I love rhubarb! The only problem is I can never get my hands on enough. This year my neighbor told me to “take all you want”. Oh, ok! I was sure someone was going to call the police when they saw me walking down the lane with a machete in my hand a wide strange smile on my face. But I snagged my rhubarb without police intervention and got to baking up this strawberry rhubarb coffee cake when I got home.
This coffee cake recipe isn’t at all complicated. It has a few different layers and steps, but it pulls together quickly. It also slices up beautifully and holds its shape, so it also makes a great snacking cake.
This cake is sugar-free, gluten-free and keto friendly (depending on the size of a slice!) and pairs exceptionally well with a scoop of ice cream or fresh whipped cream. It also only has 5 net carbs per serving (sans whipping cream).
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Squares
This coffee cake is pretty simple, a cake base, a jam filling, more cake base, and a crumbly topping. The texture is very similar to old fashioned coffee cake, too.
You also do not need a load of rhubarb. Since rhubarb packs a punch with all its tarty goodness, you only need 1 1/4 cup for the whole recipe or about 2 good size stalks.
a bit about the rhubarb
Ok, so rhubarb is one of those magical ingredients that are rather difficult to find if you don’t grow your own. I do have a wee plant growing in my garden, but it will be at least another year before I can start to harvest that rhubarb.
I have friends and neighbors who offer up extra and bestow upon me bags of the stuff during the early summer.
But It doesn’t seem to matter how much I get my hands on, I always run out.
But last year, standing in the frozen foods aisle of Walmart, I eyed bags of frozen rhubarb. I was thrilled and picked up a few extra bags. My next trip to Walmart – no rhubarb! Seemed like it was a seasonal thing or a seasonal test, but it was over far too soon. I am keeping an eye out this year because that frozen rhubarb was pretty good.
Rhubarb is actually a great low carb and keto option, At only 3.3 net carbs per cup, it’s a great addition to muffins, tarts, cakes, jams and adds that tart punch to recipes.
A bit about the coffee cake batter
So a couple of tricks to make spreading your cake batter a little easier.
Line your square pan with two large strips of parchment paper overlapped (see photo below). Adding the parchment this way makes lifting the whole cake out of the pan much much easier.
To spread the cake batter around use the back of a spoon coated in melted butter. After you add the jam to the base cake layer, adding the top layer over the jam is a bit tricky. The cake batter wants to stick to your spoon, and not to the jam so it kinda slides across the surface. I found using the back of a spoon with a bit of melted butter made the job go much easier.
a bit about the jam filling
This low carb jam filling is super easy! Cook the rhubarb, strawberries, sweetener, and a bit of water over med-high heat until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Sometimes I add a few chia seeds to thicken it up even more, but this time I added a pinch of xanthan gum. Both work just fine, so you can use what you have.
I wanted to drip and drizzle some jam over the top of the coffee cake afterward and didn’t want to see little black seeds, it’s the only reason I didn’t use the chia seeds this time around.
It thickens up quite well as you can see in the photo below.
If you opt to use Chia seeds as the thickener, add them after the rhubarb and strawberries are cooked and not during cooking.
a bit about the strawberry rhubarb coffee cake topping
The crumby topping! It’s not crunchy like apple crisp topping but it is crumbly. That cinnamon crumble topping adds an extra layer of texture and flavour to the coffee cake.
Don’t skip the cinnamon here, as it adds a nice big pop of flavor that compliments the rhubarb and strawberries quite nicely.
what sweeteners work best
Ok so I used two different sweeteners in this recipe and I will explain why.
I have been working with allulose the last few weeks and I can say that it is by far my favorite sweetener now for items that need to be cooled in a fridge, or frozen.
Allulose does not crystallize when cold and that makes it perfect for things like jams. I also cannot seem to tell the difference between it and sugar when used in a recipe.
Some people have absolutely no problems with allulose, and some do. If you do, I would replace the allulose with whatever sweetener you do like and works for you, so long as it is a bulky granular sweetener, like Swerve, or xylitol or erythritol.
Stevia I did not like in the jam at all, and I felt the texture was lacking with the stevia, but that is a personal preference.
For the rest of the recipe, I used So Nourished monk fruit and erythritol blend. I have a very hard time getting my hands on allulose up here in Canada so I am reserving its use for my cold desserts and frozen treats.
Just remember if you use xylitol that it is toxic to dogs and cats.
I created a simple one-page sugar conversion chart to make it easier for you to swap out sweeteners.
strawberry rhubarb coffee cake storage and serving suggestions
I like this strawberry rhubarb coffee cake cold from the fridge. My husband preferred it heated in the microwave for a few seconds with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
It stores for up to 3 days, covered on the counter, or 5 in the fridge.
I always test my recipes to see how well they freeze. This one, unfortunately, doesn’t freeze very well. Boo! But it does last for a few days in a fridge.
More recipes you might find intriguing …
If you like snack size cake in your hand, you might like these amazing chocolate chip muffins. They taste just like a bakery style muffin.
Or dark chocolate chocolate chocolate muffins (so much chocolate!)
I also have a birthday cake recipe that is super adaptable, a great base for any recipe that calls for a white cake.
- 1 1/4 cup fresh strawberries (chopped)
- 1 1/4 cup rhubarb (chopped)
- 3/4 cup allulose
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/4 cup water
- 2/3 cup erythritol (powdered)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2/3 cup butter
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 4 Tbsp melted butter
1. Chop strawberries and rhubarb and add them to a small sauce pan with 3/4 cup allulose, 1/4 tsp xanthan gum and 1/4 cup water.
2. Gently cook over med heat until water boils off and ingredients thicken. Do not allow to rapidly boil, or use high heat.
3. Set aside to cool.
1. Melt the butter.
2. In a small bowl mix almond flour, cinnamon, and baking powder together.
3. Add melted butter and combine until ingredients resemble coarse meal. Set aside.
1. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a 9x9 cake pan.
2. Add eggs to a mixing bowl and mix on high for 2 minutes.
3. Melt the butter in the microwave, but do not overheat. We want the butter soft, but not too hot.
4. Add 1 Tbsp vanilla, almond milk, melted butter, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar to egg mixture and blend until well incorporated.
5. Sift almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, Xanthan gum, salt, and 3/4 cup powdered erythritol in a large bowl.
6. Gently add the egg mixture to the dry ingredient mixture. Do not over mix.
1. Add half the cake batter to the prepared 9x9 square cake tin. Spread evenly. Use the back of a spoon with a touch of melted butter to help spread the batter around the bottom of the pan.
2. Spread 2/3 of the jam mixture on top of the cake batter, spread it around as evenly as possible.
3. Dollop the remaining cake batter evenly over the jam layer, and spread evenly. Since this cake batter does not pour it is a bit more difficult to get an even layer. If a bit of jam pokes through, that is perfectly fine.
4. Evenly spread the crumble mixture across the top of the cake tin.
5. Loosely cover the cake tin with a bit of tin foil.
5. Bake for 20 minutes and remove tin foil.
7. Place cake back into the oven for another 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
8. Let coffee cake cool completely before attempting to lift it from the pan.
9. Once the cake is cooled warm the remaining jam in the microwave and drizzle across the top of the cake. I also used a bit of softened cream cheese to add a bit more whimsy, totally optional.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 308Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 242mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g