Rhubarb Streusel Cake with Sweet Yeast Dough

Here’s my version of rhubarb streusel cake, a traditional German sweet yeast dough baked with lightly stewed rhubarb and a streusel topping.  rhubarb streusel cake w 2

This cake was a staple in our house as I was growing up. We ate it for breakfast and afternoon coffee during the work week.  That’s right, cake for breakfast! While it sounds odd now, I think we simply thought of it as bread with fruit and streusel on top. It was hearty and sturdy – something you could pick up in your hand and easily pack for lunch in the field. As good as it was, it was not deemed refined nor fancy enough for Sunday afternoon coffee – that was reserved for the more dignified tortes and pastries that required plates and forks.

rhubarb cake l

The arrival of rhubarb season marked a sudden craving for this German rhubarb streusel cake. And so I set out to recreate what we called rhabarber kuchen. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do.

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4 from 5 votes

Rhubarb Streusel Cake - Sweet Yeast Dough

A traditional German sweet yeast dough cake with rhubarb and streusel topping. This makes a big sheet of cake, perfect for a crowd.
Prep : 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook : 25 minutes


Sweet Yeast Dough

  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp quick rising yeast 1 pkg
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg lightly beaten

Rhubarb Filling

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch

Streusel (Crumb) Topping

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter


Sweet Yeast Dough

  • In large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, instant yeast, sugar and salt. Stir well.
  • In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add milk to butter. Heat or cool mixture to ensure it is lukewarm (110-115º F or 43-46°C). Add egg.
  • Make a well in the center of flour and add lukewarm liquid mix. Mix ingredients incorporating more flour as needed to form a soft dough.
  • As dough forms a ball, use hands to knead for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed. Dough should be soft and stretchy without being sticky.
  • Cover dough and let rest for 45-60 minutes.
  • Meanwhile make rhubarb filling and streusel topping.

Rhubarb Filling

  • In medium saucepan, bring rhubarb, sugar and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan to a boil. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until rhubarb is just starting to soften.
  • Dissolve cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and add to rhubarb. Cook until boiling and mixture thickens and rhubarb retains its shape. Remove from heat.

Streusel (Crumb) Topping

  • In medium bowl, mix sugar, flour and cinnamon.
  • Cut in butter with pastry blender or fingers to form crumbs. Set aside.


  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to form a rectangle to fit a 12 1/2 x 17 1/2" baking sheet with sides.Transfer dough to pan, tucking it into the corners. Let rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • Poke holes in the dough with a fork.
  • Top with rhubarb filling.
  • Sprinkle with streusel topping.
  • Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 20-25 minutes or until streusel begins to turn golden brown.
  • Remove from oven, let cool on wire rack.


Try this recipe with other fruit throughout the year.
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Here’s the rhubarb filling before the crumb topping. You could use chopped fresh rhubarb, but I like softening the rhubarb a little and having filling cover every part of the dough.
rhubarb cake filling

Here it is with the crumb topping getting ready to go into the oven.

rhubarb cake with streusel

And finally, the finished piece.

rhubarb streusel cake w

Other rhubarb recipes you might enjoy this rhubarb season.

Rhubarb and Caramelized Onion Focaccia

Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam

Rhubarb Fruit Leather

Rhubarb Honey Bran Muffins

Honey Rhubarb Sesame Chicken

Rhubarb Juice

Rhubarb Poppyseed Dressing

Rhubarb Cinnamon Buns

Rhubarb Cornmeal Surprise Muffins

Stewed Rhubarb

French Toast Fingers with Stewed Rhubarb

Chia Seed Rhubarb and Strawberry Preserve

How to Freeze Rhubarb

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