It’s official: rhubarb is here! Judging by the fact that my Whole Foods was nearly out today, and that the most popular page on my blog the past couple weeks (by far!) is Rhubarb Scones, I’d have to surmise that everyone is scrambling to get themselves some of the beautiful tart produce.
Fortunately I got my hands on some gorgeous rhubarb during last week and made this wonderful, humble little cake with my stash. I have a thing for upside down cakes. Their texture is thick and moist, and I always love baking with fruit.
But I also have a little theory that anyone who seeks out to make an upside-down cake is really at heart an adrenaline junkie. Because they are always a risk, right? There’s always that chance the cake won’t flip properly. You always hold your breath a little and your heart rate speeds up just a bit as you make that flip. And then there’s the rush of reward when it works.
Well, anyone who knows me well can attest to my lack of risk-averseness and love of thrilling stuff like roller coasters. So maybe there’s a connection, who knows. No matter your feelings about sky diving and the like, you should give this cake a go while rhubarb is still in season. Enjoy!
Source: The Providence and Rhode Island Cookbook by Linda Beaulieu
3 cups sliced rhubarb (about 1 lb.)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9” round cake pan. Set aside.
In a medium to large stockpot, combine the rhubarb and 2/3 cup of the sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar melts, but not until it caramelizes. Pour this mixture into your prepared cake pan and use a spatula to spread the rhubarb out into an even layer.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and baking powder until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add the milk, alternating with the flour, beating in between each addition. Spoon the batter evenly over the rhubarb layer.
Bake about 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, and it is lightly browned at the edges.
Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges. Place a plate upside down on the cake pan. Carefully and quickly flip it over 180 degrees and wait for a second. You should feel the weight shift. Then carefully remove the cake pan and the cake should be sitting pretty on the plate. Let cool, then slice into wedges and serve.