Rhubarb-Cream Cheese Spoke Cake

Slice off a spoke and serve.

Rhubarb-Cream Cheese Spoke Cake
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Christine Keely
Active Time:
20 mins
Bake Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
Cool Time:
1 hrs 50 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 50 mins

Rhubarb is notorious for its short growing season, but this spring vegetable (yes, it's a vegetable!) might be one of our favorite fleeting ingredients. We particularly love baking with rhubarb, which packs a naturally tangy flavor. You better believe that this Rhubarb-Cream Cheese Spoke Cake will be making an appearance on our spring dessert tables.

In this recipe, the slight tang of the cream cheese combined with the sour, tender rhubarb makes for the most delicious spoke cake. Named for its wheel-like appearance, this dessert has the dense crumb of a pound cake and an irresistibly crunchy top.

Instead of placing the rhubarb strips on top of the cake batter before baking, we first allow the cake to bake for 30 minutes before adding the rhubarb. This helps to prevent the rhubarb from sinking into the cake. Midway through baking, we brush a layer of butter over the cake and sprinkle on a mixture of salt and sugar, which creates that glorious upper crust on the finished cake.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 ⅛ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

  • ¾ cup plus 1½ Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, divided

  • 2 cups plus 1½ Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 12 (4½- x ½-inch) pieces rhubarb (4½ oz., from about 2 large stalks)


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Coat paper and sides of pan with cooking spray; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a medium bowl. Beat cream cheese and ¾ cup of the butter with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually add 2 cups of the sugar, beating until combined, about 1 minute. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually add flour mixture, beating just until combined (batter will be thick).

  2. Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread into an even layer using a small offset spatula. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven. (Do not turn oven off.) Arrange rhubarb pieces in a spokelike pattern over top of batter, overlapping slightly in center of pan. Microwave remaining 1½ tablespoons butter in a small microwavable bowl on HIGH until melted, about 30 seconds; brush evenly over rhubarb. Stir together remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt and 1½ tablespoons sugar in a small bowl; sprinkle over top of rhubarb and batter. Return to oven; continue baking at 325°F until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour, 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Transfer pan to a wire rack; cool 20 minutes. Remove sides of pan, and let cake cool completely on rack, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

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