Easy Rhubarb Bars with shortcake dough. A simple shortcake dough is divided and pressed into a pan then topped with rhubarb and the remainder of the dough. These rhubarb bars come together quickly and are a great recipe for baking with rhubarb.
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Hi hi! Just popping in to re share the recipe for these Rhubarb Bars. These rhubarb shortcake bars have been on my website for a few years now. They are super simple to make - there is one base dough that forms the base and topping of the shortcake. I love an easy bar recipe, and these are exactly that!
I made these shortcake bars with fresh rhubarb but they are super versatile and can be made with other fruit too. The rhubarb is just mixed with some starch and arranged in a layer on top of the base. Then it is topped with the crumble topping and the whole thing goes into the oven.
These homemade shortcake bars are easy and fun to make, and are a huge favourite in our house, either as a quick throw together recipe or served with ice cream for dessert. I love baking with rhubarb - for more easy rhubarb recipes check out my rhubarb pie and my easy rhubarb galette.
New Zealand Shortcake
This is what we call a shortcake in New Zealand - a fruit layer on top of a dough base with more dough topping it. They are significantly different to what the US calls a shortcake, which is more of a biscuit situation. The pastry is short and sweet, and the fruit layer is often quite tart to offset the sweetness of the dough. Shortcake bars come together quickly and get assembled all in one go with no par baking needed.
- Make the shortbread crust. This is a classic short, sweet pastry that is made by creaming together butter and sugar and then adding dry ingredients.
- Divide the dough. The same dough is used for the base and topping of these shortcake bars. Weigh out some of the dough and press into the baking pan, and reserve the rest.
- Add the Rhubarb. Mix the rhubarb with a wee bit of sugar, tapioca starch and vanilla, stir to combine, then arrange evenly on top of the base.
- Add remaining dough. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the rhubarb. You want to add it in chunks.
- Bake. The Rhubarb Shortcake Bars bake until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling. The bars need a little time to cool before slicing so the fruit layer can set.
Two ways to make Rhubarb Shortcake Bars
I originally made these rhubarb bars as shown in the photos below. To do this, I chilled the dough after mixing then rolled it out and cut it into squares. One of the squares was the base and the other the lid. This is how we make an apple shortcake in NZ. It's a little fiddly but it works.
I sent the recipe of this rhubarb shortcake to my friend Lisa a few years ago (she is an amazing NZ based pastry chef), and she adapted it by adding the dough on in chunks on top of the fruit as opposed to my sandwich method. It works so much better and is much quicker. So it only made sense to also re-shoot this rhubarb shortcake using the same method. It tastes the same, just has a different format and involves much less mucking around and chilling pastry.
How to make shortcake bars with other fruit
The great thing about these shortcake bars is that the recipe is super versatile. You can absolutely make this with other fruit. You could easily add in some blueberries or other fruit along with the rhubarb. Shortcake is also often made with berries or plums here in Nz. You could use these quantities for strawberry rhubarb. Or, you can make this your own. Just keep in mind to adjust the starch and sugar as needed as different fruit have different moisture and sweetness. Some options you could make:
- Strawberry rhubarb bars using the fruit quantities in my strawberry rhubarb bars recipe
- Peaches, Apricots, Plums, nectarines - about 750g fruit should go with about 23g starch and then approx 75g sugar. Adjust as needed! I do a mix of whatever I have.
- Rhubarb and Blueberry - Sub some of the rhubarb for fresh or frozen blueberries
- Cranberry - this recipe works great with frozen cranberries if you have any leftover from anything! The filling is 450g frozen or fresh cranberries, 15g tapioca starch, 125g granulated sugar, ½ tsp vanilla, ¼ tsp salt, and then 20g water or orange juice. Baking and assembly instructions are the same.
- Mixed berry - I would follow similar proportions to the cranberry but adjust the sugar as needed. It would also work great with frozen berries.
FAQ for Rhubarb Bars
Can I use cornstarch in place of tapioca starch?
Yes. I haven't tried it but I would do about 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp worth of cornstarch (cornflour if you're from nz). I love tapioca starch as it sets clear but cornstarch also will work.
Is there meant to be baking powder in the crust recipe?
Yes - it is meant to be there!
How do you store rhubarb bars?
Store your rhubarb bars lightly covered at room temperature. Do not put in a sealed container or they will go soggy.
For more Rhubarb recipes, check out:
Made this recipe and love it?
If you made this recipe then I would LOVE for you to leave me a review below to let me know how you liked it! Also, please make sure to tag me on Instagram if you make it!
