This is the best rhubarb cake recipe with Greek yoghurt I’ve ever tasted, which is also easy to make, using all in one method. This cake is great if you have a lot of rhubarb and there is no need to pre-cook the rhubarb, just cut it into 1 cm chunks and you are ready to mix your ingredients. When baked, this rhubarb is very moist and perfect on its own, but you can make it even better with a dollop of homemade vanilla ice cream.
Why make this recipe?
- Easy and quick to make – perfect for beginners or busy people
- All in one method – no need for complicated steps and different mixing bowls
- Delicious to eat
- Uses fresh rhubarb – no need to pre-cook to use
Ingredients & Possible Substitutions
The key to success with this cake is definitely the fresh garden rhubarb. If you get a limp flavourless rhubarb from the supermarket, it won’t taste as amazing as if you manage to get your hands on some home grown rhubarb or buy it at the local farmer’s market. If you see something you like, buy several bunches, as you can easily chop the rhubarb into chunks and freeze it for later use.
There is no need to pre-cook the rhubarb or do anything with it, other than take out the rougher parts of the rhubarb outer layer and cut into 1 cm chunks.
Sour cream, Greek or plain white yoghurt can be all use for this recipe. I’ve always used full-fat and dairy based yoghurts with this recipe, as the dairy and fat in the yoghurt replaces any other ingredients (there is very little butter in this recipe and no milk).
I’ve used salted butter for this recipe, but when I didn’t have salted butter I would use normal, unsalted butter with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Since rhubarb is quite tart in taste, you do need to use a fair amount of sugar in this recipe. I’ve used golden caster sugar for the flavour (or a normal caster sugar – baking sugar).
If you wanted to have a slightly deeper flavour you could swap the 1/2 of sugar quantity for darker (brown or light brown) sugar. I wouldn’t really use demerara or muscovado sugar as these would be way too dark and over power the flavour of the rhubarb.
Use normal plain (all-purpose) flour for this recipe.
If you have a self-raising flour, you can use it, but leave out the bicarbonate of soda.
I’ve not tried this recipe with gluten-free flours, but since this rhubarb cake is baked as a tray-bake, I think you could successfully bake it with gluten-free flour mix. Make sure that you add about 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum if you are using gluten-free flour (unless you already have that mixed in your flour mix)
This rhubarb and yoghurt cake is baked as a tray bake, so there is no need for a lot of raising agent. I’ve use only 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, but you could also use baking powder.
Rhubarb goes well with vanilla, so I’ve included vanilla essence in the sponge mixture. I’ve also included ground nutmeg and cinnamon for the sugar crumble, but apple pie spice mix would work with this recipe too.
The method – Instructions
This recipe is ‘all in one method’ which means that it’s suitable for the beginner baker as well as busy mums! It means that all the ingredients are combined without the need to prepare the rhubarb first.
I bake this as a tray bake, but you can easily bake it in a large round baking tin.
Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the flour, salt (if using) and soda and mix well.
Mix together the soured cream and rhubarb and fold it into the rest of the mixture. Spoon into the tin and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (and nutmeg)
Bake for about 40 minutes until golden brown. Leave in the tin to cool before transferring to a wire rack. If not serving warm, allow to cool completely.
A variation on this recipe, Allergies & dietary requirements
Gluten free – swap normal flour for gluten-free flour mix plus 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum (unless your flour mix already contains xanthan gum) – not tested
Dairy Free – swap butter and yoghurt for dairy free or plant based alternative – not tested
Serving size & can I scale up or down this recipe?
This recipe makes a large brownie tin size or equivalent round tin. You could easily make the recipe from just 1/2 the ingredients and use a smaller tray. The only problem you might have is getting 1/2 egg, but if you have for example some leftovers from making your breakfast omelette you could use 1/2 egg from that.
How to serve this recipe
Perfect on it’s own or with vanilla ice cream or drizzle of extra yogurt.
My top tips on making rhubarb & yoghurt tray bake successfully the first time round
- Use fresh homegrown or local rhubarb (in season) to get the most flavour in your cake
- Whip the butter and sugar first and then gently add all the other ingredients. Fold in the yoghurt and rhubarb in the end.
- For best flavour use full-fat yoghurt
Can this recipe be made in advance?
This cake is best enjoyed fresh, but it’s fine for 1-2 days without any problems.
How to store this recipe – any leftovers
This cake will last easily for few days, stored in air tight container.
This rhubarb cake can be frozen on the day you have baked it (providing that you’ve not used frozen rhubarb to make it in the first place).
This recipe and me
I’ve developed this recipe for rhubarb cake when I was working at Down House – a historic house in Kent where Charles Darwin lived for most of his life. We had an amazing garden kitchen which also had a large patch of heritage rhubarb. I wanted to create a recipe that would use the rhubarb as the main ingredients, as we had a bounty of rhubarb every year.
Each day during the rhubarb season, I would walk down to the end of the garden after I finished my work and cut few stems of rhubarb. I was under strict instructions to make it look like ‘nothing was missing’, so I would spend a lot of time working out how to cut the best stems that were ready from each cluster. Fortunately, the head gardener was a great fan of the rhubarb cake!
The rhubarb cake was always a great hit with our tearoom customers, not just because of the rhubarb origins (it only came from a garden few yards away), but also because it tasted absolutely divine! I had people happily telling me, how they hate rhubarb, but they loved my version of the rhubarb cake.
Easy Rhubarb & Yoghurt Cake
- 500 grams fresh rhubarb trimmed and cut into 1cm chunks
- 300 grams golden caster sugar or normal caster sugar or for extra deep flavour dark brown sugar
- 300 grams plain flour
- 250 g soured cream or greek yoghurt or white yoghurt always use full-fat
- 50 grams salted butter at room temperature (or use unsalted butter, but add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence or extract
- 5 tablespoons of caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg or cinnamon or mixture of both
- Preheat the oven 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4, 350 F.
- Grease a brownie baking tin (about 33 x 22 cm) and line the base and sides with baking paper.
- Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
- Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract.
- Add the flour, salt (if using) and soda and mix well. You can carry on using the handheld whisk, but slow it down on a lower speed.
- Mix together the soured cream (yoghurt) and rhubarb and fold it into the rest of the mixture using a spatula or a wooden spoon.
- Spoon the mixture into the tin and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (and nutmeg)
- Bake for about 40 minutes until golden brown.
- Leave in the tin to cool before transferring to a wire rack. If not serving warm, allow to cool completely.