Rhubarb found its way to pack the sunshine of summer and the sweetness of spring in this tender, moist and impeccable rhubarb cake; promising to boost the mood and energy level. It is tart, tangy, sweet, and delicious. It is full of amazing fever in the best sense of the world of taste.
AS we get closer and closer to say our goodbye to the month of May, vegetable home growers already started plucking their red and pink rhubarb plant and head to their kitchen. My favorite tulips already sprung! Some dandelion flowers are now a seed suspended from a parachute-like ready to puff in just one breath. The grasses are also screaming in pain from the hell of a hurtful haircut,1 emitting pungent and slightly acetous scent to defend themselves for new growth while we savor that heavenly fresh-cut grass.
This recipe was inspired by Chef Thomas Keller’s “Pineapple upside-down cake” from his book Ad Hok at Home. Pineapple upside-down cake is a perfect template to make this superb rhubarb upside-down cake to celebrate the beautiful things and comfort spring gave us.
What is rhubarb?
Rhubarb is a hardy perennial vegetable grown for its thick, sour stalk which is usually eaten after being cooked with sugar or a part of an ingredient. Rhubarb stalks are safe to eat but the leaves contain a compound called oxalic acid which is toxic to both humans and animals.2 Adding to the confusion, Rhubarb is officially classified as a fruit by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Rhubarb contains anthocyanin that demonstrates protective effects on blood vessel and blood pressure and may offer anti-cancer benefits as well. It is a great source of vitamin K which is also responsible for blood clotting and bone health. A half-cup of cooked rhubarb provides more than 1/3 of the recommended vitamin K intake and 2 grams of fibre which helps prevent colorectal cancer, some calcium and vitamin C.https://www.aicr.org/resources/blog/health-benefits-of-rhubarb/
What you’ll need to make this Cake?
This recipe has all the basic ingredients that you can find in your kitchen.
- Unsalted butter at room temperature.
- Light brown sugar and granulated white sugar
- Bourbon (optional, but for optimal flavor) and pure vanilla extract
- Eggs at room temperature.
- All-purpose flour
- Cornstarch for a crumbly and tender texture.
- Baking powder
How to make rhubarb upside-down cake?
There’s nothing difficult about making this cake unless you have big and thick fingers like my son who work very hard in overlapping the rhubarb slices one after the other over the pan schmear. The rest is very easy.
- Make a “pan schmear” of butter and brown sugar, flavored with bourbon and vanilla, spread into the cake pan; then top with sliced rhubarb.
- Make the cake batter, add the remaining sliced rhubarb and pour into the pan as you spread up to the edge of the cake pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes then invert into a cake stand.
The most amazing rhubarb upside-down cake I ever had
- Standing mixer or electric hand mixer, large mixing bowl, 9" baking pan
- ⅓ cup (76 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- ¾ cup (150g) light brown sugar, lightly packed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 cup (480 g) Rhubarb, sliced into 1/4 inch thickness
- 1 ¼ cup (200 g) All-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (30 g) Cornstarch
- 2 teaspoon (10 g) Baking powder
- ½ cup (113 g) Butter at room temperature
- ½ cup (100 g) Granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Pink salt
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon Milk
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and line the bottom of the baking pan with parchment paper.
Make the schmear
- Place the butter, brown sugar, salt, honey, bourbon, and vanilla in a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on a medium speed until smooth and well blended.
- Spread the schmear at the bottom of a 9" prepared baking pan. Neatly arrange the sliced rhubarb overlapping each other starting around the edge of the pan creating a circle until the schmear is all covered. Save any remaining rhubarb slices.
Make the Cake
- Sift the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder in a large owl twice to make sure they're completely blended.
- Place the butter, sugar, Vanilla, and salt in a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat at a medium speed until light and creamy stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating and scraping the sides of the bowl after each egg is incorporated. Add the flour in two addition, adding milk in between, and beat until combined. Fold the remaining chopped rhubarb into the batter using a spatula. Avoid over mixing.
- Spread the batter into the pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or when the cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes.
- Run a knife around the edges of the cake and place a cake stand or serving plate over the top of the pan, and invert the pan to transfer the cake upside-down into the cake stand. Best serve while warm.
- Any leftover cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- Do not limit yourself to rhubarb. Experiment with pineapples, apples, pears, peaches and so much more, It will be equally delicious.