Recipe: Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

The first fruit of the season isn’t really a fruit at all, but nonetheless it's one of our favorites. Each year around this time, Jake's grandmother Jane would bake up the season's first rhubarb dish and he'd know - with that perfect combination of sweet and tart, and that beautiful pink color - that warmer days were on their way.

We're thrilled to announce that Jane's fortune telling rhubarb patch is now ours. And the responsibility of baking up the long-awaited sweet and sour desserts has fallen to Silka. Each day for the last two weeks, as Jake inspects the progress on Jane's house (also now ours) he has monitored the green-and-pink striped growth, announcing the number of day's until harvest.

Well that day finally came yesterday. And almost instantly, remembering an amazing upside-down cake she read about last year by our imaginary bestie Melissa Clark, Silka went to work. Despite the enormous pressure on her, the cake came out perfectly and is now one of our favorites. Melissa's batter is marked by a bright creamyness that can only be acheived with the best ingredient everrrrrr - sour cream. With any luck strawberries will soon be here and we'll continue on the road to rhubarb overdose with strawberry rhubarb pies and a rhubarb compote.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

+ 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, more to grease pans
+ 1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, rinsed and sliced into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
+ 2 teaspoons cornstarch
+ 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 1/2 cup light brown sugar
+ 2 cups cake flour
+ 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
+ 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
+ Zest of 1 lemon, grated
+ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
+ 4 large eggs
+ 1/3 cup sour cream
+ 2 teaspoons lemon juice.

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper and sides of the pan. Wrap two layers of foil under the pan, and place it on a buttered baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, mix rhubarb, cornstarch and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.
3. Mix the brown sugar and 1/2 stick butter in a pan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Whip 2 sticks butter in a mixer with a paddle attachment for 2 minutes. With your fingers, blend the remaining 1 cup sugar with lemon zest until the mixture is uniform in color. Cream together with the butter at medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl halfway through. Add the vanilla and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the sour cream, then the lemon juice. (It’s O.K. if the mixture looks curdled.) With the mixer set to low speed, add the flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, until well combined. Scrape down the mixer bowl in between the additions.
5. Pour the brown-sugar mixture into the cake pan, then spoon in the rhubarb and its juices. Spoon in the batter so it covers all of the rhubarb. Smooth out the top.
6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm to touch and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out without any large, moist crumbs.
7. Place the pan on a wire rack, and cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the cake, place a plate on top of the pan and turn it upside-down. Release the cake from the pan while still warm or else it will stick.


  1. Just found your blog and I have to say, I love your pictures! It all looks so yummy and fresh, I got really hungry!

  2. I would love to see more pictures of your garden and foraging places!!

  3. This recipe looks fantastic! I am actually hosting a rhubarb linky party at 2sisters2cities.com as part of our Fresh Produce Tuesday series. I would love if you submitted this recipe!


  4. Do you use regular cake flour or self rising?

    1. Regular cake flour, we like King Arthur: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/unbleached-cake-flour-blend