I wanted to get this Rhubarb Upside Down Cake into a post before the very last bit of rhubarb is gone for the season.
I know, I know, it’s the second rhubarb post in almost as many weeks, but I didn’t want to wait until next year to share it. So here I am, taking one last plunge into rhubarb before it’s gone.
This was the year I tried rhubarb for the first time. I made these Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies and fell in love with it’s sweet tart flavor. I’m a lemon lover and so this whole rhubarb thing is right up my alley. Two posts is probably two posts too many for all the rhubarb haters out there, but if you really can’t “go there” then stick around because this upside down cake recipe works just as beautifully in it’s original pineapple glory. Just sub some pineapple and cherries in for the rhubarb and you’re good to go.
As I mentioned, for my first foray into the world of rhubarb, I took along strawberries for the ride… just in case. I wasn’t sure how we would like rhubarb, so strawberries were kind of a familiar back up. But, there was no need to be concerned. Everyone loved the little pies and I even made some extra filling and used it to top pancakes.
This time, I went solo with rhubarb and decided to try an upside down cake. This cake is so ridiculously easy to make that I always keep it on hand when we want a sweet treat in a hurry. The original recipe calls for jarred caramel sauce, but I always make my own buttery brown sugar sauce. This homemade version makes the fruit sink into the cake more with some defined edges, but that doesn’t bother me. I love the flavor and I figure that the crevices just help that delicious caramel flavor sink into the cake more.
My design probably encouraged even a bit more sinkage since I decided on this pretty blossom arrangement. I just cut the stalks into about 3″ lengths for my “petals.” Then I measured how thick the stalks were and cut pieces that were a similar thickness. Mine were about 1/2-3/4″. I wanted to make sure that the height of all of my cut rhubarb in the pan was pretty similar so that I didn’t have anything sticking out.
There’s no guess work as to how much you need to sweeten the rhubarb since it’s literally baking in a pool of brown sugar and butter. That’s the glory of upside down cake. The fruit and cake bake on top of sweet bubbly caramel and it creates the most delicious topping once the cake is flipped. I love the tiny bit of drama when I lift the flipped pan off of the cake. Did it stick? Does my topping design look good? To be sure, it is an unveiling of the sweetest kind.
The cake is a one bowl cake. And it uses buttermilk, which some of you might cringe at, but I have plenty of recipes up on the site that will help you use up any leftovers. There are pancakes and biscuits and muffins and cakes, just for starters, that should easily use up that buttermilk.
Oh, and as an extra bonus, you don’t even need a mixer for this cake! (I know, when was the last time you mixed up a cake by hand?!?) It’s not a muscle busting cake to mix up either because you’re not creaming butter. This recipe uses melted butter and everything just mixes up pretty easily in that one bowl. Then you just pour it on top of whatever amazing or perfectly random design you made with your rhubarb.
Bake and flip. You’ll have that deliciously tender sweet tart rhubarb sitting atop a tender buttermilk cake. Easy, easy, easy.
If you haven’t taken the plunge with rhubarb yet, this Rhubarb Upside Down Cake is a great place to start. Really. It cuts up as easily as a stalk of celery and pays you back with such a lovely flavor. I waited far too long to try this vegetable-that-works-so-well-as-a-fruit. Do not fear the big red stalk. Go get it before it’s gone.
Then bring it home, chop it up and bake a cake with it. (Stick with me, rhubarb haters…next week, something chocolate this way comes….)