You’ve got a reason for partying, right? Whether it’s a booked vacation, the last day of school, or even just surviving the first half of the week, we all have something to hoot, holler, and bake about. For your summertime entertaining purposes, I have the prettiest pink-hued strawberry rhubarb layer cake. It’s filled with a homemade rhubarb jam and an oatmeal streusel and is slathered with a jam buttercream. Yes, it’s as sweet, salty, and fruity-delicious as it sounds, and you’re definitely going to want to read all about it.
First, here’s a quick update on us. Today is my Aimee girl’s last day of school. For us, this means summer begins and we can officially begin waiting on baby number 3 to show up. At 33 weeks along in this journey, I know there’s a few bloaty, swollen, heart-burny third trimester days in my future, but I’m counting down the minutes with anticipation regardless. The prospect of life as a family of 5 is currently blowing my mind, and I’m equal parts nervous-sweating and excited all at once.
We’ve spent the past few weeks nesting like crazy to get the big kiddos situated in their rooms and to prepare the nursery as much as possible. I’ve been washing clothes, organizing bottle parts, and doing double duty on the blog front to get some recipes lined up for you guys while we are in the newborn haze. My camera is currently caked in frosting and shards of shredded coconut, sticky and dirty from an overhaul of photoshoots, and my computer desktop is covered in a whole bunch of words, photos, and ingredients lists that I plan to share in the future. If I manage to pull this all off seamlessly, it will be a miracle. Pray for me.
The silver lining of all this insanity is that there’s a strawberry rhubarb layer cake today, and it’s as pretty as it is delicious and equally appropriate for the season. This cake feels worthy of all our life victories, big and small, and is so well-rounded in flavor, texture, and sweetness that it might just be my new favorite cake. Only maybe though, because see here and here.
To make this strawberry rhubarb layer cake, we start with a quick jam. Strawberries and rhubarb are cleaned, cut, and tossed into a pan with sugar and water. The fruit gets cooked down until it’s a loose jam consistency that we can chill in the fridge. This jam can be used on scones, as a filling, or even as an ice cream topping! Super simple and delish.
The next component is the streusel. Butter, sugar, oats, and flour come together with a bit of cinnamon and ginger. We bake the crumbled mixture in the oven until it forms a crisp, granola-consistency crunchy mixture. While that cools, we can work on the cake! This is a simple buttermilk cake made with butter, eggs, and flour. 3 layers of fluffy, vanilla goodness emerge from the oven and helps to marry all of the cake components as one.
We stack the cake as usual, using a bit of frosting to dam in the jam and streusel filling. Once all 3 tiers have been assembled, we coat the whole thing in a strawberry rhubarb buttercream which is made with a bit of that jam we made earlier. The frosting takes on a pretty pink color that looks incredibly festive and fun. It’s a fairly easy buttercream to prepare and work with, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
If you’re in need of a towering cake to make these toasty May days even more beautiful, please give this strawberry rhubarb layer cake a try! It’s absolutely divine and 100% worth the effort. Happy hump day and happy baking!
If you like this strawberry rhubarb layer cake you should check out:
Strawberry Rhubarb Layer Cake
This strawberry rhubarb layer cake has a jam filling, a streusel topping, and fluffy buttermilk layers. The frosting is a jam buttercream!
- Prep Time: 60
- Cook Time: 40
- Total Time: 180
- Yield: 1 Cake 1x
- Category: Dessert
For the Rhubarb Jam:
- ¾ pound rhubarb, chopped
- ¾ pound strawberries, hulled
- ¾ cup (150 gm) sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
For the Streusel:
- ¼ cup (55 gm) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup (40 gm) flour
- 1/3 cup (70 gm) brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (30 gm) quick cooking oats
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
For the Buttermilk Cake (Adapted from Spoonful of Butter):
- 1 cup (230 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1–1/3 cups (270 gm) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2–1/2 cups (350 gm) all-purpose flour
- 2–1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (240 gm) buttermilk, at room temperature
For the Rhubarb Jam Buttercream:
- 1 cup (230 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup, plus an extra 2 tablespoons (if needed) of rhubarb jam
To prepare the rhubarb jam:
- Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized pot over low heat. Stir to combine and continue stirring regularly until all of the sugar has dissolved. You can test this by carefully rubbing a little bit of the liquid in the pot between two fingers- it should feel smooth.
- Continue to cook over low heat, stirring regularly until the mixture comes to a simmer. Allow it to simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the rhubarb and berries have broken down and the mixture is approximately applesauce consistency. Remove from heat and place in a heat-proof bowl to cool in the fridge. This jam will keep in the fridge for approximately 2-3 weeks.
To prepare the streusel crumbs:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat melt and brown the butter. See the link in my blog post for help on this. Whisk the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, cinnamon and ginger together in a medium sized bowl. Add the browned butter to the mixture and fold together until the ingredients clump into dime-sized bits. Spread out on a sheet pan and bake in the preheated oven, tossing occasionally, for 10-12 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before using or storing. Streusel can be made ahead and stored at room temperature for a week, or in the freezer for a couple of months.
To prepare the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You can opt to make a 2 layer 8” cake or a 3 layer 6” cake. Whichever you choose, grease your pans and line the bottom of each with parchment rounds.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed (I use 4 on my mixer) until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time. Beat for an additional minute. Add half of the flour, the baking powder, and salt, and stir on low to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add half of the buttermilk. Repeat this process with the remaining half of the flour and buttermilk. Scrape the sides of the bowl and fold in any unincorporated bits of batter. Divide the batter among the pans and bake in the oven until the top is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. For 3 6” cakes, this will take about 25-27 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely before assembling.
To prepare the jam buttercream:
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the powdered sugar, extracts, and salt. Stir to combine and add the ¼ cup of jam. You’ll likely need an additional 2-3 tablespoons of jam to thin the buttercream out to spreading consistency. Beat in the mixer for an additional minute until smooth and combined, and add a tablespoon of milk or water as needed to get the right consistency for spreading.
To assemble your cake:
- Level the cakes using a serrated knife. Spoon 1/3 of your frosting into a piping bag or large plastic bag with a hole snipped in the end so you can pipe a dam around the border of your cakes. Place a small amount of buttercream on a cake board or serving platter and place your first cake directly on top. Spread a small amount of buttercream on top of that layer and then use your piping bag to pipe a “dam” around the perimeter of the cake. The dam can be narrow but should be about ¼-1/2” tall. Spoon jam inside of the dam just barely under the top of the dam and then sprinkle streusel on top. Stack the next layer of cake and then repeat this process again finishing with the 3rdlayer of cake. Spread the remaining icing around the outside of the cake and decorate as desired! The cake is best stored covered in the fridge and then brought barely to room temp prior to serving.