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Sep 24, 2020

Uncle John’s Rhubarb Cake

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While growing up on Oahu, I remember Uncle John’s rhubarb cake and Aunty Gloria’s pecan tarts. They also remind me about these desserts whenever we go back to visit them in Hawaii or when they visit us on mainland because they actually make it for us. Now, Aunty Gloria’s pecan tarts is for another post and the focus is on rhubarb cake here.

Not very many people know about the rhubarb plant, and it took our Uncle John who is originally from North Dakota of all places to explain this plant to us. Go figure from the Dakotas to Hawaii, that must have been a huge transition . . .

In the Midwest, rhubarb is apparently very precious and I remember a viral video of two ladies swearing and arguing over it because one of them was stealing another lady’s precious rhubarb. It is not suitable for work or the younger kids because these old ladies were swearing like there was no tomorrow, but the video link is here. NSFW and not for children.

Uncle John states this about rhubarb – ” . . . cannot eat the leaves, they are poisonous. They will destroy the liver.  The darker the red skin, the more ripe the plant. Just need to pull it out of the ground. The roots seem to stay intact so another batch will grow after harvest. Cut off the leaves and toss them. We have found that animals have eaten the leaves and tiny glass-like particles got into the liver and cut it up causing death . . . ” To me, it actually almost looks like a celery stalk that is thicker and more colorful with the darker red, purple and green colors.

I love the crunch of the cinnamon sugar topping and the melt in your mouth softness of the moist rhubarb cake layer below. Check out the recipe and video below.

Uncle John’s Rhubarb Cake recipe:


  2 cups Chopped Rhubarb  (or 1 cup rhubarb with 1 cup chopped strawberries)

  1/2 cup butter

   1-1/2 cups sugar

   1 tsp Vanilla extract

   1 Egg

    1 cup sour milk  (1 cup milk w/ 1 Tblspn Vinegar)

    1 Tblspn baking soda

    2 cups flour  ( I use Softsilk cake flour)

    Topping  2Tblspn Cinnamon 1 1/4 cup sugar  (take 1/4 cup from the sugar above)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

1.  Mix butter, vanilla, egg, and sugar well.

2.  Add in milk and baking soda and mix well

3.  Add in all but 1/4 cup flour.  Mix well

Put chopped rhubarb and remaining flour in a large ziplock bag and shake to coat the rhubarb.

4.  Fold in (do not mix with blender) the rhubarb into the cake batter.

9 x 13 inch pan   Grease and flour

Pour batter into cake pan

Mix cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar and sprinkle on top of the batter in the pan.

Bake for 40 minutes  (poke cake with toothpick – if nothing stick to toothpick, cake is done).

How to Make Rhubarb Cake | Dessert Recipes |

Get the recipe for Rhubarb Cake at In this video, we add rhubarb to a cake recipe. The result is a sweet, tender ...

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Food · Hawaii · People · Recipes · Thanks

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