These gorgeous three layer bars are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser! A lemon cream cheese base is topped with sweet strawberry and tart rhubarb, and it's all topped with fluffy whipped cream and fresh strawberry slices. Try my strawberry lemon mascarpone mousse next.
The words strawberry rhubarb were just begging to be made into bars and be abbreviated as rhubars. It was inevitable. So I make no apologies for the punny name. NONE, I tell you!
If you've followed me for a while on this blog, you've learned that my love for puns and sarcasm cannot be tamed. CAN. NOT. BE TAMED.
We were holding a year-late housewarming/summer kickoff BBQ and thought that a giant pan of these strawberry rhubarb bars would make the perfect treat.
They have fruit which gives the illusion of “healthy” and people are more likely to grab something fruity and light-looking over something heavy and chocolate on a hot summer's day.
Plus, it seemed perfect for people to grab while they milled around chatting and taking in our super sweet view. I'm not going to be modest about it – IT'S AWESOME. Case in point:
Where was I? Oh, right – so I already had a pint of strawberries in the fridge along with the rhubarb I picked up for this purpose, and my friends lose their minds over my mascarpone whipped cream no matter what I put it on/in…
So I decided I wanted to combine all of those into one awesome concoction.
Of course, you could leave off the whipped cream top layer and they'd still be delicious and pretty – but why not make it a three layer bar? I'm a big fan of layered desserts.
There's just something about the combination of different flavors and textures that's really intriguing. And if the layers are vibrant, strikingly different colors? Or ombré? Even better.
If you were asking yourself, “Does the smooshed whipped cream on the right side of the bar above bother her?”… why, yes – yes it does.
We've got strawberries in the rhubarb layer, a bit of lemon flavor, added a whipped cream layer, topped it all with some fresh strawberry slices. And you guys… they're so good. Even better than I thought they'd be.
They were a gigantic hit at the party, and several people asked if I could set one aside from them to take home.
I've made this three times now, and every time I had several different people tell me this is hands down their favorite thing I've ever made.
That's QUITE the claim. People were threatening to cage match over the last bar – I mean, c'mon.
Yes, they're great. Yes, they're unfortunately kinda seasonal because of the availability of rhubarb (and fresh strawberries, for that matter). Yes, they're freaking addictive.
… okay, maybe I understand why you'd cage match for them.
Meet me outside in the alley and let's settle this like completely reasonable, strawberry rhubarb loving adults.
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Strawberry Rhubarb Bars “Rhubars”
Strawberry rhubarb layer:
Cream cheese bar layer:
Prepare the strawberry rhubarb puree:
- In a medium pot, combine rhubarb, strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes before transferring mixture to a food processor (or blender) and puree until mostly smooth (aside from the strawberry seeds). Pour into a small bowl and set aside.2 cups (244 g) rhubarb1 1/2 cups (216 g) strawberries3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugarJuice of 1 lemon
Cream cheese bar layer:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add salt and lemon emulsion and whip to combine. Add flour and combine on low speed until fully incorporated. Dough will be very sticky!Pinch salt5 oz (141 ¾ g) cream cheese (block, not spread)½ cup (113 ½ g) unsalted butter2 teaspoons lemon bakery emulsion1⅓ cups (166 ⅔ g) all-purpose flour
- Press dough firmly onto the bottom of the baking dish, spreading evenly to the edges. Bake for 15 minutes.
Prepare the strawberry rhubarb curd layer:
- While the cream cheese bars are baking, prepare the curd. In a large bowl, combine your prepared strawberry rhubarb puree, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon emulsion, salt and as much red food coloring as you'd like. I use thicker gel paste, and usually use about 4-5 drops for a gorgeous red color. You want to make it a bit darker than you want the final result as it will fade a bit with the addition of flour and baking.4 eggs1 teaspoon lemon bakery emulsion⅔ cup (133 ⅓ g) granulated sugarPinch saltRed gel paste
- Add the flour and whisk to combine.½ cup (62 ½ g) all-purpose flour
- When the bars are done baking, pour the curd evenly on top of the bars and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Let bars cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to the fridge to cool and set completely (at least 3 hours).
Mascarpone whipped cream layer:
- Chill a large mixing bowl in the fridge.
- In your chilled bowl, combine mascarpone cheese and sugar on a high speed until completely combined.4 ounces (113 ⅖ g) mascarpone cheese1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- Add vanilla and heavy cream, and mix on a low setting until it is mostly combined. Now increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form – it may take a little while, so be patient!1/4 teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) pure vanilla extract or lemon extract1 cup (238 g) heavy cream
- Once the bars are completely cooled and set, frost with the whipped cream and top with sliced strawberries. Cut into bars and enjoy!Sliced strawberries
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