Rhubarb Cake with Butter Sauce

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This is a soft, old-fashioned Rhubarb Cake with Butter Sauce: a simple one-bowl cake to stir together and bake in a 9 x 13 pan. This is perfect for a potluck or picnic.

Tangy Rhubarb Cake with Sweet Butter Sauce

Rhubarb Cake with Butter Sauce

Tangy Rhubarb Cake becomes completely irresistible when paired with the sweet Butter Cream Sauce. This cake is a twist on a classic Christmas dessert, cranberry cake with butter sauce.

I’ve updated it for spring and substituted rhubarb for the cranberries. It works so well, as both cranberries and rhubarb are tart and pair well with the butter sauce.

How To Make An Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake

This is an egg-less cake which makes it super easy to make in one bowl. First, you’ll sift all the dry ingredients together. They are just the basics: flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

To that mixture you’ll gently stir in the milk, melted butter and diced rhubarb. Pour into a pan and bake.

Classic Rhubarb Cake

This is seriously the easiest dessert. It’s just as fast as using a cake mix and doesn’t require and special ingredients (other than rhubarb, of course.)

The Rhubarb Cake is perfect for last minute company or anytime you want to bring a dessert somewhere. 

The lack of eggs in this cake makes it especially tender and I love that. Be careful not to over bake it as it will be dry. Don’t worry though, a healthy dose of butter sauce will fix it. 

Rhubarb Cake with Butter Sauce

How To Make Butter Sauce

Butter sauce is just butter, heavy cream and granulated sugar – and it is oh, so delicious when poured warm on cake. Think of it as a superior frosting since frosting is just sugar and butter too. 

In a small saucepan, melt the butter, stir in the heavy cream and sugar, bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.

Ta da, magic butter sauce that is perfect over cake.

In addition to seeing this butter sauce over cranberry cake, I’ve also seen it served over a Pecan Praline Cake and a Warm Gingerbread Cake.

Rhubarb Cake with Warm Butter Sauce

More Rhubarb Recipes

Both my family and my reader’s love rhubarb recipes. If you’re looking for ways to use up extra rhubarb, check out one of my other rhubarb recipes. 

Can I Freeze Rhubarb?

Rhubarb season is short, but never fear, you can use freeze rhubarb and use it throughout the year without any issues at all. You can also purchase frozen rhubarb at most grocery stores.

To use frozen rhubarb: thaw the rhubarb first and let any excess liquid drain off. Don’t squeeze any liquid out, just drain what naturally thaws out of the rhubarb. 

Rhubarb Cake with Butter Sauce

Rhubarb Cake with Butter Sauce

4 from 9 votes
Old fashioned rhubarb cake with butter sauce. This rhubarb cake is made in a 9 x 13 pan and is a perfect easy dessert for a potluck or picnic.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Additional Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 15 servings

Ingredients 

For the cake

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups rhubarb diced (see note below about using frozen rhubarb)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter melted

For the butter sauce

  • 1/2 cup 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the diced rhubarb, milk and melted butter. Stir just until combined.
  • Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and cool
  • To make the butter sauce, combine the butter sugar and cream in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 1 minute stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  • To serve, cut pieces of cake and serve with a generous amount of warm butter sauce. The sauce can be gently reheated on the stove or in the microwave if necessary.

Notes

To use frozen rhubarb: thaw the rhubarb first and let any excess liquid drain off. Don’t squeeze any liquid out, just drain what naturally thaws out of the rhubarb. 
Cranberry Cake recipe adapted from A Farm Girl Dabbles.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece · Calories: 363kcal · Carbohydrates: 58g · Protein: 4g · Fat: 13g · Saturated Fat: 8g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g · Cholesterol: 37mg · Sodium: 257mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 34g
Tried this recipe?Mention @chocolatewithgrace or tag #chocolatewithgrace!

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{originally published 4/20/19 – recipe notes and photos updated 5/6/21}

Tangy Sweet Rhubarb Cake with Butter Sauce
Rhubarb Cake with Butter Sauce

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  1. Jen says

    Rhubarb is such a favorite of mine and totally takes me back to my childhood. This cake sounds amazing and I can’t wait to take my first bite!

  2. Patty says

    Just whipped this up. In the oven as I type. There was no pouring batter into the pan. It was very stiff. Then needed to spread it out into the 9×13 pan. Fingers crossed it works out, time will tell!

      • Patty says

        Was it to be a very stiff batter? Well I liked it…it tasted like a shortcake I make for strawberries…I’m thinking if I make this again…I will pour the butter sauce all over the cake when it comes out of the oven!

  3. Kathy says

    5 stars
    This recipe is great. The butter sauce makes it. I use 2 round cake pans. One to keep at home and one to share at work.

  4. San says

    3 stars
    My daughter and I made this cake this morning. We love making Rhubarb shortbread. This seemed like a nice change of pace but we aren’t sold on it. It tastes very much like a super sweet biscuit with very little rhubarb taste. We made notes; if we make it again we would cut the sugar in the cake to 1 cup and up the diced rhubarb to 6-7 cups. For us not a keeper as is; if you really love rhubarb – the tang/ sour taste is just not there.

    • Mary says

      I’m sorry to hear it wasn’t a hit with your family, San. Typically, this cake has that tangy flavor that I love as well. I know that when rhubarb is more green it will have a sharper taste, but even if it was completely red, it still should have given you rhubarb flavor here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts either way!

  5. Lisa says

    1 star
    Made this recipe to take to a 4th of July potluck! I wanted to love this recipe but I can’t. I was so embarrassed by the way it tasted. It was so dense and doughy even though it was cooked all the way through. I ended up bringing over half of the pan back home. I was initially going to make another recipe I have made for a long time but I decided last minute to try this one! I wish I had never laid eyes on this recipe. It is clearly needs oil and or eggs or something else because as is it is not good! Disappointed 😢

    • Mary says

      I’m not sure what went wrong with the recipe for you, Lisa. It’s always frustrating when things don’t turn out right. The butter and milk should’ve added plenty of moisture and the baking powder leavens it nicely. Did you substitute any ingredients? or change something in the directions?

      • Lisa says

        I changed nothing with the recipe. I don’t know how it can’t turn out dense without eggs or oil or something else added to it. It needs something else! Perhaps some like dense cake but I don’t!

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