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Sour Cream Rhubarb Cake

July 21, 2012

Who doesn’t like rhubarb?  Rhubarb grows well here, and instead of just a fleeting spring tonic, we pretty much enjoy rhubarb all summer long.  Pretty enough to be an ornamental in the garden and prolific enough to be a homesteaders delight!  My project this weekend was to can several batches of rhubarb for pies.  I’m hurting for freezer space, so canning it is for this recent flush of stalks.



Rhubarb pie is pretty good, but I get a little more mileage out of cake.  It’s nice to have a sweet snack on hand for hungry hay makers.  And my favorite is my Mom’s sour cream cake recipe.  Luckily with Jane fresh, real sour cream is pretty easy to come by these days.

Sour Cream Rhubarb Cake

½ cup butter plus 2 tablespoons
1 ½ cups  brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon soda
1 cup thick sour cream
2 cups sifted flour
1 ½ cups finely chopped rhubarb
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg

Cream ½ cup butter and brown sugar; blend in eggs and vanilla.  Dissolve soda in sour cream.  Stir in alternately with flour.  Add rhubarb.  Turn into greased 9 x 13 – inch pan.  Combine remaining 2 tablespoons butter, white sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle over top.  Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2012 4:37 am

    I love rhubarb! Sadly I can’t seem to convince DH that rhubarbs sweet/sour/tanginess is a wonderful treat to have regularly. The drought here in WI has been hard on my one rhubarb plant, but it’s alive!

    • July 22, 2012 6:30 am

      MOTAM, I think it must be like cilantro – either you love it or don’t care for it! Hope you get some relief from the drought soon!

  2. July 22, 2012 5:42 am

    I have never really learned to appreciate rhubarb fully. It’s in my garden as of this year so I suspect I’ll learn. Most locals mix it with strawberries into something of a tolerable cobbler if served with ice cream. Seems like a shame to do that to strawberries though.

    • July 22, 2012 6:29 am

      HFS, it makes a good juice, and we mix it with blackberries. No one here is too fond of strawberries especially cooked! And the cake is really good.

      • July 22, 2012 12:24 pm

        LOL. I’m sure I’ll learn. I’ve just never really given it much of a chance.

        Just send your strawberries to me then.
        Head Farm Steward
        Chism Heritage Farm
        Brightest, hottest, most sunburned part of Illinois
        USA

        • July 22, 2012 1:13 pm

          Sure, they need picking 😀 I hate to say I was just tilling in the greenhouse with my down vest on! It did get a little warm, though because actually the two shirts I had on were adequate. 😉 I think we may make 60 degrees today!

        • July 22, 2012 1:55 pm

          Well, it’s your turn to be envious. Tonight, as the sun is setting, we’ll go outside, hold marshmallows up toward the sunset and make smores. Top that!

        • July 22, 2012 4:55 pm

          You got me beat there for sure!

  3. July 22, 2012 7:36 am

    Yum! Can’t wait to try this. I am finally getting the appeal of rhubarb, now that I live in a climate with hard winters, and I am intent on getting a good rhubarb bed going — I had planted one or two plants but neglected them badly. This year, a fellow gardener gave me some seeds and for the heck of it I started them. Now I have some impressive little rhubarb plants that I will plant out towards the end of summer (100 degree days don’t make for good transplanting weather. Sigh. And here I thought I was leaving hideously hot summers behind when we moved from Inland SoCal to Front Range Colorado four years ago.)
    Looking forward to having plenty of rhubarb next spring. I am learning to appreciate crops that come in during the slower times of the year and can be processed at one’s leisure.

    • July 22, 2012 8:32 am

      Sue, once you get rhubarb going you will be blessed with lots to harvest! Drizzly and cool here this morning perfect for kraut making and canning!

  4. Chris permalink
    July 22, 2012 8:10 am

    Oh please…a photo of your cake would be lovely and more inspiration for us to bake one!! It sounds delicious but we want to SEE it!! 🙂

    • July 22, 2012 8:30 am

      It’s gone already! But I think I will make a repeat today just because I have to sit and watch the canner anyway, I may as well be watching the oven too 🙂

  5. July 22, 2012 10:30 am

    Definitely trying this! My husband and I love rhubarb, though me more so than him – I was raised on stewed rhubarb with warm custard poured over it (can you tell I had English parents?). One of my kids likes rhubarb in moderation, the other says it makes her teeth feel funny…

    • July 22, 2012 1:15 pm

      SSF, yum that’s the way my mom fixed it too! It’s hard not to like a plant that is so giving with so little care!

  6. July 22, 2012 11:09 am

    I just have the wild green rhubarb here…..my red stuff gets a disease and dies after a year of maturity. I use saskatoons to colour up my pies and cakes now when I do use the wild.

