Cinnamon Swirl Rhubarb Bread
This easy, tender Cinnamon Swirl Rhubarb Bread is tasty, moist, and balanced with a sweet ribbon of cinnamon sugar and tart chunks of fresh rhubarb.
Have you baked with rhubarb? This is a good starter recipe for a vegetable that’s available for a short stint in the summer. This rhubarb quick bread is a delicious way to get your first taste!
Why You Must Make
- It’s a delicious introduction to rhubarb if you’ve never cooked with it.
- If you have a flourishing rhubarb patch, you can bake and freeze it for later in the summer.
- Making a quick bread is a heck of a lot easier than making a pie! Plus it’s delicious!
From Marji: This is a delicious way to use rhubarb. I used frozen chunks (excess liquid drained away) from last year’s crop. I made this twice in the last month. The second time I was out of milk and had to use half and half. No regrets. I didn’t make any adjustments for the extra butterfat and the loaf got a much higher rise. I didn’t swirl in the sugar/cinnamon on top, but I wish I had. The loaf raised so much, the sugar spilled over the sides. Two big thumbs up for this recipe.
- This recipe is best made with fresh, in-season rhubarb. Frozen rhubarb will work, of course, but it will be juicier and that could have an effect on the texture of the loaf.
- PRO-Tip: Before you even start, check the expiration date on your baking powder. It is used much less frequently than baking soda and most often expires while sitting in your pantry. If you want to test its potency, put a spoonful in a cup of very hot water. If it is active, it will bubble vigorously. If it doesn’t, buy a new can before proceeding.
- Make sure to test for doneness with a toothpick in a few spots across the top of the loaf. If there’s any batter on the toothpick, your bread will need additional baking time. If it comes out clean, it’s done!
- PRO-Tip: Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan. If you release it too early, it may fall apart. And if you wait too long, it can get stuck.
- You will lose some of the topping when flipping the loaf out of the pan. PRO-Tip: Alternatively, you can swirl in the topping with a table knife or thin spatula before baking.
I grew up with a rhubarb patch in my backyard. My mom would harvest and make her favorite rhubarb recipes, typically a sauce or pie. These Rhubarb Upside Down Cakes are a new family favorite! This tart vegetable is thought of as a fruit as it’s transformed into a soft, sweet addition to pies, crisps, tarts, and bread by counteracting with a generous amount of sugar.
I had my mom’s ancient rhubarb bread recipe on a faded index card, and I used that as a starting point. I topped my first attempt with a streusel topping, but most of that fell off as I was slicing. The second batch was a compilation of a couple of recipes but fell short on flavor. It was adding some cinnamon to the mix that finally delivered!!
How to Make
Like most quick bread or soda bread, there are a few tips to follow for successful results.
- First, prep your pan properly. You should grease, then dust with flour, or use an oil and flour non-stick cooking spray like Baker’s Joy. Place a small rectangle of parchment paper onto the bottom of the greased pan and grease the top as well.
- In advance, set out the egg and milk on the kitchen counter to take the chill off. This will make for easier incorporation.
- Wash, trim, and chop your rhubarb and set it aside.
- Mix together the sugar topping mixture and set aside.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients in another bowl.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until it comes together. Do not overmix; the batter should not be smooth.
- PRO-Tip: Overmixing quick bread or muffin batter will cause tunnels in the bread as it’s baking. It will still taste good, but it won’t have the desired consistency.
- Mix in the rhubarb, and scrape half the batter into the prepared pan.
- Sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar, then add the rest of the batter followed by the remaining cinnamon sugar.
- Bake as directed. The timing depends on your oven, so you will need to check by inserting a toothpick into the middle. It will come out clean when the bread is done.
- Cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan.
- Fully cool on the rack, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate before slicing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Rhubarb is an extremely tart vegetable that’s treated like a fruit. This is why it typically is cooked with plenty of sugar and paired with sweet fruit like bananas, raspberries, strawberries, and apples.
Yes, they contain high levels of oxalic acid which can cause renal failure if large amounts are ingested.
Rhubarb is best harvested in spring and early summer. As summer progresses, the stalks get woody and won’t taste nearly as good as the younger, more tender stalks.
Rhubarb bread can be stored at room temperature, well-wrapped in plastic wrap, or in an airtight container. After 3-4 days, if you have any leftovers, freezing it will prevent it from getting stale.
Yes, most quick bread freezes well. Make sure your loaf is well wrapped in plastic wrap and for extra protection, you can place the wrapped bread in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. It will keep well for up to 3 months.
Besides rhubarb bread and muffins, rhubarb is delicious in pie, crisps, crumbles, coffee cakes, sauces, and more. Almost any recipe that utilizes fruit can be made with rhubarb, although the sugar amounts will need to be adjusted.
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Quick bread is a category of bread that doesn’t use yeast as a leavener. Instead, these baked goods use baking soda and/or baking powder. They are “quick” because they don’t need to “proof” or rise before baking. Bread like banana bread and pumpkin bread, muffins, scones, and biscuits are all considered quick bread.
- The Best Blueberry Bread from Julie Blanner
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- 1 ⅓ cups sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup large diced rhubarb
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Grease a loaf pan with nonstick baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Stir together ⅓ cup sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and the remaining 1 cup of sugar in a large bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and oil.
- Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until just moistened. Do not beat or overmix. Fold in the rhubarb.
- Scrape ½ of the batter into the loaf pan, then sprinkle with ½ of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat by layering the remaining batter and then the cinnamon mixture.
- Swirl the topping into the batter with an offset spatula, if desired (I did not).
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour.
- Place the pan on a cooling rack. After 10 minutes, remove the bread and let cool completely.
- Wrap bread with plastic wrap and chill for a few hours to help make slicing easier.
The baking time varies depending on the thickness of your loaf pan, your specific oven, the juiciness of the rhubarb, etc. So check before the baking time in the recipe and note that it may take longer.
May add ½ cup chopped nuts to the cinnamon mixture.
Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.
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Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 234Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 146mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 1gSugar: 22gProtein: 3g
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