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Rhubarb upside down cake recipe

Rhubarb upside down cake recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Cake
  • Cakes with fruit
  • Rhubarb cake

This is my favourite rhubarb cake. Warm with whipped cream, irresistible!

13 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 500g rhubarb
  • 90g caster sugar
  • For the base
  • 80g butter, softened
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g cornflour
  • 100g plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 120ml milk

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:45min ›Ready in:1hr

  1. Wash rhubarb and peel if tough and stringy. Dice rhubarb and distribute on the bottom of a silicone baking tin. You can also us a regular spring form tin and line with greaseproof paper.
  2. Sprinkle rhubarb with sugar and set to one side till it has drawn some juice.
  3. Meanwhile preheat oven to 160 C / Gas 3.
  4. In a bowl mix all the ingredients for the base and beat until smooth. Spread the rhubarb in the prepared tin and top with the mixture. Even it out with a spatula.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes. Turn cake upside down to unmould onto a cake plate. (If using a springform pan, remove the rim first, then gently pull off the paper after unmoulding).

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Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment. Butter the parchment.

Toss the rhubarb, ½ cup of the granulated sugar, and ¼ cup of the brown sugar together in a bowl. Layer the rhubarb across the bottom of the pan in a grid pattern, adding any remaining sugar mixture to the pan.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the butter, remaining sugars, and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Stir in the yogurt on low speed. (The mixture may look curdled.) Gradually add the flour mixture and stir to combine.

Spoon the batter over the rhubarb and spread evenly. (The pan will be almost full.)

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 1 hour, 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then unmold onto a platter. (Discard the parchment paper.) Cut the cake into squares and serve warm with ice cream.


Rhubarb upside down cake

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake – hello love! This is the essence of summer all wrapped up into one beautiful package. We’ve got everything – a luscious layer of juicy rhubarb on top, a thick layer of cake in the middle, and a surprise crumb layer on bottom. Simply divine! Better make two, because this cake will be eaten FAST.

This recipe was originally published June 12, 2018 – but I just gave it an update with simpler directions and fresh new photos!

Friends, I think we have a new-favorite-dessert situation on our hands. Ok, ok I know my new favorite dessert is always changing but for real – this is out-of-this-world good! You have to try it. Like, immediately! Before rhubarb season is over! I recommend getting rhubarb from a farmers market rather than a grocery store. The rhubarb in grocery stores by us was pretty pitiful looking! But, we saw lots of good rhubarb at the Madison Farmer’s Market last weekend, and thankfully I have my own private supplier – my parents’ back yard.

What foresight – they bought a house that came with a large backyard plot of rhubarb, clearly they knew that I would find myself in a state of rhubarb-dessert-addiction 16 years later.

This cake is really nothing all that fancy – it just has your basic rich, saucy layer of rhubarb, a surprise crumb topping on the bottom, and a dense yet light cake base. Plus, there’s the fact that it is MEGA DELISH. This rhubarb upside down cake also happens to be perfect for snacking on, so I almost think I should re-name it to “Rhubarb Snack Cake”.

How to Make Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Let’s run through how to make this beauty! It’s really simple, and I know an upside down cake sounds fancy and intimidating – but I PROMISE it’s not at all!

First, we’re tossing some washed and chopped rhubarb with sugar, and letting it sit to get all juicy.

While that’s hanging out, we’ll mix up the one-bowl batter! It’s got greek yogurt for an extra moist, delish cake and a little orange zest + juice to balance the flavor of the rhubarb.

Next, we’re going to hardcore butter a cake pan – be liberal here so your cake doesn’t stick. I’ve never had that problem, though, so I wouldn’t stress over it! Butter cures all, am I right??

You do NOT need to arrange your rhubarb pieces into any sort of fancy pattern – just tuck them in so they’re nice and snug. Pour the batter over the top and smooth it out.

Then, sprinkle on the super simple crumb mixture and bake!

See? EASY! I promise you can handle making this cake. And the color of the rhubarb is SO stunning that it will look gorgeous no matter what. I had a few pieces of rhubarb fall off when I removed the cake from the pan, but I just popped them back onto the cake and it was no big deal.

Now, just sit back and enjoy snacking on this Rhubarb Upside Down Cake all season long! Promise me you’ll make this – promise? Ok, good. Oh- I almost forgot! Here are my trusty tips for extending Rhubarb season!

