Rhubarb Schnapps | Rhubarb Cake

rhubarb schnapps

Every spring this happens: I blink, and rhubarb season passes. And in one second, my to-make list of rhubarb recipes dissolves, my thoughts shifting to stone fruits and no-cook dinners and popsicles. Before we know it, it will be the Fourth of July, and I, my mother’s daughter, will be declaring summer over. Ugh, depressing.

I think I might, however, have a solution to these time-passing-too-quickly woes: rhubarb schnapps, a mixture of chopped rhubarb, sugar and vodka, the cheapest you can find, Nigella insists. Sounds like a win, right?

Let’s hope. Unfortunately, this is another one of those recipes whose success I cannot guarantee. In six weeks, I will report back, but as with the lemons, won’t it be more fun come mid-July to open our Mason jars together?

Perhaps I’m taking a chance. But at this present moment, I can’t imagine a better union of three ingredients to bet on. And at this present moment, could there be a kitchen task more worth its risk, the upshot being rhubarb liqueur, the most-adored flavor of spring captured in high-octane, liquid form? In just one day, the vodka has leached most of the pink from the rhubarb, giving the schnapps-in-progress a beautiful, rosy hue. I am so looking forward to tapping into this jar in just a few short weeks.

Friends, I urge you: don’t blink. Scrounge for those rhubarb stalks languishing in your nearest market; forage in your neighbor’s backyard. We’ll toast your efforts in six weeks. Nothing will taste sweeter. Cheers, and best of luck.

rhubarb schnapps

schnapps ingredients

rhubarb and sugar

rhubarb and sugar in jar

rhubarb schnapps

Rhubarb Schnapps
Source: How To Be A Domestic Goddess

1 1/4 lbs. (about) rhubarb, cleaned and trimmed
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 liter vodka, cheap is just fine

1. Chop the rhubarb and divide it between two 1-liter jars or one 2-liter jars. Add 3/4 cup sugar to each jar or all of the sugar to the 2-liter jar, put the lids on and shake well. Unscrew the lids and pour 2 1/4 cups of vodka into each to fill or all of the vodka into the larger jar.

2. Close the lids, put the jars somewhere cool and dark for at least 6 weeks and up to 6 months. If you remember, shake the jars every day or every other day for the first month or so.

3. Strain into a pitcher, then pour into a bottle.

Another one of my favorites from How to Be a Domestic Goddess: rhubarb cornmeal cake:
rhubarb cake


rhubarb and sugar



ready for the oven

just baked

rhubarb birthday cake

rhubarb-cornmeal cake

Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake
Adapted from How To Be A Domestic Goddess

Note: Original recipe included cinnamon, which I omit. I have increased the salt and vanilla, too, but otherwise I follow the recipe. I love this cake — the cornmeal adds a creaminess as well as a lovely crunchy texture, and it’s a snap to throw together.

1 pound 2 ounces (510 g) rhubarb
1 cup (232 g) sugar
1 cup (128 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp (90g) fine cornmeal
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 oz | 113 g) unsalted butter (soft)
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp plain, whole milk yogurt
9-inch springform pan, buttered and lined with parchment or wax paper

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Wash and dry the rhubarb if necessary, and then trim, removing and stringy bits, and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Put into bowl and cover with 1/3 cup of the sugar, while you get on with the rest of the cake. Don’t let the rhubarb stand for more than half an hour or the sugar will make to much liquid seep out.

3. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and cornmeal together. With a fork, beat the eggs with the vanilla in a measuring cup or small bowl. In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer), cream the butter and the rest of the sugar, then gradually add the egg and vanilla mixture, beating while you do so. Then add the flour-cornmeal mixture alternately with the yogurt. They just need to be combined: don’t overmix.

4. Finally, add the rhubarb together with its sugary, pink juices, folding in to mix, and then pour the speckled batter into the prepared pan. Put in the preheated oven and bake for about 55 minutes to 1 hour or until springy to the touch. You may need to cover it with foil after about 40 minutes so that the top doesn’t scorch. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for a while before unmolding.

This one might have preferred angel food cake.