A note on salt and oven temperature
It is important to note the type of salt that is called for in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal salt throughout my recipes - if you use a different sort of kosher salt or regular table salt you will need to adjust accordingly as some salt is 'saltier' than others. Morton's salt is twice as salty, so you will need half the quantity. Same goes for a regular table salt. I am working to get gram measurements throughout my recipes for salt but still getting there.
All oven temperatures are conventional unless otherwise stated. If you are baking on fan / convection, you will need to adjust the temperature. An oven thermometer is a great investment to ensure that your oven is the correct temperature.
Using the double / triple function in the recipe card
You will notice that there is a '1X' '2X' '3X' button in my recipe card. This can be used for doubling or tripling a recipe. However, please note that this only doubles the ingredient quantities in the ingredients list and NOT in the method. If there are quantities or pan sizes in the method of the recipe (for example weigh out 150g brown butter), you will need to scale this number manually. It will also not change the baking time in the recipe so you will need to adjust this yourself too. It is always a good idea to read through a recipe fully before doubling it just to check this. If you would like to scale this recipe or convert for another pan size, use my calculator!
Tools and equipment
For a list of my go-to tools and equipment, I have a post you can refer to here.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it is the most accurate way to bake. Cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide. There is no way for me to provide one cup measure that works for everyone. However, posting in weight fixes this issue. If you would like the recipe in cups you are welcome to convert it yourself via google, but please do not ask me to do it for you as I am not comfortable providing a recipe using a method that I have not tested. Baking with a scale is easy, accurate, and also makes cleanup super simple. Here is the scale that I use if you would like a recommendation! Here's to accurate baking!
Recipe for Rhubarb BarsPrint
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 1 hour 15
- Yield: 16 servings 1x
- Category: Shortcake
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: New Zealand
Rhubarb Bars are super easy to make. A simple shortcake dough is divided and pressed into a pan then topped with rhubarb and the remainder of the dough. These rhubarb shortcake bars come together quickly and are a great recipe for baking with rhubarb.
- 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 150g granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs (100 grams), at room temperature
- 1 tsp (4g) vanilla bean paste
- 450g all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ teaspoons (8.75g) baking powder
- ½ tsp (1.5g) kosher salt
- 750g trimmed rhubarb, chopped into ½” pieces
- 2 Tbsp (16g) tapioca starch
- 80g granulated sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- ½ tsp salt
- Powdered Sugar to dust
- Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Line a 9” square baking tin with two pieces of parchment paper, forming a “sling” so that you can easily remove the bars.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing to combine before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined.
- Weigh out 475g of the mixture, and press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the bottom of a drinking glass or with an offset spatula. Set the rest aside.
- In a medium bowl, place the rhubarb, tapioca starch, granulated sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt, and mix with a spatula until well combined. Spread the rhubarb mixture evenly over the surface of the dough - do not press down too hard.
- Crumble the remaining dough over the surface of the rhubarb, ensuring that you add it in an even layer.
- Bake the bars for 40 to 45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the fruit filling is bubbling. Allow to cool completely before using the parchment paper to remove from the pan. Slice into bars, and dust with powdered sugar.
- Store leftovers lightly covered with a paper towel at room temperature for up to 3 days. Do not store in an airtight container as they will go soggy.
Keywords: Rhubarb, Shortcake, Rhubarb shortcake, shortcake bars
I made this with the last of my rhubarb and it was so so good!Can't wait to try it with other fruit 🙂
I've got some rhubarb in the freezer just waiting for this!
these bars turned out AMAZING!! i was a little worried because my rhubarb was a little green and i used corn starch instead of tapioca but it still tasted fab! thanks for sharing!!
Eee so happy you loved!
Another Cloudy Kitchen winner! This is delicious, easy and pretty quick. Not too sweet at all - the tartness of the rhubarb brilliantly balances the sugar. I ran out of rhubarb so threw in some sliced strawberries and a few blueberries. I accidentally made custard and we had it with the shortcake - seriously good!!!! Thanks Erin.....
eee so so happy you loved them!
This was my first lockdown baking of lockdown #2 for the South Island of NZ. And I meshed your shortcake bar recipe with the lemon curd from the lemon yoghurt sheetcake (which I will also be making in future!) as we have an overloaded lemon tree.
So a delicious layer of lemon curd in place of the rhubarb. And a half size made in a loafpan.
PS so easy to split recipes when they're in grams! Much easier than if it was in cups.
