Mom’s rhubarb “lake cake”

rhubarb cake

One of the beautiful things about where we live is the changing of the seasons. Right now, spring is in full bloom, and the trees, flowers and birds are returning. Spring is also rhubarb season, and its spring bounty is often the first harvest enjoyed from a garden.

To celebrate the return of rhubarb, I got my mother, who loves to bake, to be my “guest blogger,” and bake her famous rhubarb cake while I documented it.

According to Mom, this is a great cake to make at the lake for a couple of reasons. First, it calls for buttermilk, but you can make your own sour milk if you can’t get to the store. Also, it only uses one egg, because you often run out of eggs when you’re at the lake!

Here’s what you need – rhubarb, butter, white sugar, one egg, flour, vanilla extract, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, add one tablespoon of vinegar to regular milk and let stand 10 minutes.


Soften the butter in the mixing bowl. Add one cup of sugar to the butter.


Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture. Mom always cracks her egg into a separate bowl to make sure it isn’t spoiled, before adding to the other ingredients.

Mom did not like me hovering around her, taking pictures, but I got some great ones of her anyway.


Sift the two cups of flour, salt and baking soda into a separate bowl. In a third bowl, blend one tablespoon of flour into the rhubarb. Mom ended up using almost three cups of rhubarb.


Alternately blend the flour mixture, and the buttermilk, into the butter mixture.



Add the rhubarb to the batter and blend.



Spoon the batter into the greased baking pan and smooth the top.



Mix together half a cup of sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon, and sprinkle over the top of the batter. Next time we make the cake, we would reduce the sugar to a quarter cup as the rhubarb is sweet enough.


Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, watching the cake. Because we used a glass dish, we reduced the heat to 325.

Insert a toothpick in the cake, and if it comes away clean, the cake is done.


Voila! Enjoy the bounty of spring!


Rhubarb Cake


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (Option: add 1 tbsp vinegar to regular milk and let stand 10 minutes)
  • 2 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 cup white sugar (for the topping)
  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  2. In another bowl, sift together 2 cups flour, soda, and salt. Add sifted ingredients alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture.
  3. Toss rhubarb with 1 tablespoon flour, and stir into batter. Spoon batter into buttered 9 x 13 inch pan, and smooth the surface.
  4. Blend together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over batter. 
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. If you’re using a glass pan, bake at 325.


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