    • July 22, 2012 1:14 pm

      Linda, wild rhubarb, that’s fantastic! Ours is a little green too, and without some red to color it, it kind of reminds you of snot 😦 Not too appetizing!

  7. July 22, 2012 3:02 pm

    Oh! Thanks so much. I should have asked first but I’m saying so now, I put a link to this cake on my recipe page. NICE!

  8. July 23, 2012 4:43 am

    We were brought up on spring rhubarb and cream which set our teeth on edge, then a couple of year ago someone mentioned cooking orange peel with the rhubarb which stops the teeth edginess. This year I’ve been adding orange peel and stem ginger and the resulting rhubarb and cream is to die for! I love the idea of a rhubarb cake. I still have a couple of stalks left in the garden and may try it. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

    • July 23, 2012 5:01 am

      Sarah, that sounds delicious! The hair on the teeth thing seems worse with the first flush of stalks, but I can’t wait to try the orange peel trick now. Fourteen quarts put on the shelves for winter pie or cake, and more to come I think.

  9. July 23, 2012 9:20 am

    Sadly, rhubarb was a bit of a staple at our house growing up, and as such I have vowed to not grow any in our garden… “Sweet” just isn’t a word I associate with it…

  10. Trish permalink
    July 23, 2012 9:36 am

    Matron, I have a cow question that doesn’t belong with this post but wasn’t sure how else to contact you. We looked at a couple Dexter cattle for sale last night. Both recently freshened (3-4 weeks ago). And both were giving hardly any milk, maybe a quart each per milking. They looked nearly dry. The people were not sure why. They took the calves off them immediately at birth and started hand and machine milking them. The one cow had very lopsided quarters, with one giving nearly nothing. The other cow had a teat that took a minute of massaging to start the milk flow. The cows had all the hay they could eat and were getting some hay pellets, barley and minerals. Despite this, the cows looked undernourished. They were standing in mud, no pasture. They also had a bull in with them and the people said they might already be rebred. My question for you is can you “fix” a lopsided udder (this was more than one year of being lopsided), and can you do anything to improve the milk supply? I wonder if it is an issue of poor nutrition and reproductive stress. We decided these were not the cows for us, because they seem like a problem from the outset. But I’m wondering for our future search, because we would like to get a milk cow. Any advice you may have would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • July 23, 2012 10:18 am

      Trish, first off, I wouldn’t recommend a Dexter for a milk cow but that’s just me. A growing calf needs at least two gallons (minimum) a day, then you can have the rest. Which hardly makes it worth the time and trouble to milk to just get a bit. Kinda like hauling hay with a car, it can be done, but it sure doesn’t make much sense. It sounds like these cows are just hungry and that sets them up for a tough life. Pregnancy, lactation and just maintaining body condition takes a lot of feed, preferably in the form of grass for cows. Hay should be a condiment unless it’s winter or extreme weather like the current drought.

      As for the udder, that lopsidedness represents scar tissue from past mastitis most likely. I would stay away from any cow that has a lopsided udder if possible. There are lots of cows out there that are perfectly healthy. The udder is very important, look to see if it well attached, with the quarters fully defined, blown out ligaments and attachments just shorten the life of the cow.

      Good luck on your search – and kudos for recognizing what was probably wrong with these cows you looked at!

      • Trish permalink
        July 23, 2012 11:10 am

        Thanks for the advice! It is much appreciated. And that is a good point about the Dexter. We were thinking about them because they are supposed to be very winter hardy and we have long winters. But I would like some milk too…

        • July 23, 2012 11:26 am

          Trish, most breeds are pretty winter hardy, and as long as you time for the dry period in the dead of winter with spring calving, any breed would work. Look around for your area and see what type of dairy type works well for dairymen. My friend started out with mini Jerseys and quickly saw that she needed more milk, and she wanted cream too, and a nice big calf for meat. But you gotta start somewhere… .

  11. Chris permalink
    July 23, 2012 2:28 pm

    Good, I hope you make another one and take a photo or two…pictures always inspire me to make something…I don’t know…just kind of a visual quirk of mine!! 🙂

  12. July 27, 2012 6:26 am

    I just found your site, and I’m so glad I did! The recipe sounds delicious! With everything I grow, for some reason I’ve never grown rhubarb. I’m definitely going to remedy that! Thanks so much for sharing, and I look forward to visiting again soon!

  13. Kelley Christensen permalink
    July 27, 2012 8:09 pm

    Made this cake today! It’s fabulous! Thanks for the recipe.

  14. July 28, 2012 4:02 am

    This cake was so Delicious! My family ate it up almost as soon as it was finished baking. 🙂

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