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It's Rhubarb Season! Celebrate with This Stunning Upside-Down Cake
2024/04/15

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With a beautiful pink hue and sweet-tart flavor,  are a lovely gift in springtime. And this elegant rhubarb upside-down cake is the perfect way to showcase it! No need to sweat over frosting or fiddle with a lazy Susan—this is ready to eat after it's . Ree Drummond loves rhubarb because it reminds her of her grandmother, but she also adores it for its unmistakable taste. It's "strange and beautiful and tart," she says. Can't argue with that!

Why is it called an upside-down cake?

An upside-down cake is a cake that's baked with it's toppings on the bottom. Once the cake is fully baked, it is flipped out onto a serving platter to reveal the beautiful underside.

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For this , pretty pink rhubarb is cut into diagonal pieces and arranged in the bottom of the cake pan. Then, a sticky-sweet caramel sauce is poured over the rhubarb. Finally, the batter goes in, and the cake is baked. Once the cake is fully baked and has a few minutes to cool in the pan, it is flipped onto a plate so that the rhubarb and caramel sauce are on top. The same process is used for !

How do you pick out and store rhubarb?

Pick nice, thick stalks of rhubarb. If possible, grab the most vibrantly colored ones for a jewel-toned . If you're planning on using your rhubarb within a day or two, the stalks are just fine on the counter as long as they're in a cool, dry place.

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To keep rhubarb fresh for longer, stick it in the fridge. Store the stalks in a plastic bag with a few holes poked in it. Place the bag in a crisper drawer so that the air circulation can prevent the rhubarb from growing limp. When it comes to preparing the rhubarb, treat it like celery! Just make sure to cut off any tough ends and discard any leaves.

How do I make sure my upside-down cake doesn't stick?

The number one way to make sure a cake does not stick is to prepare the pan. An easy, no-fuss way to grease a pan is to use baking spray with flour. But, in order to keep the fruit in place, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, too.

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The beautiful, smooth caramel drizzled over the rhubarb helps to create a barrier between the cake and pan, but a little parchment paper offers extra insurance. 

When should you flip an upside-down cake?

Make sure to flip the cake out after 10 minutes of cooling. The cake is more likely to stick to the pan if the caramel comes to room temperature, so it's best to flip it out while the caramel is still hot and smooth.

Baking spray with flour

12 oz.

rhubarb, trimmed

1 c.

plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided

2 tsp.

cornstarch

3/4 c.

unsalted butter, softened and divided

1/4 c.

firmly packed light brown sugar

2 tbsp.

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honey

3/4 tsp.

kosher salt, divided

1 tbsp.

orange juice

1 tsp.

orange zest

1/2 tsp.

vanilla extract

2

large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 c.

all-purpose flour

1 tsp.

baking powder

3/4 tsp.

ground ginger

1/2 tsp.

baking soda

1/2 c.

sour cream, room temperature

Ice cream or whipped cream, to serve 

Step  1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray with flour. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper; do not spray again. Step  2 Cut the rhubarb into 2-inch diagonal pieces. Cut each piece in half widthwise so that each piece has a pink side and a green-white side. Place the rhubarb in a large bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and the cornstarch.

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Toss to combine. Place the rhubarb in the prepared pan pink side down, trimming the pieces to fit snugly in the pan. Step  3 In a medium stainless-steel skillet, melt ¼ cup of butter over medium heat; stir in the brown sugar, honey, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer; cook until the sugar is melted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Slowly pour in the orange juice, whisk until combined and smooth. Pour the caramel over the rhubarb. Step  4 In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the remaining ½ cup of butter, remaining 1 cup of granulated sugar, orange zest, and vanilla at medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.

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Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Step  5 In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Carefully spread the batter onto the rhubarb in the pan. Step  6 Bake for 30 minutes. Place a piece of foil on top of the cake to prevent excess browning and bake until a wooden pick comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove the foil and let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cake to loosen; carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate, removing the parchment. Let cool. Step  7 Serve warm, room temperature, or cold with ice cream or whipped cream.

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