Martha’s Manly Rhubarb Cake

Rhubarb Cake

I bought rhubarb specifically to make a rhubarb cake I saw in Martha Stewart Living magazine. Pistachio-Rhubarb Yogurt Cake. Martha’s magazine is a guilty pleasure of mine – though it seems everything about the magazine is geared towards women. But that’s alright. I skip right past the make-up tips and arts and crafts stuff and look at her recipes. They always feature creative yet approachable seasonal ingredients. I’ll admit it’s not a magazine I’d read on a plane, but I still subscribe and I still skulk to the mailbox each month to retrieve it. Do you think I could get it delivered in a plain brown wrapper?

I feel the same way about rhubarb. It’s so pretty it blushes. Fruit that blushes is not what I’d call manly fruit. But (like Martha’s magazine) it’s frivolous first impression belies its practical place in our seasonal fruit bowl. Which means there’s an obvious disconnect here. That’s partly because rhubarb isn’t a fruit it’s a vegetable. A vegetable that’s best-known as a dessert. Rhubarb may be botanically a vegetable, but it is legally a fruit, as ruled by the U.S. Customs Court in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1947. Whichever way you want to classify it, rhubarb bridges the seasonal gap between winter citrus and summer stone fruit nicely. It’s perfectly suited to a no muss, no fuss in-between-season rhubarb cake.

However there’s another contradiction: On its own the sour stalks of rhubarb are no one’s favorite fruit. Rhubarb may wear a flamboyant crimson frock, but it can be so tart it verges on astringent. However, its flavor mellows when roasted with sugar. That’s exactly where this rhubarb cake starts.

Rhubarb Cake

In fact, whenever I’m faced with a bunch of rhubarb I immediately toss it with butter and sugar and stick it in a 400 degree oven. A bright-pink batch of roasted rhubarb can add a sweet and sour twang to almost anything. Spoon it on ice cream, set a bowl next to a pork loin, layer it in a silky parfait or make this manly rhubarb cake. Yes, rhubarb cake can be manly. Men invented cake. And fire. And weapons of mass destruction. I think I read that in Martha Stewart Living magazine. GREG

Rhubarb Rhubarb Cake Rhubarb Cake

Pistachio-Rhubarb Yogurt Cake 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 8Source Martha Stewart LivingPublished
Pistachio-Rhubarb Yogurt Cake


  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature (plus more for pan )
  • 2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 pound rhubarb (trimmed and cut crosswise into 3‑inch pieces )
  • 1 ½ cup granulated (plus more for sprinkling )
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ cup shelled unsalted pistachios
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon orange blossom water or pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter an 8‑inch-round, 2‑inch-deep cake pan and line bottom with parchment; butter parchment. Place 1 cup yogurt in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl; let drain in refrigerator.

Meanwhile, toss together rhubarb, ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, and ¼ teaspoon salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring once, just until tender, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

In a food processor, finely grind pistachios. Add flour, baking powder, and remaining 1 ½ teaspoons salt; pulse to combine. Beat together remaining 1 stick butter and 1 cup granulated sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then orange-blossom water. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture in two batches, alternating with remaining 1 cup yogurt.

Transfer batter to pan and smooth top. Arrange about half of rhubarb over top; refrigerate remaining rhubarb in syrup until ready to serve. Sprinkle cake with granulated sugar and bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour, 15 minutes. (If browning too quickly, tent with foil.) Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Run a small sharp knife around edges. Invert onto a cutting board, then immediately flip onto rack; let cool completely.

Stir confectioners’ sugar into drained yogurt. Chop remaining rhubarb and swirl into yogurt, along with some syrup. Serve cake with yogurt, drizzled with more syrup.