Ohhhh my that sounds so, so good! So happy you loved!
Love it! Will be added to my regular bake! I used frozen rhubarb and it came out perfectly!
Made an adapted version of this a few weeks ago! Watched your stories of you making it and instantly wanted to make it. I didn’t have any rhubarb so read yours notes on other fruits and quantities to use and made mine with a mix of frozen blueberries and raspberries. I’m the same as someone else above and just used corn flour on the fruit but it turned out great. Super easy!
So yum that I’m tempted to make more since we’re still in lockdown 2.0.
I made these last week with a mix of blueberries and blackberries and they were FABULOUS! I used about 750g fruit and the same quantity of tapioca starch and sugar. My berries were sweet so I could have cut back on the sugar but that’s entirely on me. Definitely keeping this in my back pocket for all sorts of fruit in future! (And LOVE the idea of incorporating a layer of curd or custard!)
I followed the instructions for the cranberry version of these and they were delicious. I should also mention how easy and simple this was to make as I did so 6 days after having a c-section.
The crumb has a delicious vanilla flavour and the whole dessert was 10/10.
Had a bag of rhubarb in the freezer and decided to try - tasty!
These bars are perfect in every way. They are what made me start liking rhubarb! Since it is still a little too early for rhubarb where I am I used a tiny bit and subbed the rest with strawberries and they were still magical! Can’t wait until rhubarb season this year to make them the correct way again 🤗
I baked these bars over the weekend and followed the recipe as closely as possible. Small changes I had to make: After trimming, I only had 700 g of rhubarb, cornstarch instead of tapioca starch, and no vanilla bean paste (to not add liquid into the pastry, I used vanilla sugar (7g), instead). So yes, minor alterations happened, but I'm fairly confident that the result wasn't too different from the original version.
That said, this came out amazing. The balance of sweet and sour was SO GOOD, that it was hard to stop eating. I made this for a picnic and many people had seconds or thirds. I really want to make this again, because it was seriously good and a very reliable recipe (despite my necessary/unfortunate alterations).
Also, I really appreciated that all the pastry ingredients were given in grams. I understand why it can be better to use teaspoons for measuring salt and baking powder, but I still end up wondering if I measured everything the way the recipe author did. But here, Erin left no room for doubts, so it was nice to know that what I measured was how she intended.
Really really good recipe!
Any way to convert this to metric?
Hi, the measurements are already in metric?
Delicious and not too sweet, which means you can add a scoop of ice cream on the side! I followed your guidance for strawberry rhubarb and used instant clear jel instead of tapioca starch, as it’s what I had. The fruit set beautifully. I’m sharing this recipe with all of my fellow rhubarb-loving Midwesterners!
Made using frozen mixed berries! 5 stars!! ⭐️
First time making a shortcake slice and will be making again! Was a hit!
So Good!! And adaptable! I was short on flour by about 100g so used approx equal weight oatmeal. It was excellent and now I can pretend it’s a breakfast bar, not just dessert. It’s oatmeal so it counts right?!? 😀
Hhahaha yesss 200%! So happy you loved 🙂
This was delicious ! Will def make again! My daughter loved it so much she has requested this as her birthday cake
also, as a side note, I LOVE your passion about weighing ingredients . I’m from Germany, so have always found cup measurement etc extremely strange . Especially when I come across American recipes! Ounces are bad enough but their “tablespoons of butter” drive me insane !!
So good! I added apples and raspberries because I didn’t have much rhubarb, and a bit of lemon zest to the pastry to balance the sweetness of the apple. Thanks for all the recipe notes, they’re so helpful.
This is a rhubarb season must - do it every year! Always perfect
These are sooooo crazy delicious, I've already made them twice!! Everyone loved them and the bars quickly disappeared 🙂 I'm honestly obsessed with how good this is and will definitely try out other fruits with this recipe in the future 😀
Delicious! I have a huge rhubarb plant so will be making again soon!
Easy and delish! I had to use custard powder as didn’t have topico or cornflour 🤦🏼♀️ still turned out well.
I've made this 4 times now & everybody loves it. Even people that don't normally like rhubarb. I have made this with apple mix when I didn't have enough rhubarb. Its very nice with the apple mix. Very easy to make. Thks for the recipe
Just incredible and I so appreciate the notes on variations.
I didn’t have enough fruit so made a half batch with plums and rhubarb and it worked incredibly well. Baked in a loaf tin and scaled the recipe by half and it is heavenly. So delicious. Tangy and sweet. The layered vanilla is my favourite. She just don’t miss.