Norwegian Rhubarb Cake

Norwegian Rhubarb Cake

Oh springtime, you most gentle of seasons, on one day you bring sunshine and warmth, and on the next a tranquil fog.

The quiet morning unfolds with the aroma of coffee as I unload the dishwasher and begin the next phase of cleaning up. These mornings after, with vestiges of the previous night’s book club meal, involve reflection and reminiscing: new friends and old, successful new recipes, and countless tangents originating from one common book. These book club dinners, begun just months ago, have become an instant highlight in each one of our lives.

Book Club Mussels

As I load the dishwasher with the next batch of bowls and glasses, I pour remnants of milky broth speckled with parsley, shallots, and bay leaves down the drain. The fragrant scent of mussels lingers in the air and I light candles to freshen the room, enjoying the special quality they add to the morning. I take a bite of rhubarb cake, leftover from the night before, and sip my coffee, which cools rapidly in the ceramic mug.

I have come to enjoy these still, quiet mornings and to savor the freshness of a cloudy spring day. While the sunny days of the past week beckoned us to hurry outside, today with its diffused light and tranquil stillness seems to give us permission to just be—to enjoy a leisurely walk with a friend, to read a few extra books to my son before his nap, to linger at the computer and enjoy the process of writing as much as the progress, even as the kitchen remains cluttered.

Norwegian Rhubarb Cake Batter

Freshly Baked Norwegian Rhubarb Cake

Oh springtime, you most gracious of seasons! Even as I write this, the blue sky emerges from the fading clouds and the sunlight casts its warm rays on the trees outside. Morning has transitioned to afternoon, with the promise of a mild evening and the possibility of a dinner enjoyed outdoors. But not before I head back to the kitchen and finish the final phase of cleaning—and eat another bite of rhubarb cake.

Norwegian Rhubarb Cake on Pedestal

Norwegian Rhubarb Cake (Rabarbrakake)
Adapted from Norwegian National Recipes, this recipe features the exact proportions called for in the original, but elaborates on the instructions, which were limited. So, what you’ll find here is a true classic. Please try to bake this cake within a few hours of serving. At its most moist and tender in the first three hours, this is the perfect time to present it to guests. I must add, though, that you shouldn’t hesitate to enjoy the leftovers with a cup of coffee the next morning as you get ready to start your day–consider it a host or hostess’ reward.

1/4 cup salted butter
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 large stalk rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, then remove from the heat and stir in the milk. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. While continuing to stir, slowly pour in the melted butter. Add flour and baking powder and mix until combined.

Pour batter into an 8-inch springform pan and sprinkle the rhubarb over the top, making sure the rhubarb doesn’t touch the sides of the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean–this took about an hour for me, but check it in advance. Allow to cool and carefully remove from the pan. This cake would be lovely served with whipped cream, as the original recipe suggests, but is also delicious plain.

Serves 6.

17 thoughts on “Classic Norwegian Rhubarb Cake”

    1. Debbie, I hope you enjoy the cake as much as I do! In addition to it being delicious, it’s also one of the easiest cakes I’ve ever made. The batter comes together in a matter of minutes.

  1. I made this today. It really is a pretty cake. And it tastes so yummy. I had to alter it to make it gluten free so I used Cup 4 Cup flour & it turned out lovely. It’s simple, humble & let’s the rhubarb shine like the star it is. Thanks for sharing, I can hardly wait for morning coffee to have another slice!

    1. A – I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the cake. Thanks for sharing the gluten-free tip as well; hopefully that will be helpful for other readers who are gluten-free!

      1. That was my hope! Also I neglected to mention that my son who’s 11 also loved the cake! Thanks again!

  2. I made this yesterday and it turned out to be delicious! So delicious that I made it again today! The dangers of having too much time and so much rhubarb in the garden that it looks like a weed… I made it with gluten free flour too by the way, and it way absolutely delicious, thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Elizabeth, I’m glad you liked it enough to make it twice! I’ve heard from a couple people about how it translated well as a gluten-free cake. What kind of GF flour do you use?

      1. I used dove’s plain flour, it’s a mixture of rice starch, potato, tapioca and buckwheat. I also really like how simple your recipes are. So often people try and overcomplicate things, ruining good ingredients. I am on the look out for a few more recipes on your blog which I can make without gluten. I noticed a few biscuits which are just made with almond flour so would be naturally suitable!

        1. Thanks, Elizabeth. I believe that some of the best dishes are those that are based on quality ingredients and then prepared simply, allowing the ingredients to shine.

          Let me know which gluten-free ones you try! I’ve been thinking about adding a gluten-free tag to help make it easier to find such recipes. You’ve encouraged me to give it another thought!

    1. Hi
      have just put your norwegian rhubarb cake in the oven. It is an interesting recipe and I`m keeping my fingers crossed.
      I made 1.5 times the recipe and found great difficulties with the cup sizing was it American or english cups.? Not to speak of 1.5 times 1.2 cups etc .
      It would be so much easier with grams and litres.
      But thankyou for the inspiration

  3. I saw the first signs of rhubarb growing in my garden, so I took that as a sign to make a cake! The cake smells great and was super easy to create. Thank you for the recipe.

  4. I have made this a few times and it also tastes good but I have had trouble with the cups and measure, but by trial and error I think I have got them right now. I first attempt was a very thin flat cake but they are improving every time now!
    Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Love the way this looks , will make as soon as rhubarb is ready , I will try it with a bit of Nutmeg for flavor , or maybe almond ? I make a rhubarb custard pie and use nutmeg real yum

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