Raspberry Rhubarb Crumb Cake
Bonjour, friends! I am writing to you today from sunny St. Barth’s- the French-speaking Caribbean island full of chic travelers, posh locals, and divine cuisine. I’m definitely a little fish in a big pond here, but honestly, I couldn’t feel fancier if I tried. Brett and I traveled to the island with some dear friends and have spent the better part of the past few days sun bathing, day drinking, and taking in all of the European vibes the island has to offer. It’s been incredible getting to unplug and I can’t wait to share more about out trip with y’all later. All of the world travel seemed to be an appropriate time to share this raspberry rhubarb crumb cake and to tell you about another recent international experience I had.
Several weeks ago, my friend Erin of Cloudy Kitchen flew from Brooklyn, NY to our small, Southern town for a few days of baking, blog talk, and fun. Erin is a New Zealand born food blogger that I met via the blogosphere, and we have had the most fun getting to know each other. She’s been a sounding board for recipe concepts, a help with troubleshooting computer woes, and constant source of encouragement throughout my first year of blogging. Her trip to Selma was our very first in-person meet, but I doubt it will be the last.
While Erin and I were together, we baked a number of things including a delightful crumb cake. Rhubarb had just made its first appearance in the produce section, so we swiped a bit for our weekend together and baked several test batches of a peach rhubarb cake based on Deb’s famous recipe. It was fab.
This raspberry rhubarb crumb cake is one of the versions we came up with together. A dense but moist sour cream cake layered with a gooey, sweet raspberry rhubarb filling, and topped with the most glorious salted brown butter crumb topping. It’s glamorous enough for dessert, yet simple enough to enjoy alongside your morning coffee and tea. Could this raspberry rhubarb crumb cake be the most well-rounded treat of all time? I think, maybe so.
To prepare the cake, we start by browning butter. (Update: If you need a tutorial on browning butter, check that out here!) A whole stick (and then some!) sizzles and foams away in a pan before turning golden, fragrant, and nutty. We combine that with some brown sugar, plenty of salt, and a few other ingredients to make a super-sized portion of crumble to top our cake. The cake whips up quickly with a few humble ingredients- butter, sugar, and sour cream to name a few- and the batter finishes ultra thick and tangy. Finally, we mix up the fruit filling which is nothing more than some diced rhubarb, fresh raspberries, and just enough sugar to offset the tart bite of the fruit. We spread the cake batter into the bottom of a 9″ pan, slather it with the fruit filling, and sprinkle on those brown butter crumbles. After a leisurely bake in the oven, the cake is golden, gooey, and nothing short of delightful.
This raspberry rhubarb crumb cake is a new favorite of mine for a number of reasons. The tang of the sour cream mixed with the sweet fruit and salty, brown butter crumbles is a match made in heaven. The variety of textures makes each bite of this cake noteworthy, something special worth discovering. And while the cake is certainly decadent thanks to the rich topping and juicy filling, it remains simple and understated- like a favorite, old sweater that is perfectly broken in and fits just right.
If you’ve been noticing the rhubarb in the produce section of your grocery store, this raspberry rhubarb crumb cake is the perfect way to use it up. Give it a try and share it with a new friend. You can also check out Erin’s site for a different variation of this cake. It’s a rhubarb peach crumb cake with that same glorious brown butter topping and dense cake. GLORIOUS! In the meantime, I’m going to keep soaking up this sunshine and Caribbean breeze, and we can meet up here again next week, cool? Happy Wednesday to you and cheers!
If you like this raspberry rhubarb crumb cake, you may love:
Raspberry Rhubarb Crumb Cake
This raspberry rhubarb crumb cake is a dense sour cream cake filled with a gooey, raspberry rhubarb fruit filling and topped with a salted brown butter crumble.
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 60
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
For the crumble
- 11 tablespoons (155 gm) unsalted butter, diced
- 1 cup (210 gm) brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract can be substituted)
- 1-2/3 cup (200 gm) all-purpose flour
For the cake
- 2 cups (240 gm) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (55 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (150 gm) sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons milk (any variety), at room temperature
- 2/3 cup (160 gm) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract can be substituted)
- 2 cups of ½” diced rhubarb (washed and trimmed of tops and ends, about 240 gm/ 8-1/2 ounces before trimming)
- 2 cups (150 gm) raspberries
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
To prepare the crumble
- Add the diced butter to a small saucepan or skillet set over medium heat. Stir with a whisk or swirl the pan occasionally to ensure the butter is melting evenly. Once melted, the butter will sizzle, foam, and eventually start forming little golden bits on the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring regularly until the butter has taken on an amber color and nutty aroma. Take care not to burn the butter. Remove the pan from heat and pour the brown butter into a medium sized mixing bowl.
- To the mixing bowl, add the brown sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste, and stir to combine. Add the flour and fold until large crumble clumps form and the flour is well incorporated. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the cake.
To prepare the cake
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9” square or round baking pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with a square of parchment paper for easy removal, if desired.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the egg, vanilla bean paste, and milk and beat on low until well combined. Scrape the bowl, if needed, to ensure that everything is evenly incorporated. Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients and beat on low speed to combine. Add ½ of the sour cream and beat to combine. Repeat this process once more and then add the remaining dry ingredients, stirring on low to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl and fold in any unincorporated bits. Your batter will be quite thick.
- Spread the batter evenly in the bottom of your lined pan. In a separate bowl, toss the rhubarb and raspberries together with the brown sugar and spread this mixture on top of the cake batter. Gently press the fruit into the batter a bit. Crumble the brown butter streusel evenly on top of the fruit and place the pan in the preheated oven. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean (See notes). Allow to cool slightly before eating. Cake will keep best at room temperature, covered tightly in plastic wrap.
- If you bake your cake in a smaller, 8″ pan, baking time will differ. Check with a toothpick for doneness.
- The fruit can coat your cake tester, causing it to appear less than done. If you notice cake batter coating your cake tester, allow the cake to remain in the oven a bit longer, however, be sure you are not mistaking fruit juices for uncooked cake.
Recipe Adapted From: Smitten Kitchen