The quintessential pairing of strawberry and rhubarb is the epitome of Spring, so why not use it as a filling in a delicious, vegan coffee cake?
Last week, I visited my parents in Michigan where spring has decidedly not arrived yet. BUT, when I was at the grocery store shopping for ingredients I found rhubarb and got really excited! And since whenever I visit my folks I get into personal chef mode, I thought I’d whip up a coffee cake for them.
I have a couple versions of this recipe on the site already, like the Mixed Berry and Strawberries & Cream, but I’ve changed up a couple ingredients and measurements with this one. It turned out SO good, it was gone in a day and a half between the three of us. Lol! Oh! And I have a pumpkin pie coffee cake in The Great Vegan Pumpkin eBook.
Admittedly, it was not the easiest to shoot this recipe in a dark kitchen on a cloudy day but I got it done to share with y’all! Highly recommend enjoying this with a hot cup of tea, maybe even a matcha latte? I love the pairing of strawberry and matcha. Or of course, a nice cup of coffee!
Substitutions + Tips:
- Strawberries – while I used fresh, frozen would also work, since you’re going to simmer them anyway. If you use frozen, go by cup measurement and not weight.
- Rhubarb – the season for finding this in stores is pretty short, so you can absolutely use frozen here as well, again using cup instead of weight.
- Corn starch – if you have a corn allergy, you can use tapioca starch instead.
- All-purpose flour – usually I’d say you could use a GF flour blend if need be, but I don’t recommend it here because the cake could easily become gummy and not great.
- Vegan butter – vegetable shortening will also work, just add a pinch more salt to compensate for the lack of in shortening.
- Chia seeds – in previous coffee cake recipes I’ve used flaxseed to make an egg sub, but my parents only had chia seeds so that’s what I used! I did find that I needed a little extra liquid since the chia seeds were super-absorbent.
- White vinegar – if you’d like, you can use apple cider vinegar instead, as this is to create vegan buttermilk.
- 1 cup (145 g) diced strawberries
- 1 cup (140 g) diced rhubarb
- 1/4 cup (56 g) sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 lm) water, divided
- 2 tablespoons (16 g) cornstarch
- 5 ounces (148 ml) unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) hot water
- 1 tablespoon (11 g) chia seeds
- 1 1/2 cups (200 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (138 g) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (56 g) cold vegan butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup (30 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (56 g) sugar
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) cold vegan butter, cubed
- Pinch of salt
- In a sauce pan, over medium-high heat, place strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water. Bring to a boil, then adjust heat to medium-low and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Once fruit and veg have softened, gently mash them to get a smoother consistency.
- In a small bowl, combine remaining water and cornstarch to create a slurry, then add it to the berry mixture. Stir often to incorporate, and activate the starch; once the mixture has thickened, transfer it to a bowl to chill/reach room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4), and lightly grease an 8x8-inch (20x20-cm) baking dish with vegan butter or cooking oil spray.
- In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine non-dairy milk, vinegar, and vanilla, set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together hot water and chia seeds to make a vegan "egg", set that aside to gel further.
- In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Cut the vegan butter into to the flour mixture, using a pastry blender, or fork, until it becomes crumbly.
- Add the chia "egg" to the milk mixture, whisking until combined, then add it to the flour mixture, stir together until there is no loose flour, but do not over mix the batter, it will still be slightly chunky. Spread roughly 2/3 of the batter into an even layer in the baking dish.
- Carefully place the strawberry filling on top of the dough, using spoonfuls at a time; then spreading it out evenly. Use a spoon to place the remaining 1/3 of the dough into 3 rows on top of the filling. Don't press too hard or it will disturb the fruit layer.
- For the cake topping, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl, then cut the vegan butter into it until it is finely crumbled. Sprinkle this over the top of the cake rows. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown. Wait at least 30 minutes for it to cool, as it is best the closer it is to room temperature.
- Strawberries - if you use frozen, go by cup measurement and not weight.
- Rhubarb - the season for finding this in stores is pretty short, so you can absolutely use frozen here as well, again using cup instead of weight.
- Corn starch - if you have a corn allergy, you can use tapioca starch instead.
- Vegan butter - vegetable shortening will also work, just add a pinch more salt to compensate for the lack of in shortening.
- Chia seeds - in previous coffee cake recipes I've used flaxseed to make an egg sub, but my parents only had chia seeds so that's what I used! I did find that I needed a little extra liquid since the chia seeds were super-absorbent.
- White vinegar - if you'd like, you can use apple cider vinegar instead, as this is to create vegan buttermilk.
Here are some other great Springtime treats!