This is the perfect loaf cake for spring: Orange and Rhubarb Loaf Cake has a light and zesty orange yoghurt loaf topped with fresh rhubarb. Decorated with orange-zested cream cheese coconut whip and jammy rhubarb compote for a light, vegan and gluten-free bake.
Nothing screams spring quite like rhubarb, and this one is a beauty. Made with pink rhubarb and deliciously zingy oranges, this loaf cake is so light and refreshing while dealing with all your cake needs, too. It is a great one for spring and is naturally lighter with good-for-you ingredients that come together in one bowl.
How delicious is this Orange and Rhubarb Loaf Cake?
This cake is rather special and it lasted all of 24 hours in my house. It’s:
Light, moist and spongey
Zesty, fruity and “nutty”
Easy to make in one bowl
Packed with sticky jammy rhubarb
Topped with a light cream cheese coconut whip frosting
Naturally vegan and nut-free
Quick and delicious
If you already love this cake, skip ahead to the recipe card. Or, first let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.
Sunflower seeds: this keeps the loaf nut-free and I love the Natures Heart Superfood ones. Simply blitz your sunflower seeds to a fine flour consistency like ground almonds. Similarly, you can use ground almonds.
Rhubarb: for adding into the loaf. Trim the ends and slice in small pieces before tossing in flour.
Thick dairy free yoghurt: this keeps the loaf moist, spongey and adds healthy fats, too. The thicker the better for the yoghurt (thin, runny yoghurt will not work here) and my favourite is Cocos Organic coconut yoghurt.
Plant based milk: any milk is great here, if you are avoiding nuts, use a nut-free milk like oat or coconut or I love to use almond milk.
Sunflower or coconut oil: this adds a lovely texture to the loaf that is springy and bouncy. I prefer to use sunflower or olive oil but you can use melted and cooled coconut oil too, and I imagine melted and cooled vegan butter would also work.
Coconut sugar: for the rich colour and flavour I love using caramel-like coconut sugar but white or golden caster sugar are also great.
Lemon juice: this doesn’t make the cake taste like lemon, but it reacts with the milk to form a buttermilk which binds together the batter.
Vanilla essence: just a little for the flavour.
Orangezest: adds lots of lovely orange flavour to the loaf.
Plain or GF plain flour: for the light sponge. If using a GF flour, make sure it’s a 1:1 baking blend that you regularly use and contains xanthan gum.
Baking powder and bicarbonate of soda: for the rise.
Salt: to enhance the flavours.
And for the topping:
Rhubarb: trim the ends and chop into small pieces for the top.
Orange: the zest and juice add a lot of lovey flavour that pairs so well with the rhubarb.
Vanilla: for the flavour.
Coconut sugar: for the lovely richness. Light brown sugar would be good instead here.
Maple syrup: for the stickiness and other syrups like agave or vegan honey will be fine.
Finally, the whipped frosting:
Dairy-free cream cheese: I love to use NUSH in the UK as it’s so rich and creamy, but other brands are great too.
Coconut cream: from a tin of chilled full-fat coconut milk, scoop off the cream to whip up with the cream cheese for a fluffy alternative to buttercream.
Orange zest: for the lovely tangy flavour.
Maple syrup: just a little for sweetness and texture. As above, other syrups will be fine.
How do I make this Orange and Rhubarb Loaf Cake?
The steps are really easy, despite there being three separate components for this sponge.
Make the sunflower seed meal: blitz the sunflower seeds to a fine flour/grind texture.
Stir together all the wet ingredients: till smooth.
Add in the dry ingredients: and whisk to a thick batter.
Fold in the chopped and floured rhubarb pieces: saving some for the top.
Spread into a loaf tin and top with the remaining rhubarb: and bake for 40 minutes or until golden.
Cool for 10 minutes then lift out the tin: to cool fully.
Make the rhubarb compote: add all the ingredients to a saucepan and allow to bubble for 5 minutes until sticky and the rhubarb is tender but not too soft. Cool fully.
Prepare the frosting: whip together the cream cheese and coconut cream with the orange and maple till smooth and fluffy.
Spread the frosting on the loaf and top with the rhubarb: then slice it thickly and enjoy.
Is this cake gluten-free and nut-free?
Yes, to make this cake gluten-free use your preferred GF baking flour with xanthan gum and this is naturally nut-free, just check that your yoghurt, milk and cream cheese are free from nuts.
Can I make this into other flavours?
Yes of course, swap the rhubarb inside the loaf for other fruits like raspberries or blueberries and top the cake with sticky berries instead.
I love this loaf cake, what others can I make?
I hope you are going to love this fruity and zesty Orange and Rhubarb Loaf Cake and for more ideas, how about my:
This is the perfect loaf cake for spring: Orange and Rhubarb Loaf Cake has a light and zest orange yoghurt loaf topped with fresh rhubarb. Decorated with orange-zested cream cheese coconut whip and jammy rhubarb compote for a light, vegan and gluten-free bake.
For the Loaf:
70g sunflower seeds
120g rhubarb, ends trimmed
120g thick dairy-free yoghurt
120ml plant-based milk
2 tbsp (30ml) sunflower or melted and cooled coconut oil
125g coconut sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 orange, zested
210g + 1 tsp plain or GF plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
A pinch of salt
For the Rhubarb Topping:
200g rhubarb, ends trimmed
½ orange, zested
½ tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp orange juice
50g vegan cream cheese
150g thick coconut yoghurt or coconut cream*
¼ orange, zested (plus extra)
1 tsp maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180*C and line a loaf tin with parchment paper.
Blitz the sunflower seeds to fine flour-like texture (like ground almonds).
Slice the rhubarb into 2-cm pieces and toss with 1 tsp flour.
To a large mixing bowl, add the yoghurt, milk, oil, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla essence and orange zest and whisk until smooth.
Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and add the ground sunflower seeds and salt. Whisk to a smooth, thick batter with almost no specks of flour.
Fold in most of the rhubarb (shake off any excess flour) and pour into the lined tin. Smooth over the top and lightly press in the remaining rhubarb.
Bake for 38-40 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out mainly clean and the loaf is golden and risen (you can cover the loaf after 30 minutes if it’s browning too much and don’t worry if the edges are crispy, they soften as the loaf cools).
Cool for 10 minutes, lift out the tin then cool fully on a wire rack.
To make the rhubarb: slice the rhubarb into 2-cm pieces and add to a saucepan with all the other ingredients. Bring to the boil, stirring often and allow to bubble for 5 minutes, until the rhubarb is softening but not totally soft. The sauce will be sticky. Remove from the heat to cool fully.
To make the topping: add all the ingredients to a bowl and use an electric handheld mixer to beat until light and fluffy.
Spread the coconut frosting over the cake and top with most of rhubarb (you may have some spare to add on top of slices). Add on extra orange zest, if desired and enjoy straight away.
Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days or freeze un-frosted loaves for 1 month. Allow to de-frost at room temperature and then decorate as above.
*chill 1 tin of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight then scoop off the solid part (the cream) and weigh out 150g.
I look forward to hearing what you think of this Orange and Rhubarb Loaf Cake so please do let me know in the comments below. If you do make the loaf, I’d love to see so please tag me in your creations, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest – please say hello!