How to Freeze Rhubarb

Rhubarb season is, tragically, short. BUT you can stock up on rhubarb now and freeze it for later use!

Wash and chop your rhubarb into 1 inch pieces, discarding the leaves (they’re poisonous). Place the sliced rhubarb in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Then, store it in a freezer safe container or ziploc bag in the freezer until ready to use! When you’re ready to bake with the frozen rhubarb, you can use the rhubarb directly from frozen and proceed with the recipe as written. If you thaw it first it’s going to be super liquidy and probably mushy and it’s not a great situation. This holds true for pretty much any rhubarb recipe (pie, scones, crumble, this cake).

Oh – one more tip. I recommend labeling your container/bag with the amount of rhubarb (ex: 2 cups Rhubarb) and the date (ex: 5/22/19) so you know exactly what you’ve got in there!

Happy Baking, and I hope you have fun plans (or maybe you’re just going to relax!) for Memorial Day weekend!

Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!

Be sure to follow bluebowlrecipes on instagram and tag #bluebowlrecipes with your photo! You can also post a photo of your recipe to the bluebowlrecipes Facebook page. I’d love to see what you make!


  • 1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, or walnuts
  • 1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (3 cups)
  • ¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup pecans, or walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To prepare topping: Coat a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (such as cast-iron) with cooking spray. Add corn syrup and butter heat over low heat until butter has melted, swirling the pan to coat the bottom evenly. Remove from the heat spread brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle nuts over the sugar and arrange rhubarb, rounded sides down, in a circular pattern on top. Set aside.

To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, nuts, baking powder and salt in a food processor or blender process until finely ground.

Beat 2 egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/3 cup brown sugar, beating until stiff and glossy. Set aside. (It is not necessary to wash beaters.) Beat whole eggs with the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar in another large bowl on high speed until thickened and pale, 3 to 5 minutes. Blend in orange zest and vanilla.

Whisk one-fourth of the beaten whites into the whole-egg mixture. Gently fold in half the flour mixture. Fold in the remaining beaten whites, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Spread the batter evenly over the rhubarb.

Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife. Invert a serving platter over the cake. Using oven mitts, grasp platter and skillet together and carefully flip them over. Let the skillet sit for a few minutes to allow any caramel clinging to it to drip onto the cake. Remove the skillet. Let the cake cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Equipment: 10-inch ovenproof skillet (This cake can also be baked in an 8-inch-square glass baking dish. Heat corn syrup and butter in a small pan and brush over the bottom of the baking dish. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes.)


Ingredients

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Arrange the rhubarb in the dish in a single layer. Pout on the orange juice and sprinkle with 1 cup of the sugar. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes and then set aside.

2. Generously butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan or narrow rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle ½ cup of the sugar over the bottom. Arrange the baked rhubarb in rows over the sugar, curved side down. Coarsely chop any that is left and distribute it over the 1-inch lengths.

3. Transfer the liquid from the baked rhubarb to a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and reduce to ½ cup. Set aside.

4. Combine the flour, the remaining ¼ cup sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Whisk to blend thoroughly. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Whisk the eggs and milk together and stir in the orange zest. Add to the flour mixture. Toss to form a soft dough. Spoon over the rhubarb and smooth the surface. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Spoon the reduced liquid over the warm cake. Serve warm, sliced into 1-inch-wide pieces, the width of the rhubarb rows.


  • 50g (2oz) butter
  • 200g (7oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 350g (12oz) fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 2tbsp finely chopped stem ginger
  • 200g (7oz) plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 200ml (7fl oz) buttermilk
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 80ml (2 1/2fl oz) vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4

Melt the butter in a 24cm ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. Stir in half the sugar, and cook for about 5 mins. Remove from the heat and add the rhubarb and ginger. If you don’t have an ovenproof frying pan pour the rhubarb mix into a 24cm round tin.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and orange zest.

Whisk the remaining sugar with the buttermilk, eggs and oil. Add the flour mix and mix well. Pour over the rhubarb and smooth the surface.

Bake for 30 mins or until the cake springs back when pressed in the centre. Cool then invert onto a cooling rack. Serve warm with custard or cream.


Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom (optional)
2 eggs, separated
1/3 cup butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp buttermilk or orange juice
2 tsp grated lemon zest (optional)

Directions:

Whisk the sugar, flour and cinnamon/nutmeg together. Work the butter in with your fingers until it resembles cornmeal. Toss the rhubarb with this mixture and set aside.

Whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, if using. Add any or all three of the spices or if you want a plain vanilla cake, omit the spices. Separate the egg and whip the whites with 2 Tbsp of the sugar until stiff peaks form and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat well.

By hand, or using low speed, add about a third of the dry ingredients. Before it is completely smooth, add half the buttermilk or orange juice. When it's almost incorporated, add another third of the dry ingredients. Then add the rest of the buttermilk or orange juice. Finish with the remaining dry ingredients. Do NOT overbeat if you want a tender cake.

Fold in half the egg whites by hand to loosen the batter, then fold the second half in.

Spray a bundt pan or a 6 or 7-inch pan (cheesecake pans work fine for this recipe) with baking spray.

Spread about half the rhubarb/sugar/flour mixture in the bottom of the pan and pour half the batter over it. Add the rest of the rhubarb and cover with the remaining batter. No need to cover the pan.

Put 1 1/2 cups of water in the Instant Pot. Put the cake on the trivet and close the pot. Set the valve to Sealing. Push Pressure Cook (or Manual) and adjust time using the + or - button to get to 60 minutes. When it beeps that it's done, leave it for 15 minutes natural release. Flip the valve to Venting and when the pin drops, open the pot.

Let the cake cool on the counter. When ready to unmold, fold a tea towel in four and run it under hot tap water. Wring it out and set the bottom of the pan on it for 30 seconds or so. This will help the rhubarb layer to release from the pan. Invert the cake onto a plate and slowly remove the pan.


How to Make It

Preheat oven to 350°. Make cake: Butter a 9-in. round pan or 8 (1-cup) ramekins and line with parchment paper or waxed paper cut to fit. Butter the paper. In a bowl, toss rhubarb with 3 tbsp. granulated sugar. Spoon evenly into pan or ramekins if using ramekins, set on a rimmed baking sheet.

Melt chocolate in a small metal bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, whisking until smooth, 2 to 4 minutes. Let cool.

Beat butter and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a bowl with a mixer until fluffy. Add egg whites and vanilla and beat until well blended. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in another bowl. Beat flour mixture into egg mixture half at a time, alternating with milk, until smooth. Stir in chocolate.

Spread batter evenly over rhubarb. Bake cake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean, 28 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan or ramekins about 30 minutes.

Make sauce: Heat cream and rosemary in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbles form at edge of pan, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and discard rosemary.

Stir granulated sugar with lemon juice and 2 tbsp. water in a 12-in. frying pan. Cook over medium-high heat, occasionally picking up pan and swirling mixture around sides to wash down sugar crystals, until deep golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Immediately remove pan from heat, add cream (it will bubble up), and whisk until smooth. Scrape sauce into a serving bowl.

Make compote: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring brown sugar, 1/3 cup water, and the rhubarb to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer until rhubarb is tender, 4 to 5 minutes.

Loosen cake from sides of pan or ramekins with a small metal spatula. Invert pan onto a platter (or invert ramekins onto dessert plates) and remove paper. For cake on platter, cut into wedges and transfer to plates. Using a slotted spoon, spoon compote and some syrup on cake. Spoon some sauce next to cake and serve the rest on the side. Serve with chamomile ice cream.


Recipe Summary

  • CAKE
  • ½ pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-in. slices (2 cups)
  • ½ cup plus 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces good-quality white chocolate such as Callebaut, chopped
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ⅓ cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • SAUCE
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 rosemary sprig (5 in.)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • COMPOTE
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ pound rhubarb, split lengthwise and cut into 2-in. pieces
  • Sour Cream Chamomile Ice Cream

Preheat oven to 350°. Make cake: Butter a 9-in. round pan or 8 (1-cup) ramekins and line with parchment paper or waxed paper cut to fit. Butter the paper. In a bowl, toss rhubarb with 3 tbsp. granulated sugar. Spoon evenly into pan or ramekins if using ramekins, set on a rimmed baking sheet.

