Rhubarb Upside Down Cake is made with beautiful red rhubarb, caramel topping and melt-in-your-mouth almond buttermilk cake. It all comes together with a hint of ginger.
When rhubarb is in season you’ve got to eat as much as you can, as many ways as you can. Since rhubarb is not a “snacking” fruit we can never have too many great rhubarb recipes.
One of my favorite go-to fruit desserts is an upside down cake. I just love the contrast of gooey caramel, chunky fruit and soft cake. The type of fruit can change with the season and the flavor of the cake can be adapted to accentuate the fruit of choice.
The buttermilk almond cake that is the base for my Rhubarb Upside Down Cake is soft and super moist. I add a hint of ginger in both the cake batter and the caramel topping. The ginger doesn’t jump out at you, but it does marry very well with the tart rhubarb.
Scroll through the step-by-step photos to see how to make Rhubarb Upside Down Cake:
Helpful Hints for Making Rhubarb Upside Down Cake:
- Cut the stalks in half lengthwise so they’re all about 1/2″ thick. Cutting the stalks also opens up the fruit for macerating.
- You need to macerate the rhubarb stalks for at least 2 hours to allow the fruit time to absorb sugar and release juice.
- As you arrange the rhubarb in the pan, place the pieces with the reddest side down for the best color on the finished cake.
- The key to getting this cake out of the pan with the topping intact is to unmold it while it’s still a little warm, but not so hot that it falls apart. Generally about 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven you can safely flip it out of the pan.
- If a few pieces of rhubarb or a little caramel sticks to the pan just use a small spatula to scoop up the left over bits and spread them back onto the cake. Again, this works best while the cake is still warm.
I love this cake slightly warm from the oven, but the flavor of the cake gets even better the second day. Rhubarb Upside Down Cake doesn’t really need any accompaniment, but it goes great with Buttermilk Ice Cream or Cheesecake Ice Cream.
Since you love rhubarb, and you love cake, I’m sure you’d also enjoy Rhubarb Crumb Cake.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, please consider leaving a 5-star review.
- 1.5 pounds rhubarb, cut lengthwise to about 1/2" thick stalks
- 1 cup (8 oz, 230g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (2 oz, 60g) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 egg plus 2 yolks
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 125ml) buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 1.5 cups (7 oz 200g) cake flour
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
- 1/2 cup (2 oz, 55g) almond meal
- 1 cup (8 oz, 215g) granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons (4 oz, 115g) butter, softened and cut into 1" pieces
- In a 13x9 baking pan, or another dish long enough to fit the rhubarb stalks, toss the rhubarb with the sugar. Allow to macerate for 2-3 hours. Remove the rhubarb from the pan and set it aside on a cutting board.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9" square pan with parchment paper or butter and flour the pan.
- Scrape all the rhubarb juice into a small saucepan, add the butter and ginger and bring the mixture to a boil. Allow to boil 1-2 minutes to thicken. Pour the warm caramel into the prepared cake pan. Cut and arrange the rhubarb on top of the caramel. You can either place the stalks in a straight pattern or on an angle. Once you've filled the pan, add any excess pieces of rhubarb on top of the middle section of the pan.
- Combine the egg, yolks, 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and the vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger and salt in a mixing bowl, add the sugar and almond meal. Run the mixer on low speed for 30 seconds to combine the dry ingredients. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of buttermilk to the flour and butter mixture. Turn the mixer to medium high for 2-3 minutes to aerate the batter.
- Turn off the mixer and scrape the bowl and paddle. Add the egg mixture in two batches, scraping between additions. Spread the batter over the rhubarb, making an "X" in the middle of the batter. This will help the cake bake flat instead of humping in the middle.
- Bake until the center of the cake springs back lightly when pressed, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
- Unmold the cake while it's still a little warm by running a paring knife around the sides of the cake and inverting onto a serving platter. If any caramel or rhubarb sticks in the pan lift them out with a small spatula and replace on the cake while it's still warm.
- Serve warm or room temperature.
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