Seasonal Dessert Idea: Rhubarb Apple Fig Cake

Definitely the favorite of my two rhubarb desserts this year, next I might try something savory, but for now I present to you my recipe for Rhubarb Apple Fig Cake with Sour Cream White Chocolate Frosting. Based off of the general recipe I devised for carrot cake. This recipe is pretty forgiving in terms of volume of rhubarb, apples and figs that you add, so do not stress out. It will turn out oh so moist and delicious. The cake was cut up and served pretty quickly with the remaining delivered to neighbors. The recipe works great as cupcakes (makes ~ 24), layer cake, sheet or Bundt cake – pick your pan! 

Rhubarb Apple Fig Cake with White Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs (room temp is best)
  • 2 cups thin sliced rhubarb
  • 2 cups grated apples (I did 1 cup grated and cup more “chunky”)
  • 1 cup diced dried figs or golden raisins (optional)

Baking Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Decide which kind of pan you are going to use. If making a layer cake, prepare two 9 inch round cake pans by greasing (use shortening) and flouring the bottom and sides. Then trace the bottom of the pan and cut out two circles a touch smaller than the pan. Grease and flour one side of the paper and place floured side up in the pan. Be sure to tap out any extra flour in the pans. For a sheet cake, generously grease and flour bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 pan.
  • Make the batter: In a medium bowl, prepare the dry ingredients by whisking the flour, baking soda, cinnamon/nutmeg/clove and salt. No need to sift. In a larger bowl, mix the sugar and oil until well blended. Using a whisk, add the eggs one at time, mixing well each time. Add the chopped figs, and vanilla extract. Mix well and let them sit. This step is helpful if your figs or raisins are more dry, it will macerate them a bit. I bet you could soak them in rum or Cointreau too… hmmmm.
  • Grate the apple, no need to peel, and slice up rhubarb. I have done by hand and with food processor, pick your poison: arm work out or dishes.
  • If adding walnuts or pecans, you can optionally toast them whole in the oven for just a 5-10 minutes at 350 to really enhance flavor, then roughly chop. Roasting is in no way necessary, in fact you don’t even need nuts.
  • Starting mixing the dry ingredients into the batter bowl. Mixing well. Add in the rhubarb, apple and nuts (optional) and mix until combined and there is no more dry flour.
  • Pour into the prepared pans or lined cupcake pans.
  • Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes. Use the toothpick test to be sure it done. Toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the middle of the pan.
  • For layer cakes: Let the cake(s) cool in the pan for 10 minutes then run a knife around the edge and invert onto drying rack, allowing the cakes to cool completely before even thinking about frosting. Otherwise let cake cool in 13 x 9 before frosting.
  • Frost in your favorite way. Because cake is quite most I still did a crumb coat on the sheet cake. To do a crumb coat, scoop out about a cup of frosting into a separate bowl and then thinly frost the cake. This helps you keep the crumbs out of the final frosting. Wipe off you spatula or knife and then frost the rest of the cake. You will have frosting left over. Store any extra in the fridge and just try to not devour it.
  • Store the cake or cupcakes in the fridge or cool place before serving as the frosting might melt.


  • Cream together with electric mixer, the butter and sour cream. It will be lumpy but don’t worry. It will smooth out. Add in the melted (so still warm but not hot) white chocolate chips, mix again on high. Should be getting smoother. Add the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time until the frosting is sweet enough for you. Mix until it is whipped up nice and smooth. I usually use about 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar.
  • For a simple sheet cake, I think you could easily be fine making a half batch of this frosting….

Here is my other rhubarb dessert this season: Rhubarb Custard with Meringue

Other rhubarb recipes I enjoy:

3 thoughts on “Seasonal Dessert Idea: Rhubarb Apple Fig Cake

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