Melt chocolate in a small metal bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, whisking until smooth, 2 to 4 minutes. Let cool.

Beat butter and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a bowl with a mixer until fluffy. Add egg whites and vanilla and beat until well blended. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in another bowl. Beat flour mixture into egg mixture half at a time, alternating with milk, until smooth. Stir in chocolate.

Spread batter evenly over rhubarb. Bake cake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean, 28 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan or ramekins about 30 minutes.

Make sauce: Heat cream and rosemary in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbles form at edge of pan, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and discard rosemary.

Stir granulated sugar with lemon juice and 2 tbsp. water in a 12-in. frying pan. Cook over medium-high heat, occasionally picking up pan and swirling mixture around sides to wash down sugar crystals, until deep golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Immediately remove pan from heat, add cream (it will bubble up), and whisk until smooth. Scrape sauce into a serving bowl.

Make compote: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring brown sugar, 1/3 cup water, and the rhubarb to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer until rhubarb is tender, 4 to 5 minutes.

Loosen cake from sides of pan or ramekins with a small metal spatula. Invert pan onto a platter (or invert ramekins onto dessert plates) and remove paper. For cake on platter, cut into wedges and transfer to plates. Using a slotted spoon, spoon compote and some syrup on cake. Spoon some sauce next to cake and serve the rest on the side. Serve with chamomile ice cream.


Rhubarb Cardamom Rose Upside-Down Cake

Who doesn’t love a good upside-down cake? It took me a while to hone and tweak this one to perfection. I wanted a cake that wasn’t overly sweet, in other words something I wouldn’t feel guilty eating for breakfast. Or as a friend pointed out when she taste-tested it, more of a “tea cake” then a “cake cake”.

I also wanted an extra moist cake that could be made with whole wheat flour and still produce a very tender texture. Well it turns out one of the best-kept secrets for an ultra-moist and tender cake is…. oil! Yes, using oil instead of butter makes for a cake that’s reliably moist. And since it won’t dry out as quickly as a butter-based cake, this cake keeps well for days (if you can keep it from being devoured for that long). I chose olive oil for this cake, for its fruity aroma. I simply use our standard kitchen olive oil, an organic extra virgin type with a fairly robust taste. It lends a beautiful depth of flavor that is surprisingly subtle and delicate, despite the whole cup called for in the recipe. You can really use any oil you have at home, so long as it’s not too intensely flavored.

Cardamom and rose water felt like the perfect aromas to complement the tartness of the rhubarb and the three together are truly a match made in heaven. However, if you’re not a fan of those flavors, you could substitute with some orange zest and vanilla.

Yes, I did get all fancy pantsy with the rhubarb pattern on that cake. In all honesty, it was a bit fiddly and time consuming to get the geometry right, kind of like making a puzzle. A fun challenge but you need a bit of time of your hands. Rest assured that simply laying down rhubarb pieces side by side will also result in a perfectly exquisite upside-down cake. One thing that’s key for this cake’s good looks though is to get your hands on some bright red rhubarb if you can. A little green rhubarb is fine, and in fact it’s ideal as having both red and green pieces will allow you to play with fun color patterns. An all-green rhubarb cake on the other hand just doesn’t look quite as nice, in my opinion. Still every bit as delicious though!

At this time last year, my own rhubarb patch was hopelessly devoid of red and I thought I was doing something wrong. But after a little research, I learned that there are all kinds of different rhubarb varieties. Some varieties just don’t turn very red. Who knew? I always kind of thought of rhubarb as just, well, rhubarb. So at my local garden store last spring, I asked if they had a red stalked rhubarb variety and did they ever. I came home with two pots of scraggly-looking but bright hot pink rhubarb shoots called “Canada Red”. As a Canadian living in the US, it seemed fitting for me to grow a Canadian variety as a little ode to my country. I immediately found a spot in my garden for the new plants and crossed my fingers and toes it would be happy there and survive our cold New York winters.

Lo and behold, this spring, some bright red stalks came popping out of the ground with great vigor! My brain immediately got to work on ways to showcase their vibrant color. First thing I made were some drinks. Strawberry rhubarb kombucha turned out to be the best drink I’ve ever made with such a pretty pink sparkle. But this cake. Oh this cake! I’m quite proud of it. It’s one I’ll definitely be making for years to come and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.