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Grandma’s German Rhubarb Meringue cake
Grandma’s german rhubarb meringue cake with a topping of crispy meringue tastes simply heavenly! Make this traditional German cake recipe at home! In Germany, we love cakes with meringue toppings like this Rhubarb Sour Cream Custard Pie or this German Berry Meringue Cake.
Every bite brings back so many happy childhood memories. This Rhubarb Cake is another family favorite! It couldn’t be easier or quicker: the base for this rhubarb cake is a simple lemon-scented German sponge cake (Rührteig)
We fill the batter into a greased 9-inch springform pan and cover it with pieces of rhubarb before we put the cake in the hot oven for about 30 minutes. On goes the meringue layer and back into the oven where the rhubarb cake can finish baking.
This easy rhubarb cake is not only incredibly juicy, but thanks to the fluffy cloud of meringue on top, it is also a bit crunchy and creamy. EXCITING! Here you can find out how you can make meringue toppings for any fruit cake without the common disasters.
How do you store a meringue cake
This rhubarb cake is best on the day it is made. You can make the cake layers a day in advance and store them in airtight containers in a cool, dry place. However, the meringue may soften slightly as it will absorb some moisture from the sponge cake and the rhubarb chunks.
If there are leftovers, you can eat the rhubarb cake for about 2 more days if stored in a cool and dry place. However, the meringue can change its texture and become tough during this time. Meringue cakes are not suitable for freezing.
To prepare the rhubarb cake ahead of time, you can pre-bake the sponge cake in the evening and spread with meringue the next day and bake until done.
How to make the perfect meringue topping
- Make sure your utensils are clean: even the tiniest bit of fat in the bowl or on the whisk can inhibit the foaming of this fragile egg and sugar mixture. Make sure both the bowl and mixer or whisk are completely clean of any leftovers from previous products.
- Room temperature egg whites beat to a greater volume than egg whites taken directly from the refrigerator. Separate while cool, then let the whites stand a bit.
- Add 1 tsp. of vanilla and ½ tsp. cream of tartar before you begin beating the egg whites. You can make meringue without cream of tartar, adding some salt or lemon juice but adding cream of tartar helps stabilize the meringue and prevent it from weeping.
- Add sugar gradually. Add the sugar bit by bit while beating on high speed. The sugar must be added gradually while you beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Adding the sugar too quickly will knock the air out of the egg whites and make them difficult to mix thoroughly.
- When is my meringue done? When you lift the beaters, the tips will stand straight up. The mixture should be smooth when you rub it between your fingers with no undissolved sugar grains!
The perfect meringue topping for rhubarb cake
For the perfect meringue layer, you need 4 egg whites, a pinch of salt and/or a few drops of lemon juice, and 200 g / 1 cup of sugar. Don’t be tempted to reduce the amount. I know it sounds a lot but the cake is not overly sweet and it will all be well balanced.
In a clean bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, add the egg whites. Add 1 tsp. of vanilla and ½ tsp. cream of tartar before you begin beating the egg whites.
The sugar must be added gradually while you beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Adding the sugar too quickly will knock the air out of the egg whites and make them difficult to mix thoroughly. Continue beating until soft peaks form.
How do I make meringue topping crispy?
How do I get the topping crispy and crunchy when baking? In order for the meringue topping to be perfect, several factors are crucial. The first thing to note is the cleanliness of the kitchen utensils. Sticks and bowls should be sparkling clean.
Then the sugar content is super important! Oh and stabilizers – let’s use them because they DO help! I like a squeeze of lemon juice and or salt – important for a wonderfully airy and fluffy meringue.
If you want an extra crispy topping, you can also bake the meringue separately. Follow the recipe and then, using a tablespoon or piping bag, spread the meringue into your desired shape (here a 9 -10-inch circle depending on the springform pan size) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Put everything in an oven preheated to 100 degrees C/ 210 F for two hours. Then turn off the oven and leave the meringue to dry in the oven overnight without baking.
When is the meringue topping done?
If you put the meringue on top of the cake, bake it until the meringue is browned. When baking separately, depending on the size, let the meringue dry in a preheated oven at 90-100 C for 2-3 hours (keep the oven door open with a wooden spoon). The meringue is ready when it comes off the parchment paper easily.
So there are so many ways to cook and bake with rhubarb, but I find it simply tastes best in desserts like grandma’s delicious German rhubarb meringue cake! Here are my other favorite rhubarb recipes:
More Rhubarb Recipes
German Rhubarb Meringue Cake
Granny's Rhubarb Meringue Cake is simple, quick, and easy to make but looks very impressive! A traditional German cake recipe that features a lemon-scented sponge with juicy pockets of rhubarb topped with a cloud of crispy meringue topping!
- 1 kg rhubarb - 8 cups
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 stick + 1 tbsp softened butter
- 200 g / 1 cup sugar - or use 150 g 3/4 cups for a less sweet but still delish cake
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 eggs
- 200 g cake flour / 1 1/4 cups
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 3 tablespoons milk
- some butter for the mold
FOR THE MERINGUE
- 4 egg whites size M
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 200 grams of sugar - 1 cup
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar a pinch of salt or lemon juice
Tipp: Egg whites should stand at room temperature 30 minutes before beating to achieve the best volume. Separate them while cool, then let the whites stand a bit.
Wash, trim and peel the rhubarb. Then cut into pieces about 1 cm wide. Place in a bowl and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar on top. Mix briefly and set aside.
Grease the springform pan (Ø 26 cm - 10 inch or 9 1/2) well. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 360 F/.
Grate lemon zest directly into the sugar, then rub into the sugar with your fingertips to flavor.
Beat softened butter with lemon sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Gradually stir in the eggs. Mix flour with salt and baking powder and add to the batter. Add milk and mix everything together well. Don't overmix.
Fold the rhubarb pieces into the batter. Alternatively, pour the dough into the springform pan and smooth it out, then push the rhubarb into the dough. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for approx. 45-50 minutes. About 10 minutes before the end of the baking time for the meringue, make the meringue.
Add egg whites to clean bowl. Add 1 tsp. of vanilla and ½ tsp. cream of tartar before you begin beating the egg whites. You can make the meringue without cream of tartar, by adding some salt or lemon juice but adding cream of tartar helps stabilize the meringue and prevent it from weeping.
Add sugar gradually. Add the sugar bit by bit, while beating on high speed. The sugar must be added gradually while you beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Adding the sugar too quickly will knock the air out of the egg whites and make them difficult to mix thoroughly.
When is my meringue done? When you lift the beaters, the tips will stand straight up. The mixture should be smooth when you rub it between your fingers with no undissolved sugar grains!
When the cake is done take the cake out of the oven and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile turn the oven down to 150 C / 300 F. Then run a knife between the cake and the edge of the baking pan.
Remove the edge of the springform pan. Using a spatula, spread the meringue mixture onto the cake and spread decoratively in wavy movements.
Bake the cake with the meringue in the preheated oven for a further 20-25 minutes until the tops of the meringue are browned. Watch it because it quickly gets too dark.