Gluten Free Rhubarb Cake with Strawberry-Grand Marnier Sauce

I love Rhubarb, my college buddy. To this day, I’m not sure how she got the nickname Rhubarb… I don’t even know if she EATS rhubarb (do you, Rhube?), but I love her.

And while it was an interesting nickname, it wasn’t until some of our friends (who were international students) wondered just what the heck “rhubarb” was anyway, that I realized that not everyone grew up with the giant leafy plant in their yard in the summer. Huh. Who knew!

Needless to say, beyond the ubiquitous Starberry-Rhubarb Pie (which is to die for, IMHO), I’m a fan a rhubarb cake. Not to many people would know that – but it’s not hardly a deep dark secret.

Should it be? I got some seriously quizzical glances as I marched through the market proudly with my rhubarb stalks. Maybe they thought I was crazed for letting a toddler gnaw on the too-tart-for-words stalks, but heck, I figured that gnawing on that meant less gnawing on me. Right? 😀

The cashier even asked me what I was buying. You’d think I’d found some freakishly rare veg or fruit from her face. When I told her it was rhubarb, she said “Oh, that’s what it looks like!”.

Well, kind of. Truly a rhubarb plant looks something like out of a mini-jungle book. The huge leafy greens hide the sometimes cherry-red or bright green stalks so much that I am amazed the stalks do actually turn red.

If you haven’t tried rhubarb and you fear the tartness in a pie, then try this cake. You will NOT taste any tartness at all – just the sweet fruit hint while munching on the cake… and topping this with Strawberries (which I keep typing as StarBerries tonight…. GEESH) with Grand Marnier will end any summer meal on a high note. Even the kiddoodle who at one point just preferred the raw, tartness fell in love with the cake. (She just got plain strawberry sauce, people, no worries.)

Give some rhubarb a go! Try out a stalk.
Just don’t eat it raw…. you’ll regret it. Really. You will.

Eat the cake instead. It’s a snap to make!

Gluten Free Rhubarb Cake with Strawberry-Grand Marnier Sauce
Find a printable copy of this recipe here.
Makes one 8″ by 10″ thick cake

Cake Ingredients:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 Tablespoon lemon juice)
2 cups Gluten Free Flour mix (rice or sorghum based)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups fresh diced rhubarb pieces

Strawberry-Grand Marnier Sauce
2 cups fresh strawberries, cleaned and cut into quarters
1/4 cup Grand Marnier (GF orange liquor)
1/3 cup sugar (or to taste)

Fresh Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons sugar (or to taste)

For the cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Clean and chop rhubarb into 1/2″ thick pieces.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together shortening and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Mix again.
4. Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum). Dump dry ingredients plus buttermilk. Mix thoroughly.
5. Fold in rhubarb. Mix well.
6. Pour in to a lightly oiled (or parchment lined) 8″ by 10″ pan. Bake for 50 – 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (If using a 9″ by 13″ pan, you can possibly lessen the baking time by 5-7 minutes. Keep your eye on it!)

Make Strawberry-Grand Marnier Sauce

1. Wash and quarter strawberries.
2. Place strawberries, sugar and Grand Marinier in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat slightly and stir continuously. Simmer for 4 – 6 minutes or until the strawberries break down. Set aside to cool.

To Assemble:

1. Cut cake into desired pieces. Cut each piece in half across the mid-section to create a layered cake.
2. Layer each serving plate with: cake, strawberries, whipped cream and repeat.
3. Top last dollop of whipped cream with a bit more sauce and a sliced strawberry.

Happy GF Summer Treats, everyone!

Is lunch ready yet?

Mommy Lesson #512:

Doddling in the kitchen before lunch means your shoes are now teething toys.

Look out, world.  She just might slobber on you too!


  1. I thought you weren’t supposed to eat rhubarb raw because it could contain traces of the same toxin that is in the leaves.

    -The raw leaves ARE not to be eaten – but the stalks can be. In addition, my imp doesn’t bite yet – it’s more of a suckle. 😀 ) Thanks for the concern though, Katya!! I truly appreciate it! ~Kate

  2. Ah, this sounds lovely. And rhubarb has a huge fan club in our house! Well, you know, a two people sized fan club.

  3. So cute!

    I’m glad that I’m not the only one who loves rhubarb. I think I might have to go and get some from my parent’s garden and make something similar!

