Amish Rhubarb Cake

One of my favourite cakes is this Rhubarb Coffee Cake.

I found the recipe in a book of Amish recipes that’s in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library in Norwich.

As the name suggests it’s a memorial to the men of the US Airforce who were stationed in Norfolk during World War 2.

Rhubarb stalks
Freshly picked Rhubarb from the garden

At that time the whole county was one giant airfield – within five miles of the tiny village where I used to live in West Norfolk there were more than a dozen runways and landing strips.

It was a time of great change for this very rural area.

And the USAF is still here in Norfolk and Suffolk 75 years later.

There are bases at Lakenheath, Mildenhall and Feltwell.

Chopped Rhubarb
Chopped Rhubarb is folded into a cake batter

I ventured into the memorial library for the first time about six years ago.

I was helping organise an Americana Music weekend which was really a chance to showcase the unique singing tradition of Sacred Harp or Shapenote musicĀ which I’d fallen in love with.

I handed out flyers put up posters and then had a quick look at the bookshelves and found the Amish recipe book.

That’s where I found the instructions for this Rhubarb Coffee Cake.

I soon realised that “coffee” didn’t allude to any ingredient but rather to having a slice of cake with a cup of coffee.

Rhubarb cake
The cake is scattered with a cinnamon and brown sugar streusel



I’ve converted the recipe that was scrawled in my own scrapbook so that it’s entirely plant-based.

And it works.


I’ve subbed flax eggs for hens eggs and used fancy Rapadura sugar but would use soft brown sugar if I didn’t have this.

Hope you love it as much as I do.

Amish Rhubarb Coffee Cake

All measurements are in US cups

Author: Cath
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter or margarine
  • 1 1/4 cups soft brown sugar
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground linseed mixed with 6 tbsp warm water and left for five minutes)
  • 3/4 cup soya milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups plain flour
For the streusel topping
  • 1 tsp melted vegan butter or margarine
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup soft brown sugar
Cake Batter
  1. Heat the oven to 180 Celsius, 375 Farenheit or Gas Mark 5

  2. Cream the vegan butter with the sugar in a large bowl ( I use electric beaters/whisk).

  3. Stir the lemon juice OR vinegar into the soya or plant milk and then add to the butter and sugar mixture in the bowl.

  4. Add the flax eggs to mixture along with the vanilla essence and combine - but do not overmix.

  5. Add sifted flour and baking powder and baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and combine.

  6. Add chopped rhubarb and fold in well. The pour/scrape into 10 inch (25 cm) diameter tin or silicone mould. The mixture should be quite stiff and not runny.

For the streusel topping
  1. Melt butter/margarine, cool and then stir in cinnamon and sugar till it resembles breadcrumbs.

  2. Sprinkle evenly on top of cake batter in tin/mould.

  3. Bake in moderate oven for 40 minutes or until firm.

  4. Remove from oven and cool for ten minutes on a wire rack before loosening with a knife round the edge and inverting onto a plate and then back up the right way onto the rack.