This recipe is adapted from Tessa Huff‘s rhubarb ginger layer cake recipe. I can literally take no credit for this, she’s done all the heavy lifting for you in her recipe. I only exchanged the cake flour for my own and used lemon juice instead of OJ for the citrus.

I had wanted to challenge myself with a Swiss meringue buttercream, which wept the first time I made it. The second time brought a modicum of success but the real reason I wanted to write about this cake is that it was unlike anything I have ever tasted.

Rhubarb and ginger make this subtle, crisp flavor that begs another mouthful. Think strawberries, green apple, ginger, lemon, and floral notes – that’s the flavor profile of this cake. Absolutely dreamy! If you’re looking to make an elegant, delicate and edgy layer cake, this cake will absolutely top the list.

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Rhubarb Ginger Cake
Elegant, edgy and delicate - this rhubarb ginger cake made with slightly spiced ginger butter cake, layered with rhubarb cream cheese filling, cloaked in rhubarb swiss meringue buttercream is dressed to impress your spring socials
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
3-layer cake
Ingredients
Ginger butter cake
Poached rhubarb
Rhubarb cream cheese filling
Rhubarb buttercream frosting
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
3-layer cake
Ingredients
Ginger butter cake
Poached rhubarb
Rhubarb cream cheese filling
Rhubarb buttercream frosting
Instructions
Ginger butter cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, flour and prepare three 8 inch cake pans and set aside
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients - cake flour, baking powder, salt, ground ginger and grated ginger
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk butter until smooth. Add sugar and whisk until pale and fluffy (3-5 minutes) scraping the sides as needed
  4. On low speed, incorporate vanilla and egg whites one at a time
  5. Gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture taking care not to over-mix
  6. Evenly distribute batter into prepared pans and bake 23-26 minutes on until inserted toothpick comes out moist and clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans
Poached rhubarb
  1. Place chopped rhubarb and all of the poaching ingredients into a medium saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil
  2. Once the juices begin to boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes until rhubarb breaks down and begins to thicken. Remove from heat
  3. Strain the rhubarb pulp with a mesh sieve – reserving the liquids separately. Set both aside
Rhubarb cream cheese filling
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the cream cheese and butter until smooth
  2. Add in the sugar and vanilla. Mix on low until all of the ingredients begin to come together. Turn mixer up to medium and mix until smooth. Stop the mixer and gently fold in the strained rhubarb. Set aside
Rhubarb swiss meringue buttercream
  1. Puree the remaining strained rhubarb until smooth. Set aside
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Place a few inches of water in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler. Heat egg white mixture until it reaches 155 F degrees on a candy thermometer – or until hot to the touch. The sugar should have dissolved completely. Remove the hot bowl from the heat carefully
  3. Mix on high until the outside of the bowl returns to room temperature – about 10-12 minutes or until stiff, glossy peaks forms
  4. With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla and butter – a couple tablespoons at a time. Your meringue will weep if it is not at room temperature when you add the butter
  5. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix until smooth (2-3 minutes, or until desired thick piping consistency is reached). Turn mixer down to medium-low and mix in the salt and rhubarb puree until combined. Add 1-3 teaspoons of the rhubarb syrup, if desired
Assembly
  1. Level the cake if it has domed during baking
  2. Place one of the cake layers on a cake board or serving dish. Spread on half of the rhubarb cream cheese with an offset spatula. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat. Frost cake with rhubarb buttercream and decorate with flowers, if desired
Recipe Notes
  • You will no doubt end up with a lot of egg yolks when making this cake. Plan to turn them into a rhubarb ginger curd for a pavlova, or a lemon curd to drizzle on desserts later. If all else fails, make a simple vanilla custard and keep it in the fridge for rainy day blues. t would be a shame to waste those egg yolks
  • If you want the spread the baking and assembly of the cake over a weekend, feel free to wrap the cake in cling wrap after it is completely cooled and place it in the freezer overnight. The filling can also be made in advance and refrigerated overnight. Its best to make and pipe the cake on the same day as you plan to serve it. The cake can be made 1 week in advance and frozen. To thaw, simply place the cake in the fridge overnight.