  1. Tom says

    This looks great. Curious about the method — wondering how much flavor will be rendered having not heated the vodka. I might try bringing the vodka to a simmer first to increase the infusing. Great idea!

    • says

      I was actually thinking the same thing. When I made vanilla extract a few years ago, I was advised to bring the alcohol up to just a simmer, which would help the beans infuse better. I might just have to make another batch to compare…hmmm. There are worse tasks to undertake twice, right? Thanks for the idea!

  2. says

    Oooh another experiment we get to wait and see what happens with! I love it. I have never made a liqueur before! We have tried infusing liquors with flavors from fruits or vegetables with good results — however, in those cases I would warn “do NOT eat the fruit after its strained out!” It tastes absolutely bitter and super alcoholic. We learned the hard way with cucumber gin :) Ha! However, you’ve got all this sugar on your side with the schnapps… hmmmmmmm!

    That cake! The cornmeal! The little flags! You are so good at life

    • says

      omg, sophie, i had that same experience with cucumber gin! I totally thought the cucs were going to be so good, but they were not. What did you do with your cucumber gin? I remember having grand plans, and then I think I just made g&ts with mint and lime.

      And you are too sweet. Thank you. I always love hearing from you :)

      • says

        Haha yes, I think as fancy as our cucumber gin got was being mixed with seltzer and ice. Mint and lime sound like wonderful additions! We need to get our homemade cocktails on again soon :)

  3. says

    I have three of Nigella’s books and I love most of her recipes, but you’ve inspired me with this rhubarb cake.
    I’m going to make it and follow your tips, thanks!

  4. Laurie says

    Happy birthday Ms. Wrenipoo! Hope your day was as lovely and bright as you wished for! Tell your mom Hi! From me and Bearish!

    • says

      Wrenipoo says hi, Laurie! She wishes you were here to help her mother with her garden, which is not looking so hot. Thank you for the birthday wishes! Big hugs!! xo

      • Laurie says

        Wish I was there too! Although even superwoman (you!) has to have limits….. Between children and husband and blogging and cooking and putting up moonshine and rhubarb I’m surprised you have time to sleep, let alone garden! You don’t, do you ? Sleep?! How could you possibly have time….what are you growing?!

        • says

          Haha, Laurie, I love you. I do sleep! I sleep too much, and then I neglect the blog, but I just love my sleep…until I wake up in the middle of the night with a panick attack thinking about all I have to do. Alas, these are all good problems to have I suppose. OK, we are growing 2 tomato plants, 3 kale, and 6 Swiss chard. I might try to get some herbs going too.

  5. Karen says

    Another good one to try is black raspberry vodka. We have 21 acres in Schenectady county and it is overrun with wild black raspberry vines. I picked about 6 cups of them, covered them with a liter of vodka in a jar and placed in a cool dark place, shaking the jar every day or so. After two weeks, strain and serve as a vodka tonic with lime. Have made it with blackberries as well, but it doesn’t compare to the wild black raspberries.

    • says

      Karen, this sounds so good! So refreshing. I’ve been serving the rhubarb schnapps (we’re on our third batch) with lime and a splash of tonic, and it is delicious. How lucky that you have 21 acres! Our neighbors have a ton of raspberry bushes in their yard, and I was eyeing them earlier this summer, thinking how nice they would be in some sort of liqueur. I might have to go foraging for berries…black raspberry schnapps sounds SO good!

  6. Liz says

    Finally I tested the first batch of schnapps–although I think it really is a liqueur, perhaps because I used a 725 ml bottle (I found a reasonably priced organic vodka that came with a cork top–I used the bottle to store the finished liqueur). What a feeling of triumph. I’ve made two batches, the second not quite ready. The first batch is quite pale like a delicate rose wine. The second is deeper hued. Both are lovely to look at. I serve the rhubarb liqueur chilled although my husband likes it at room temperature. But the feeling of accomplishment for something so simple to make is remarkable. The transformation of simple ingredients into something sublime is fun, and served in a delicate glass all the more satisfying. I’m going to try a pear version this fall.

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