5 Ingredient Rhubarb Crumb Cake

May 18, 2020
In my memory of growing up on our Idaho Farm in the 50's there were many signs in nature that indicated the arrival of Spring.
Robins began hopping about on spindly legs while scavenging open spaces for twigs as they prepared to homestead for the season.
Wild asparagus began popping up along the ditch banks, and then there was the red effervescent Rhubarb plant, just begging to be popped into a cake or pie.

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Our rhubarb plant was like an old and dependable friend that weathered all of the season of life.
She grew in between purple Iris and beneath a friendly Lilac Tree. 
While her living conditions were less than perfect she never once complained, even though her Spring glory paled severely in the rich heady scented blooms all around her.
She practiced patience and she produced beautiful ruby red stalks of tartness that had to be tamed with a generous amount of sugar.

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So, Miss Rhubarb waited patiently year after year, season after season for her turn to be noticed.
On those glorious early days of Spring Mom and I would peer down at her and speculate on when her stalks would be ready for plucking.
Once her stalks grew to 12-18 inches long her season to shine had arrived. 

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We had bountiful crops for many years (20 years is the lifespan of a Rhubarb plant) and during that time Mom made jelly and of course her luscious homemade Rhubarb pies. Each pie was encrusted with sugar which was browned to perfection and those rhubarb pies nearly hopped out of the oven on their own.
I suppose they were on their own sugar high...

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My taste buds danced in anticipation of the melding of Mom's homemade pie crust drenched in the perfect combination of sweet and tart.

Mom's baking skills far surpass mine.
She worked magic in her adorable yellow and white kitchen and no matter how lean her cupboards appeared to me, she somehow whipped up tasty treats every Sunday.

You know Moms are without a doubt a mix of sugar and magic.

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Truly Rhubarb season is the perfect dance of patience and anticipation, it is a right of passage from those long, cold Winter days to the blossoms of Spring.

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As a kid growing up in Idaho,  Rhubarb Season was an official sign that my snow boots could be put away and my blue Schwinn bike could be taken out. 
Rhubarb season... a lesson in patience and a recipe too!

Thank you for joining me today as I share this rhubarb cake recipe while reflecting on the value of patience and growing up on my farm in Idaho.

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  1. Jemma, what a delightful post on patience and growing up on the Idaho farm. I loved reading about your sweet mom and her baking expertise, sounds just like my mom. I have never seen a rhubarb plant, and have only bought rhubarb jam at a specialty store. We can’t grow the plant, so I have missed tasting it’s tartness. The crumb cake looks delicious, I just wish you could pass me a piece. Happy Monday my friend!

  2. Good morning Jemma, this recipe sounds delicious and your background story of growing up with it on your farm and your moms baking it in her amazingly, perfectly browned crusted pies, was just delightful. My mom did the same... I think we must've had the same blue Schwinn bike too...your story is just so charming and so relatable! Can't wait to try this recipe. Farmer's market is tomorrow so hoping to find some rhubarb! Loved your IG video too!!!�� Linda

  3. Hi Jemma,
    My grandmother had rhubarb plants in her backyard and she made some of the best recipes of goodies from them. Your cake recipe sounds so yummy. Have a wonderful week.

  4. I loved the years we lived in Idaho! I made so many good friends there, and thankfully we stay in touch often. Your photos are so lovely and although I am not especially fond of rhubarb, I sure did enjoy my visit.

  5. Well Jenna, I have never had Rhubarb. Your pictures are always so amazing dear Jemma. I hope that you are doing well and I know you are staying busy. Though I still work PT, girl, I never bore easy! I am always up to something too. Hugs and blessings to you. Cindy

  6. That looks wonderful. A friend gives me rhubarb every spring and it should be soon. I'm holding on to this one!

  7. Oh, how this brought back memories for me! In my grandparents' back yard, they had rhubarb growing, and my grandmother made the most delicious pies using it. I can taste them to this day. Unfortunately, rhubarb doesn't grow in the south, or I'd learn to bake something with it.

  8. Good afternoon dear Jemma!

    As you described this memory of your Utah homescape, your well-penned recollections took me back to all the peach and apple and lemon pies my mom made from fruit that was growing in our city garden. We may have lived states apart, but both of us learned that a pinch of patience and a cup and a half of love always made the best treats. Our mothers taught us how to measure, how to not open the oven door lest the cake flop and best of all, how to enjoy that cake when Daddy got home after work.

    Dear friend, thank you.

  9. Awe Rhubarb is definitely like a dance. We had a plant in our garden and my mom would make pies, cake and jam. She also prepare it like a sauce so we could enjoy it warm. I even remember the dishes she would serve it in. Our plant grew under a fig tree and sometimes she would blend the two together. Funny, I had a blue Schwinn bike too.
    Enjoy a great day friend.

  10. I think we had a rhubarb plant growing in our very first garden on base at Camp Pendleton, California! I didn't know what it was other than it looked like red celery. It was in the garden so I was pretty sure it was something important but never cut it, just let it grow and flower. :) I'll have to go pick one up and plant it out with the rest of the garden goodies!

    Love your family memories here... Oh, and your quote: "You know Moms are without a doubt a mix of sugar and magic." It is proudly added to my post for Mother's Day! <3 You are now quoted and it is a great thought!!!

    Happy cooking and enjoy your Colorado weather! Hike a mountain trail or two for me!!
    Barb :)

  11. Jemma, I first have to ask you where you got those green utensils. I just moved into my house in So Calif. and have a white kitchen, and wondered what color I could use for a pop of color, and then I saw your green utensils! The rhubarb pie looks scrumptious, and what memories you have on the farm with the rhubarb plant and the Lilac tree and your Mom baking rhubarb pies. Your flowers in the milk vase are so pretty and look just like Spring. Your Mom sounds like such a great homemaker always tending to her family with love and patience. And patience is something I need more of. I would love to see her yellow and white kitchen. Sounds so cheerful. Oh Jemma, I smiled when you mentioned your blue Schwinn bike, as I had a shiny blue Schwinn bike myself. Such fun times and wonderful memories. Your Mom taught you well, passing special traditions on, and now you are emulating after a very special woman.


    1. Oooops, I meant your rhubarb cake looks scrumptious. ; )

  12. Good morning beautiful friend! Thank you for coming to visit my blog! You know, you are so right about what has happened in the last two-three months. We have been side-swiped with a challenge that our generation has not yet experienced, as a globe. We are left with so many open doors to either allow fear or wisdom to enter. Sometimes, both have to exist together to work off of each other. Fear can turn to caution and caution into sensible decisions. Fear in this context perhaps can be given another name: awe. Awe in the sense of respect for that which is bigger than us. So, what do we do?Stay home. Create. Be happy, vigilant and patient. Both you and I, we have enough creative energy to stir up wonder with new recipes, garden ideas, crafts, art, photography! Oh Jemma, it's great to have a friend like you.


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