This delicious German rhubarb streusel cake recipe features a wonderful moist and tender crumb with the sweet and tangy flavor of fresh rhubarb. Delicious on its own, with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or vanilla sauce!
I grew up in Germany eating rhubarb every year when it was in season. My mom would bring it home from the farmer’s market and would make things like rhubarb compote, rhubarb crisp, rhubarb jam, and rhubarb cakes. Whatever she made with it, we loved it! The last several years we have been growing rhubarb in our garden and I look forward to it every season.
This German Rhubarb Streusel Cake, as with most German cakes, isn’t overly sweet and the tanginess of the rhubarb provides a nice contrast and balance. The buttermilk adds a nice bit of additional tang and makes the crumb so wonderfully moist and tender. Serve it with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and you’ll be in rhubarb cake heaven.
Where Did Rhubarb Originate?
Here’s just a little rhubarb history for those of you who, like me, are fascinated by this kind of stuff. Rhubarb goes back a long way. It has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Over the centuries the rhubarb trade increased and in Medieval Europe its value exceeded that of fine spices such as cinnamon and saffron! Rhubarb entered the U.S. in the 1820’s and has been enjoyed in the popular form of pies, crumbles, compote, and preserves ever since.
By the way, did you know that rhubarb is technically a vegetable? Yet interestingly it was designated as a fruit in the U.S. in a 1947 court ruling for the purposes of regulations and duties.
What’s interesting is that even though rhubarb is a vegetable, it’s generally only used in sweet dishes as a fruit. Yet tomatoes, which are technically fruits, are generally only used in savory dishes as vegetables. Have any of you ever made or seen rhubarb served as a vegetable or tomatoes served as fruits? Chime in if you have!
One last interest tidbit about rhubarb from Wiki: “In British theater and early radio drama, the words “rhubarb, rhubarb” were repeated for the effect of unintelligible conversation in the background.” Pretty amusing, huh?
So grab some rhubarb and make this fantabulous German Rhubarb Buttermilk Streusel Cake! A tender and moist crumb with a delightful buttery streusel topping (which, incidentally, comes from the German verb “streuen,” which means to sprinkle or scatter) . This cake is truly lovely and it’s easy to make.
German Rhubarb Streusel Cake Recipe
Let’s get started!
Cream the butter and sugar in large mixing bowl with an electric mixer.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour, alternating the flour and buttermilk.
Be careful not to over-stir. Some lumps of flour will remain, and that’s okay.
Wash the rhubarb. Peel off the outer skin if it’s too tough. Dice the rhubarb and add it to the batter. Fold the rhubarb into the batter.
Spread the batter into a greased 8×8 inch square baking pan. I use the hand-forged aluminum pan by Magic Line, made in the USA. Love it!
To make the streusel, combine the butter, sugar and flour in a bowl. Crumb the mixture between your fingers.
Evenly crumble the streusel over the batter.
Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F for 35-45 minutes or until the streusel is a light golden brown in places and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool before slicing it.
Serve with some ice cream, whipped cream, or our homemade German Vanilla Sauce, and you’re all set!
For more delicious delicious rhubarb treats and more fruity cakes be sure to try our:
- Rhubarb Crisp
- Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
- Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
- Rhubarb Compote
- French Almond Plum Cake
- German Apple Cake
- German Plum Cake
- Cherry Marzipan Streusel Cake
- Pineapple Cake with Marzipan
German Rhubarb Streusel Cake
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 1/2 cups rhubarb diced
- For the streusel topping:
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 8x8 inch square baking pan.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla extract and egg and beat until combined.In a small bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the wet mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Be careful not to over-stir. Some flour lumps will remain and that is okay. Stir in the rhubarb.Spoon the batter into the greased baking pan.
- To make the streusel topping, combine all the ingredients and crumble with your fingers. Evenly sprinkle the streusel topping over the cake batter. Bake the cake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.Let the cake cool before cutting into squares. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or homemade German vanilla sauce.