Monday, April 22, 2013

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumbcake

It is Michael's birthday today, and this is the cake he always request for a birthday cake. Not this particular recipe, but this type of cake. A rather flat sheet cake, topped with fresh fruit and a crunchy crumb topping. They always do not look like much, a little unassuming for a birthday cake. And if he did not have an opinion himself, I would make him a fancier cake, like the Chocolate Hazelnut Crepe Cake in Deb's cookbook. Or her recent cake, this Bienenstich cake. But who am I to argue with the birthday boy?
Truth is, I like those cakes, too. They are a lot easier to eat. All you need is a napkin. You could actually eat a slice of this cake standing in front of the fridge, in the middle of the night.
The recipe I used here is great. It makes a wonderful coconut pineapple crumbcake, or a great orange crumbcake with this orange marmalade between the cake layer and the crumb topping. Here I doubled the cake recipe, layered some rhubarb and strawberries on top and finished it off with a simple crumb topping. But you can take this anywhere you want.
And I am off, pizza and beer await me.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumbcake
Note: If you use darker sugar in the topping than I did, the cake will look less pale. Also working some agave into the topping would result in a crumb that turns more golden. If you don't care for the cake to be vegan, you can subsitute regular milk for the soy milk.
cake layer:
1 1/3 cup soy milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup agave syrup
1 cup canola oil (or another mild tasting oil)
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon

~2 stalks rhubarb
~1/3 pound strawberries

crumb topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
Slice the rhubarb and strawberries into 1/2 cm thick slices (~1/4 of an inch). Add a tablespoon of sugar to draw out some of the water before baking.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients for the cake layer. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until smooth.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the cake batter on top. Spread out a bit until it is between 1 and 2 cm thick. Top with rhubarb and strawberries.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the ingredients for the topping, until crumbs form. Sprinkle over the fruit layer and pat down a bit using your hands.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.


  1. Ah, strawberries and rhubarb already! Around here, spring seems to take forever to really get started.
    Is crumbcake a Swiss thing? I'm not familiar with it. What's the texture of the cake layer like, with it spread so thin? Seems like it would be a fun thing to serve at party. No plates, no fuss.

  2. Lena this is beautiful! I've never seen anything like it-- it looks almost like a pizza on first glance. And I know what you mean exactly. Every year I try using Waylon's birthday as an excuse to make him something really dramatic, but his all-time favorite dessert is a strawberry-rhubarb crumble with a scoop of ice cream. (haha similar to Michael?) Maybe I should make him this. :)

  3. Katie, I think crumbcake is a German thing (Streuselkuchen) not particularly Swiss. I really like them because they are so easy to throw together.
    The cake layer is cakey, slightly crispy around the edges and rather moist inside.
    And we have a really late spring here, too. I think we had half as much sun so far this year as in regular years. The rhubarb was from here, but the strawberries were imported. I think the season of rhubarb and strawberries do not really overlap here.

  4. Amy, it is good to know I am not alone. We need to make the dramatic cakes for ourselves then, right?