  4. Hi Kate…

    It’s Cinde from Gluten Free Taste of Home (your fellow Seattle area blogger).

    Love the photo of your little one teething on a shoe! I remember each of my kids doing that. 🙂

    Your rhubarb creation looks beautiful and delicious. I will have to try it soon!

  5. Oh, thank you for this. We have an overabundance of rhubarb from our garden and this will be perfect for tonight! I actually have every.single.ingredient here. 🙂 Now, to go cannibalize Roger, the Rhubarb Plant Hell-Bent on World Domination. {insert evil cackle here} ; ) Thanks!

  6. What a great recipe and beautiful picture! Love the picture of your girl! My little one loved my purse strap and my shoes. They should design teethers more in line with what kids really want:)

  7. Thanks for the beautiful recipe! I’m just wondering what kind of vegetable shortening you prefer…canola oil? crisco?

    I have the rhubarb and the strawberries and company coming tomorrow, so I can’t wait to make this. I hope it comes out half as pretty as yours.

    When I use vegetable shortening, I typically use Crisco, not the oil. 🙂
    Hope that helps!

    • Made this for company a few days ago and what a hit! Thanks so much. I will definitely make it again.

  8. Living vicariously through your beautiful posts. XOXO

  9. I adore the idea of this cake. It’s like strawberry rhubarb shortcake, or at least, thats where I’m taking this idea to next. Soo desireable and yummy. Thanks for this lovely idea!!

    And that picture, priceless! Not so sure if she’ll love it being posted online when she’s fifteen – but she sure is adorable!

  10. I LOVE raw rhubarb! The trick is to sprinkle sugar or drizzle a little honey over the top. Since I obviously love that tartness, I’ve never understood strawberry-rhubarb pie. But this – I can probably get behind!

  11. Dear friend, I love your blog.
    I have a granddaughter of celiac six years, the diagnosis was not easy, I had one and half year old, he was always sick, thankfully now seven years, is a healthy and happy little girl, her grandmother myself, I will fight to get laws that protect the collective celiac , gluten-free menus in schools, rapid diagnosis, proper labeling …
    so that all children of the world celiacs can have an easier life.
    sonia gluten free

    Sorry for my bad English

  12. on’t see too much rhubarb down here in the south, but it looks absolutely smashing!

  13. OH, I want a piece right now!

  14. Wow delicious! The bottom piece looks like sponge, it would be even more divine if it were sponge soaked in an alcohol of choice, what do you think?

  15. Mmmm……this looks super yummy. mmm! Check out my new website, with Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free reviews and recipes. Other allergies/intolerance’s are noted as well!

  16. i really really want some kate! Oh my that looks delicious! Somehow i missed out on all the good strawberries this year! *sigh* wonder if i could try it with blueberries! 😉

  17. Wow!
    This was delicious! A huge hit with the whole family!
    I used Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free flour and it turned out great!
    Many thanks for all the great recipes!

  18. theglutenfreelab says:

    One word: YUM!

  19. rhuby loves kate says:

    i ~do~ love rhubarb. like mari, i prefer it TART, and do eat it without sweetener. only like 2 stalks though, or it starts to hurt the teeth and belly!!

    rhubarb is good with any fruit, you go on with your blueberries. also good with ginger in a compote/chutney. uh, i can’t think of a bad way, actually.

    here’s something amazing, kate…people PAY for rhubarb! wth, huh? it’s like $4/lb! everyone in the midwest has their own “roger”, or a neighbor/friend/three that have a “roger”…pleasepleasetakemyrhubarbstalks!!

    my nickname story is really lame, i probably already told it to you but it’s so boring you couldn’t help but forget it. i should make up a more exciting one. with motorcycles. and flames. and a mad scientist. or something. 😉

    and i love you too. so much!

  20. Hello and thank you again for your bog.
    I am a grandmother of seven years of celiac child. The love of my life.
    I wonder why the products are not labeled correctly?
    My granddaughter is now safe with the food at home, but … no it is important for this group that pructos were all labeled?
    May lead a life of my granddaughter normalsocial as an adult?
    I am very concerned about this issue.
    sonia grandmother of a girl with celiac

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: