Fun fact: I love cake. Another fun fact: I also love rhubarb. In fact, rhubarb desserts are my absolute favourite. So imagine my surprise last spring when we discovered a rhubarb plant growing in our garden. I was very excited!
My love for all baked things with rhubarb was cultivated at an early age. I remember my mom making rhubarb jam, rhubarb platz, and rhubarb crisp, and my Grandma Dumaine’s rhubarb pie with tapioca is to die for! Though my own plant is small, and already almost decimated from making this cake once and batches of Cookie and Kate’s Rhubarb and Chia Jam, I’ve been able to source rhubarb elsewhere: colleagues at school, a client of Pat’s. His client has so much rhubarb, I’ve been told I can get a few pounds each week! Watch this space for possible further rhubarb recipes this summer.
A word about this cake, and every cake recipe I’ve shared on this blog (ahem, Paleo Sticky Toffee Pudding and Paleo Chocolate Ganache Cake!): just because it’s paleo doesn’t mean it’s healthy and you can therefore eat it in unlimited amounts. I hate to break it to you, but there is no such thing as a healthy cake, even if it’s made without wheat flour, dairy or sugar. True, this cake won’t cause the same sugar highs and lows that normal cake will, and because it’s wheat-free it’s therefore gluten-free, making it better for you physiologically, but not enough to be called ‘healthy.’ It’s not nutrient dense the way vegetables, quality protein and healthy fats are, and it’s for this reason that it should be made and consumed as any cake should be: for special occasions.
This recipe also contains xylitol. As you may already know, xylitol is my preferred sweetener of choice. As I’ve written in a previous cake post:
While some Paleo Police would quickly jump to declare “That’s not paleo, that’s not real food,” I declare “On the contrary my ancestral friend.” Xylitol is made of birch tree sap. It’s non-GMO and barely impacts blood glucose levels at all compared to honey and maple syrup, making it an ideal sweetener for Type 2 diabetics. It can cause upset stomach and diarrhoea if consumed in larger amounts, but even if you have a more sensitive constitution, this recipe’s amount of xylitol still won’t give you an upset stomach. Finally, xylitol is also good for your teeth. Its many positives are the reason I use it over the paleo alternatives.
If you’re still not convinced about xylitol, see the notes for this recipe, where I’ve altered it for honey instead.
There you have it. A treat that is kinder to your intestines, your blood glucose levels, and your taste buds. A treat that ticks all of my dessert must-have boxes: moist sponge, favourite fruit (or in this case vegetable!), and roasted nutty (and seed-y) topping. And one whose recipe is in both UK grams and US cups. See what I did there? 😉
Paleo Rhubarb Crumble Cake
Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 50 – 60 minutes
200g / 2 cups ground almonds
25g / ¼ cup arrowroot powder (aka tapioca flour)
50g / ½ cup xylitol*
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 tsp cinnamon
60g / ¼ cup butter or coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp vanilla extract
350g / 2 ½ cups rhubarb, chopped
50g / ¼ cup almonds
50g / ¼ cup sunflower seeds
50g / ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp butter or coconut oil
1 tbsp honey
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
*ingredients note: if you choose not to use xylitol, substitute ½ cup honey instead and add only 1 egg.
1.Preheat your oven to 170°C/350°F.
2. Grease then line a small cake pan.
3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
4. Add the melted butter and vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix well. Then add the two eggs and stir until well combined. Add a large handful of chopped rhubarb to this mixture, then stir again. Empty the batter into your prepared cake tin.
5. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining rhubarb. Set aside while making your crumble topping.
6. In a food processor, blitz together the almonds and seeds. Set aside.
7. On the hob (stove top) melt together the butter and honey. Once liquid, add the blitzed almonds and seeds, as well as the cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until the almonds and seeds are completely coated.**
8. Spoon the crumble topping over your raw cake. Spread until all the rhubarb is covered.
9. Bake on the bottom tray for 45-60 minutes, depending on your oven. The cake will be ready when a skewer or small knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave in the pan to cool, then transfer to a plate.
Serve with your favourite paleo or primal cake topper – whipped coconut cream, ‘Nice’-cream, whipped cream, or even butter! (like Pat!).
**recipe note: You don’t have to blitz the almonds and seeds, you can leave them whole instead. The only difference is that the topping will be more delicate, and therefore more difficult to transfer from the cake pan.
This recipe is not only delicious and one that everyone will enjoy, but it’s also gluten-free, dairy-free (if using coconut oil), and sugar-free. It is both paleo and primal.
What’s your favourite rhubarb dessert?
What’s your favourite summer fruit?