Ruby’s Rhubarb Crunch Cake

Updated On: Jan 29, 2024
Ruby's Rhubarb Crunch Cake
Everyone, I want you to meet Ruby.  Well, meet this sweet picture of Ruby.  She, unfortunately, left this Earth to be with her creator over a year ago, but when you make a mark on people’s lives, as she did mine, you live on forever.  
Ruby lived across the street from my Grandmother forever.  Her kids played with my Mom and Aunt when they were growing up.  Our families were so close that her granddaughter, Hilary, and I used to say we were cousins when we were young.  I guess we are related by many branches on the family tree, but we were as close as first cousins growing up.  The other day I was digging through my personal cookbook that has little pockets at each section, when I came across a hand written recipe, by Ruby, for “Rhubarb Crunch Cake” stuffed in one of the pockets.  When I unfolded it and saw her handwriting the memories of her came flooding back.  I recalled being a very young girl, maybe 5 or 6, and standing on a stool in Ruby’s kitchen watching her cook.  She was most famous for her amazing ravioli’s, but her culinary awesomeness didn’t stop there.  Anything from her kitchen was sure to be out of this world and I knew I had to make her Rhubarb Crunch Cake and share it here with all of you.  The only thing missing was a picture of this wonderful woman.  So I contacted my “cousin” Hilary to see if she had one.  Low and behold the picture above was in my inbox.  Seeing her smile and her perfect black hair brought back the strangest memory ever.  The smell of her house.  I have no idea why that was the first sense, but it was and I was filled with joy.  That’s what I hope for my children and their children is to remember the smell of my home when I’m no longer here to create it.  What a fabulous memory.  What a fabulous woman.  I miss you Ruby and I know that you are looking down and smiling looking beautiful as ever and laughing with your infectious laugh.  Here’s a hunk of Rhubarb Cake just for you!

How to make Rhubarb Crunch Cake

You need 3 cups worth of fresh Rhubarb cut small.  Go raid the neighbors house (or 2 of them) if you need more. Umm, yes I might be speaking from experience.

Dice it up.  Small is what you want so the rhubarb “melts” into the cake and doesn’t leave woody chunks.  That’s no bueno.

Toss the rhubarb in a bowl and add a 3 oz package of strawberry gelatin (I used sugar-free Jell-O brand)

Add 2-3 cups of fresh strawberries chopped.  And stir together.  Set aside.
Note: I used part fresh and part thawed frozen berries.  Do as I say, not as I do.  It made the cake VERY moist and almost mushy.  So stick with fresh only.  Got it?  Good.
Moving on….

In the bowl of your mixer add 2 sticks of room temperature butter (1 cup).  Cream until light and fluffy.

Add in 1 1/4 cups white sugar and cream some more.

Ever wonder why it’s called “cream”?  Isn’t it already cream?


Add 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 cup of milk and beat it until incorporated. (notice I didn’t say “cream”?)

Add 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the butter mixture and mix until just incorporated.

Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish and pour in half of the batter mixture.  
Top with half of the rhubarb/strawberry mixture and then repeat with remaining batter and rhubarb.

In a small bowl mix together 3/4 cup of dark brown sugar, 3 tablespoons white sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 3/4 cup chopped nuts of choice.

Note 2: I don’t like nuts in my baked goods….so I omitted that part of this recipe.  So if you’re looking for them in the next picture, sorry.  No can do!

Top the cake with the nut & brown sugar topping.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until the center is done and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Slice and EAT!  Delicious!  Even with my mess up on the strawberries and omission of the nuts, this cake was very good.  You definitely want to give it a shot.

Ruby’s Rhubarb Crunch Cake

3 cups fresh rhubarb, cut small
2-3 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
1 3 oz package of strawberry gelatin
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped nuts (of choice)

1 Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside.
2 In a large bowl, mix together the rhubarb, strawberries and strawberry gelatin.  Set aside.
3 In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and cream until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and cream until combined.  Add the eggs, vanilla and milk and mix to incorporate well.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until just combined.
4 In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the topping and set aside.
5 Spread half of the cake batter in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Top with half of the rhubarb mixture and then repeat with remaining batter and rhubarb.  Sprinkle the top with the topping mixture.
6 Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Recipe By:

Heather is a recipe developer and content creator living in Vancouver, Washington. She started Farmgirl Gourmet in 2006, almost 20 years ago, as a way to share recipes with friends and family. Heather is also the co-founder of Spiceology , a unique spice company, which she started in 2013. She shares family friendly recipes for easy everyday meals with a gourmet twist.


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Join the Conversation

  1. Kelley @ The Culinary Enthusiast says:

    Hey there! Just used this for my SRC post on Monday. Delish! Love your site. Keep up the great work.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just made this gluten and dairy-free with frozen rhubarb and dried cherries. Chose pecans for the topping and served with coconut milk non dairy I’ve cream. Terriffic!

  3. This cake looks amazing – you baked up a great tribute. I love your story about Ruby; it’s true – sometimes we find “family” by accident as well as by blood. Finally…I’m totally, completely in lust with your baking pan. It’s gorgeous!

  4. Farmgirl Gourmet says:

    @MotherLodeBeth – you could use unflavored gelatin or just omit it all together to achieve still amazing results.

  5. MotherLodeBeth says:

    Saw this recipe on the L A Times What did you eat this weekend? site. Need to find something other than store bought Jello to use since we dont use artifical flavors or ingredients on packages we cannot pronounce. We eat a lot of rhubarb which we have a lot of.

  6. Wonderful recipe and tribute. I love the crumb and topping of this cake.

  7. Aw, what sweet memories! Ruby sounds like a wonderful woman!

    I may be the only person on earth that hasn’t tried rhubarb, and seeing all these posts lately really make me want to try it. I’ve got to join the rhubarb club, and this cake looks like a great reason to.

  8. I heart everything rhubarb and this sounds fantastic!

  9. What wonderful memories! I love how food can take you back to a place or time. The cake looks fabulous!

  10. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says:

    This is a great way to use Rhubarb while it’s in season!

  11. Marnely Rodriguez says:

    How pretty is the dish you baked it in?! Love it! Oh, and the cake also 😉

  12. Heidi's Copper Kettle says:

    What a lovely post. I’m sure Ruby would be honored that you felt that way. 🙂

  13. DessertForTwo says:

    Looks delicious! Love that pan you baked it in, too 🙂

    Sweet story too 🙂

  14. Cookin' Canuck says:

    What a lovely story and tribute to Ruby. This cake looks beyond wonderful. We are huge rhubarb fans in this house and I truly can’t wait to make this.

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