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Rhubarb Coffee Cake (with all the streusel) + Gluten Free Challenge!

Rhubarb Coffee Cake (with all the streusel) + Gluten Free Challenge!

Wow! It is May! I can’t wait for summer. The weather is warming up, the sky is blue and the produce variety is starting to show signs of summer…I am already thinking about strawberry picking!! I have plans for a few tomato plants, herbs, morning glory flowers and some peppers on our deck, thanks to my Mom for some awesome plants and pots. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty, and pot them up this week!

I have been stashing away rhubarb in our freezer, in hopes for a strawberry rhubarb pie or even some jam (!!!) later in the month. So, I grabbed two huge and beautiful bunches of the stuff at the market last Saturday. I met my aunt, and we had pastries and coffee while it rained and wind-ed (yes, wind-ed) outside. Sunday I got up, and decided…coffee cake. I mean, it is in my heritage…Germans and their coffee culture! I did some reading, and it was at one point a pretty extreme tradition. Krauts love their coffee, and cake.

This coffee cake was from Smitten Kitchen. I had been eyeing it for a few years (yes, years), so decided Sunday was THE day to make it. I was so happy with the results…so if you’re looking for an amazing and simple coffee cake recipe, this one will not let you down with its mounds of awesome crumbs and tart rhubarb laced through the middle. I bet it would be perfect with any summer fruit! We enjoyed it with a green smoothie (spinach! mango!), iced coffee and sunshine on our deck. It was pretty great.

What isn’t pretty great? The fact that I think I may have a slight gluten intolerance. I have evidence. I will not describe said evidence here. But what I will describe is my two-week gluten-free, clean eating challenge! The past few weeks have been *filled* with indulging in food. Not a bad thing at all-but my system is certainly ready for a clean-up. So, that means in the next two weeks, I’ll be focusing on gluten-free, as well as plant-heavy (as usual) and vegan food. The past two days I have started my morning with a fresh juice. Yesterday’s was a pretty radical and tasty blend of beets, apple, carrot, kale, parsley. Such vibrant, gorgeous colors! (check my smoothie beginner’s guide here too!)

The juice! I really like to put an ice cube or two into my juice to help cool it, and dilute the strong flavors. Does anyone else do that??

But who wants juice, now that I have talked extensively about coffee cake and rhubarb? I know, I know. So here it is…the coffee cake recipe. And if you can, make this on a lazy morning for a treat and enjoy with some coffee-it is a must.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake // soy-free, nut-free option // serves 6-8 //


  • 3 cups rhubarb (about 1/2 pound)
  • 2 teaspoons tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TB honey, agave or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger


  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar, sucanat or brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup organic white cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or earth balance or virgin coconut oil (I used 50:50 organic butter:virgin coconut oil)
  • 1 3/4 all purpose flour (I used a local, organic variety)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Optional add-ins: 1/2 cup oats, heaping 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  • 1/3 cup yogurt of choice (I used full-fat organic European style) or sour cream
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk (I used eggs from my Aunt’s chickens!)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 TB melted butter, Earth Balance or virgin coconut oil (or any combination)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour OR all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup organic white cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 375F, and grease and flour an 8″x8″ baking dish or pan.

2. Prepare the streusel by melting the fats, then adding everything else and mixing well. It will be a sturdy mixture. If you choose to add the oats and nuts, the mixture will be a touch more crumbly. Allow it to set undisturbed while you carry on with the recipe.

3. Wash and trim the rhubarb, and cut into ~1/2″ pieces. Toss with the other filling ingredients and set aside.

4. To make the cake, start by sifting the flour, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt together. With a whisk or fork, mix the sugar in thoroughly. In a separate bowl, melt the fats, then add the eggs, yogurt, vanilla (tip: be sure that the melted fats aren’t too hot, as they may curdle the eggs/yolk!).

5. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and mix until combined, being careful to not over-mix.

6. Add all but ~1/2 cup of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Topp with the rhubarb, draining off with you hands some of the juices so as to not soak the batter. Plop on the remaining 1/2 cup of batter, not worrying about being perfect-just plop in on in a few places. Crumble the streusel over the top, taking care to not break it up into too fine of crumbs.

7. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool for ~30 minutes before digging in, or else the filling and cake may still be a touch moist/gooey. Lasts for 4 days, wrapped or covered, at room temperature or refrigerated.

Cut and serve on pretty plates…this cake deserves the presentation!

The sunshine was perfect…and look at how pretty the pink rhubarb is in the middle! Love that.

This streusel is extreme. Not for wimpy streusel lovers.


And coffee is a must here…ok? I had iced espresso with almond milk.



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