Simple Norwegian Rhubarb Cake (Rabarbrakake)

June 2, 2017
Simple Norwegian Rhubarb Cake (Rabarbrakake)

Simple Norwegian Rhubarb Cake (Rabarbrakake)Simple Norwegian Rhubarb Cake (Rabarbrakake)You know that moment when the rhubarb plant begins to bud in the late spring and there’s this anticipation of just how long it will be until it’s harvest time. The time when the leaves unravel and expand, while hidden under their canopy are long stalks of bright pink, deep crimson and earthy green. That excitement of a year-long wait to enjoy a slice of homemade rhubarb pie, a bowl of rhubarb soup, a hot rhubarb crumble, a fresh stalk dipped in sugar, a tangy pickled rhubarb slice or even a glass of rhubarb wine.

Yeah. I think you know what I mean. Simple Norwegian Rhubarb Cake (Rabarbrakake)Simple Norwegian Rhubarb Cake (Rabarbrakake)Rhubarb arrived in Norway in the 1700s; cultivated mostly for medical purposes. Yet, during the 1800s, rhubarb began to make its mark in the home kitchen as sugar became more available. A favorite pastime in Norway – one of childhood memories – is to take a fresh stalk straight from the stem, dip it into a glass of white sugar and eat it raw.

If eating a raw stalk of rhubarb isn’t your thing, perhaps a simple cake with rhubarb cooked on top is.

Simple Norwegian Rhubarb Cake (Rabarbrakake)Simple Norwegian Rhubarb Cake (Rabarbrakake)Simple Norwegian Rhubarb Cake (Rabarbrakake)This is a nod to all those old, Norwegian cookbooks and newspapers, which feature rhubarb cake on their weekly menus. Nothing fancy or anything that requires an extra step or two. No layers of cream or custard or crumble on top (although I know all these things must be amazing). No, this is merely a simple and incredibly soft cake.

When you bite into it, you get the delicate cake with a bit of tang from the rhubarb and then a delightful crunch with the sugar and almonds on top. It’s a perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea. So simple, and yet so good.

Simple Norwegian Rhubarb Cake (Rabrabrakake)
  • 5oz (150g) butter
  • ¾ cup (150g) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup (200g) flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup (1 dl) whole milk
  • 250 g (2 cups) fresh rhubarb, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 2 Tb sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease an 8in/20cm round cake tin (springform works nicely).

Beat the sugar and butter together. Add the eggs and continue to mix. Add the flour, baking powder and whole milk and blend together. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.

Cut the rhubarb into about ½in/1cm pieces. Place the pieces on top of the dough, arranging them so they are not overlapping, but making a nice pattern. Press the rhubarb pieces into the dough slightly. Sprinkle with 2 Tb sugar and 2 Tb of sliced almonds.

Bake for 30-40 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing from the cake tin.

Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.


Try out these other rhubarb dishes: Rhubarb & Strawberry Soup and Rhubarb & Juniper Berry Pie

Simple Norwegian Rhubarb Cake (Rabarbrakake)

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20 Comments

  • Reply Alma June 2, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Hi Nevada, This looks like a yummy cake indeed. My mother used to make rhubarb sauce or pie when I was little, but very few people, at least near where I live seem to like the taste of it I am guessing since not many of the super markets carry it. I will have to source one out where I can buy a few stalks to make your cake recipe.
    ~*~ Alma

    • Reply nevada June 6, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      Hi Alma, I do hope you can get your hands on some rhubarb stalks. I grew up eating rhubarb pie in the summertime and I am now starting to enjoy all the other ways (both savory and sweet) to use rhubarb. I can understand how it’s not to everyone’s liking, but then again, it’s one of those foods that can really surprise people with how good it tastes 🙂

  • Reply She Curmudgeon August 6, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    This was really delicious, and I liked how the cake was not too sugary-sweet. I used up the last of our garden’s rhubarb with this and enjoyed the contrast of the tender fruit against the firm cake.

    FWIW to your readers, Dole (the fruit conglomerate) does sell frozen rhubarb in the Northeastern U.S.

    • Reply nevada August 9, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this cake! I also like that it isn’t too sweet and really let’s the rhubarb shine.

  • Reply Kristel April 14, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    Thank you for the recepie!
    It also works great with gluten free flour, water instead of milk.

    • Reply nevada May 6, 2019 at 12:57 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks for noting that those substitutions work well.

    • Reply Becca June 12, 2019 at 2:41 pm

      I used a coconut milk drink that has similar fat content as whole milk, dairy free butter and gluten free flour and I was also stunned with the result. It took over an hour to cook though! I’m not sure why!

      • Reply nevada June 17, 2019 at 7:00 am

        Hi, thanks for sharing your substitutions! Great to know the cake works really well when adapted 🙂

  • Reply Joan Olson June 9, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    I’m Scandinavian, love rhubarb and have it growing in our back yard. I shall use the recipe this afternoon with company coming. Thank you so much.

    • Reply nevada June 10, 2019 at 8:21 am

      Thanks for your note, Joan! I hope you and your guests enjoyed the cake!

  • Reply Emily June 10, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Hello! This looks lovely and the perfect dessert for my mother’s Birthday. I was wondering if you would tweak it or roast the rhubarb (with sugar and orange juice) before mixing in if using from frozen?

    Thank you!

    • Reply nevada June 17, 2019 at 6:53 am

      Hi! For this cake, I would typically just let the rhubarb thaw first, then add it to the cake. It’s simplicity is what makes it so nice. You can, of course, try tweaking it but it will change the consistency and overall flavor.

  • Reply Jane June 10, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Yummy recipe; thanks! I made it for breakfast and called it coffee cake! I do recommend a spring form pan or a larger pan, as the cake almost spilled over the top of my regular 8” pan. I also had to bake it at a higher temperature and much longer, but that may be because I live at almost 7000 feet elevation. I used only 4 ounces of butter, and it was fine. I am always looking for rhubarb recipes because my garden rhubarb is so productive, and I freeze some for winter. I will definitely make this again!

    • Reply nevada June 17, 2019 at 6:54 am

      I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this cake! Thanks for sharing your tips 🙂

  • Reply Clarice June 12, 2019 at 1:56 am

    I grew up in ND to Norwegian parents, a mom had a large patch of Rhubarb and we all loved it. Cold weather areas seem better to grow it, we live in VA and I struggled to have enough to get a great pie.

  • Reply Amelie June 14, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    Hey, I was wondering: do you peel the rhubarb? My husband mentioned he doesn’t remember ever peeling it – and I don’t remember even NOT peeling. Now we had a hail storm devastate the leaves and bruise the stalks which makes it a real chore to peel. The cake sounds perfect for a lazy Sunday – but I don’t want to end up regretting I didn’t peel the stalks…
    BTW, they’re super common here in southern Germany on the markets as well Asian the gardens. We just got to salvage a few roots from my mother‘s old patch – she moved the plants half a decade ago but some roots got left in the ground and kept on growing.

    • Reply nevada June 17, 2019 at 7:05 am

      Hi! I don’t tend to peel the rhubarb as our stalks aren’t usually that stringy. I think it depends on your preference, but it’s not necessary. Hope you enjoy the cake!

  • Reply Nan Johnson June 16, 2019 at 12:21 am

    for me it was a little paper bag that held my sugar I am going to try this one ,,,,Thank you

  • Reply ANN June 16, 2019 at 1:41 am

    Love the Rhubarb cake. .so good.and easy to make.

    • Reply nevada June 17, 2019 at 7:06 am

      I’m so happy to hear that 🙂

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