This vintage recipe for Rhubarb Upside Down Cake is easy to make either in a skillet or cake pan. Light, fluffy, sweet cake combined with tangy rhubarb is a favorite.
Our Farmer’s Market has now been open for a few weeks and the parade of fresh things has begun again.
Something I’ve appreciated about eating as a locavore is the specific period of time a given produce item is available.
I realize it seems that it might be more convenient to have things available indefinitely but you can liken it to a favorite holiday; if it was around all year, the spikes of appreciation of what comes with it would be missing.
Over the winter I grouped newly discovered vintage recipes into mental categories by fruit or vegetable, waiting for the right timing to give them a whirl.
With the onset of rhubarb I’ve dipped into the wooden recipe box that produced Dark Honey Cake and found this Rhubarb Upside Down Cake recipe.
The recipe resides on a fragile, browned newspaper clipping I’m guessing from the 1930’s after seeing dates in that range on similarly aged clippings in the box.
The recipe suggests the cake can be prepared in a pan or skillet. I have not prepared an upside down cake in a skillet before but feeling I’d ‘right side up’ piece by piece, rather than turning out the cake in its entirety, I ventured that method.
I felt the rustic use of a cast iron skillet mirrored the charm of the original recipe.
The cake is delicious with exactly the right amount of tartness from the rhubarb.
RHUBARB UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar divided
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cup all purpose flour regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend*
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 4 cups rhubarb trimmed and rough chopped
- nutmeg sprinkle, preferably freshly grated
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- (This method uses a skillet and does NOT turn the entire cake over at the end. If you would like to use a pan or turn the cake over, see the NOTES section below). In a 10 inch oven proof skillet (I used cast iron), melt brown sugar, ½ cup of the granulated sugar and the butter over medium heat stirring occasionally.
- While the sugar and butter are melting, in a large bowl combine the remaining 1 cup of sugar, cream, egg, flour and baking powder; stir until fully combined.
- When sugar-butter mixture is completely melted, add the rhubarb and stir to combine. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
- Spoon the cake batter over the rhubarb mixture and spread to cover as much as possible (note: the batter is thick more like a biscuit batter so try to form a layer but it will end up cooking together so don’t worry of there are some spots open).
- Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake has begun to brown on the top.
- Allow to cool before slicing. When serving turn the slice over on the plate, exposing the rhubarb side on the top. Fabulous with a scoop of Vanilla Bean ice cream!
- I would suggest using a 9 inch pan (square or round),
- place the pan in the heated oven for the first step of melting the sugars and butter.
- Then proceed with the rest of the recipe not using the stove top.
- TO REMOVE FULL CAKE FROM A PAN: If you have baked the cake in a pan and wish to turn the entire cake over, allow cake pan to cool for 5 minutes on a cooling rack (note: do not allow it to sit longer or it may be difficult to remove from the pan).
- Run a dinner knife along the sides of the pan to ensure it is freed up and turn onto a serving plate. Be careful as the cake and pan will still be quite warm.
- Cool about 45 minutes.
Originally published: May 2, 2012