Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake with Vanilla Sauce

Old Fashioned Rhubarb Coffee Cake with Vanilla Sauce. Not a "looker" of a recipe but you'll forgive that at the first taste!

Every spring I hafta make this coffee cake and this is not just any old coffee cake, it’s my Rhubarb Coffee Cake with a Vanilla Streusel and to top it all off, a Vanilla Sauce. Did you get all that? It’s a one, two, three punch of sweet tart goodness.

Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake with Vanilla Sauce

Over the top and out of bounds, hands down, Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake is one of my all time faves. This spring, I’m rewriting & reposting with new photos. (Look at the pic at the bottom of the page and you’ll see why! And besides, you need this for Mother’s day!!)

This Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake with Vanilla Sauce is just full of tart rhubarb goodness and chopped finely, the rhubarb all but melts into the cake. The streusel topping makes a thin, shiny crispy layer across the top, although that does soften with storage, so it’s at it’s very best the same day.

And the vanilla sauce? At first glance, you might suspect it could be a bit bland but trust me, it’s not. It’s almost like a melty candy. This is just a medley of goodness.

Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake with Vanilla Sauce

This recipe came out of a big old Bed & Breakfast cookbook I picked up back in the 90’s. Picture yourself back in time now, sitting on wicker chairs on the white washed porch of some big old Victorian mansion, Boston ferns waving in the breeze and slice of this!

A few of our family favorites have come from this Bed & Breakfast book, Kaltenbach Farms Sloppy Joes, for one & Potato Cheese Breakfast Bake for another. This one is from the Inn at Sea Street in Hyannis, Cape Cod, Maryland.

Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake with Vanilla Sauce

Now, I’m not gonna lie. This is NOT one of the prettiest coffee cakes in the pan, but plated and drizzled with the sauce, you’ll see just how useful all those little dents in the top are. They hold some of the sauce as the rest pools. This is just the thing to serve for family casual company that stops by.

The sauce can easily be made ahead and the cake is super simple. No mixer needed. (It would be perfect for a budding baker.) I thought this would be a great recipe to show off my “Miracle Goop“; a homemade quick release mixture for cakes. It works very well on this cake, which has a tendency to be a little sticky. I made this today in a 9 x 13″ pan but if you’d like a higher cake, try a 9 x 9” pan.

Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake with Vanilla Sauce

Rhubarb Coffee Cake with a Vanilla Sauce

  • Servings: 18
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups diced (about 3/8’s to 1/2″) rhubarb (see note)
Streusel Topping:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Vanilla Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup cream or evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (or use my “Goop”) on a 9 by 13″ or 9-inch square baking dish and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add melted butter, sugar, egg and buttermilk. Whisk together.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture, and beat until just moistened. A few small lumps are fine.

Fold in the chopped rhubarb. Pour and spread the batter into the prepared pan.

In a small bowl, combine the butter and sugar for the topping. Sprinkle evenly over the batter. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top of the cake is lightly browned.

For the sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and evaporated milk or cream. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute; it will slightly thicken. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools, rewarm slightly to serve.

Note on rhubarb: When I bake this in a 9 x 13″ pan, I generally use the smaller amount of rhubarb; it helps the cake hold together better. When baking in a smaller pan, use the larger amount.

note: This streusel forms a gorgeous, slightly crispy layer but softens by the next day. We like it best regardless, but for a more classic streusel, increase butter to 4 tablespoons and add 1/2 cup of flour.

From the kitchen of www.frugalhausfrau.com

Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake (original photo!)
Nutrition Facts
Servings 18.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 229
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9 g 13 %
Saturated Fat 5 g 26 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 33 mg 11 %
Sodium 189 mg 8 %
Potassium 44 mg 1 %
Total Carbohydrate 36 g 12 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g 3 %
Sugars 26 g
Protein 3 g 6 %
Vitamin A 7 %
Vitamin C 2 %
Calcium 5 %
Iron 0 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


I’ll be bringing this recipe by Fiesta Friday # 177. I’m seeing lots of beautiful brunch dishes there for Mother’s Day!