced
- 4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Cups Milk
- 6 Tablespoons Butter Melted
- 2 Eggs
Vanilla Sauce Recipe
- ½ Cup Butter 1 stick
- ½ Cup Granulated Sugar
- ¾ Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Clean and dice the rhubarb. Place that in a bowl and set aside.4 Cups Rhubarb
- Melt the butter in a microwave-safe container. I generally set the timer for 25 seconds, check the butter and see if it needs another 25 seconds. Once melted, set aside to cool a bit.6 Tablespoons Butter
- In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients; flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Give this a mix.4 Cups All-Purpose Flour, 2 Cups Granulated Sugar, 4 Teaspoons Baking Powder, ½ Teaspoon Salt
- Then take about a cup of the dry mixture and add it to the rhubarb. Mix that. This makes sure that the rhubarb will stay incorporated throughout the cake and not end up in a lump on the bottom.
- Next mix the wet ingredients, milk, butter, and eggs.2 Cups Milk, 2 Eggs
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk or spoon to incorporate. When this mixture is just blended well, add the rhubarb mixture, and fold that in.
- Pour batter into a pan that has been sprayed with oil or brushed with melted butter. Bake for 40 minutes. The top of the cake should spring back when lightly touches.
- While the cake is baking, you could start on the vanilla sauce if you like to save time.
- Melt butter in a saucepan, add the sugar, cream, and vanilla. Heat until it comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Let it boil a minute and turn off the burner.½ Cup Butter, ¾ Cup Heavy Cream, 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract, ½ Cup Granulated Sugar
- Let cool a bit before serving on top of the cake.
Serving the Cake
- To serve the cake, I cut 15 slices in the 9 X 13 cake pan. This is a generous amount of cake. Pour a bit of the buttery vanilla sauce on top and enjoy.