A sweet confection combining tart rhubarb and distinctive nutmeg, this rhubarb nutmeg cake is easy to make. Featuring an especially delicious nutmeg flecked cream cheese frosting!

Partial image of layer cake on white plate with black pattern. Along side the cake are 1 whole nutmeg, and 2 halves of a nutmeg.

Are you a rhubarb lover or a rhubarb hater? Rhubarb is one of those things that people either love or hate. No ambivalence here.

I love it. Hubby hates it. So I made this cake and then I threw three-quarters of it away.

Not because it wasn’t good. Oh, it was very good.

It was too good. I couldn’t stop eating it. And I had no one to share it with. And I want to lose 20 pounds (ha!).

And I’ll be honest, it was more like half of a cake that went into the trash. I couldn’t help myself! The cream cheese frosting was calling to me from inside of the refrigerator.

Rachel…Rachel…Rachel…I’m cream cheese frosting, and I’m even better because I have fresh grated nutmeg stirred in…who cares about those 20 pounds…I taste so good.

Yes, I know I have issues. And not just issues with losing twenty pounds.

Close up Image of one whole nutmeg, and one sliced in half, showing the inside. Background is wooden deck.

About this rhubarb nutmeg cake

Anyways, about the recipe. My mom has an awesome rhubarb custard pie recipe that involves rhubarb and nutmeg. I dreamed up this recipe for rhubarb cake with that pie in mind.

I think nutmeg goes so well with rhubarb. I always use freshly grated nutmeg for this recipe, but you can definitely use the kind that comes already grated.

However, if you try freshly grated, I’ll tell you one thing: There’s no going back. It is so much better.

This recipe is written for the cake to contain two cups of chopped rhubarb. This time, I used less in hopes that my hubby would eat it. He didn’t. I should have used more, there wasn’t enough for me. So use your best judgment, and add according to your taste for the ‘barb.

Oh, and yes, I use a boxed cake mix. I have a 9 month old baby and sometimes life just needs to be simplified.

Front view of a slice of layer cake on square white plate with fork. In background is wooden deck boards and nutmegs.

This cake just deserves cream cheese frosting. Actually, doesn’t every cake? I love banana cake with chocolate cream frosting or layer cake with lemon filling and lemon cream cheese frosting. And pumpkin poke cake with cream cheese frosting? Wow!

PS: if you don’t want to bother with layers, this cake would be excellent in a 9 x 13 inch pan. 

Front view of whole layer cake on white platter with black pattern, garnished by whole nutmeg.

For rhubarb lovers only:


A cake with white frosting on a black and white cake stand. Partly grated nutmeg is also pictured.

Rhubarb and Nutmeg Cake

Yield: 1 layer cake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

A sweet confection combining tart rhubarb and distinctive nutmeg, this rhubarb nutmeg cake is easy to make. Featuring an especially delicious nutmeg flecked cream cheese frosting!


For the cake

  • one box of yellow or white cake mix, prepared as directed on box (you’ll need oil and 2-3 eggs most likely)
  • 2 cups rhubarb, chopped small
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the frosting

  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg



  1. Preheat oven according to directions on cake package. Grease or spray two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans (or one 9x13 inch pan).
  2. Toss chopped rhubarb with flour to help it keep from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
  3. Prepare cake batter as directed on package. Add rhubarb and nutmeg to batter and stir to combine.
  4. Pour into prepared cake pans. Bake as directed on the box or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.


  1. Using an electric mixer (or you can do it by hand if you want an upper body work out), mix cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla until creamy.
  2. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add grated nutmeg with last cup. Mix until combined and smooth, and desired consistency.
  3. Spread frosting on cooled cake. This is enough frosting for a layer cake or a 9×13 cake.
  4. Optional: Grate additional nutmeg on top of cake to garnish.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 46mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 1gSugar: 46gProtein: 1g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Verdict: I think I already covered how I feel about this cake. And why it is in the trash. And how right now, I really wish it wasn’t. But my scale is glad it is.
Husband’s take: He didn’t try it. I told him he could pick around the rhubarb and that there wasn’t a lot of it in the cake, but he still passed on this one. More for me! Oh wait, it is in the trash. Darn that moment of strong will-power.
Changes I would make: More rhubarb next time.
Difficulty: Easy!

Sweet little girl in a pink dress sitting on white carpet and looking up at the camera.

And that is just because it has been awhile since I posted a picture of my cutie. 

What is your favorite rhubarb recipe? Are you a rhubarb lover or a rhubarb hater?