Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

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.

a slice of rhubarb upside down cake on a plate

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.


  • Fresh Rhubarb – Choose stalks that are plump and crisp.
  • Granulated sugar – Rhubarb is very tart and needs sugar to balance out the flavor
  • Unsalted butter (¼ cup)
  • Ground ginger – Spicy ginger is a nice accent to rhubarb.
  • Eggs
  • Buttermilk – Acidic buttermilk makes a very tender cake.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cake flour – Low protein cake flour makes a softer cake.
  • Baking powder – For lift
  • Almond flour – Almond flour replaces some of the flour in the cake and adds flavor, a slight crunch and keeps the crumb soft and tender.

How to make Rhubarb Upside Down Cake:

macerating rhubarb before and after
  • Toss the rhubarb with sugar (left).
  • After 1-2 hours the rhubarb will release some juice.
rhubarb caramel boiling
  • Combine the rhubarb syrup with the butter and ginger.
  • Boil to create the caramel topping.
rhubarb and caramel in a square pan
  • Cut the stalks to fit in the pan.
  • Arrange the rhubarb stalks in an angled or straight pattern.
rhubarb cake before and after baking
  • Spread the batter over the rhubarb.
  • Make an “X” to help it bake flat.

Pastry Chef tips 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.
rhubarb upside down cake on a marble tray.
a slice of rhubarb upside down cake on a plate with a fork

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.

I am obsessed with the unique flavor of rhubarb. You too? Here are a few more recipes for you to try:

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please consider leaving a 5-star review.

a slice of rhubarb upside down cake
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4.72 from 14 reviews

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake Recipe

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.
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time40 minutes
Macerating Time2 hours
Total Time3 hours 10 minutes
10 slices
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  • 1 ½ pounds rhubarb (cut lengthwise to about 1/2″ thick stalks)
  • 8 oz granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • 2 oz unsalted butter (¼ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Cake Batter

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 yolks
  • 4 oz buttermilk (½ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 7 oz cake flour (1 ½ cups, see note)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • 2 oz almond flour (½ cup)
  • 4 oz butter (room temp, cut into 1″ pieces)



  • In a 13×9 baking pan, or another dish long enough to fit the rhubarb stalks, toss the rhubarb with 8 oz granulated sugar. Allow to macerate for 1-2 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 2 oz unsalted butter and 1 teaspoon ground 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 1 large egg, 2 yolks 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Sift together 7 oz cake flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground ginger and ¼ teaspoon salt in a mixing bowl, add 8 oz granulated sugar and 2 oz almond flour. Run the mixer on low speed for 30 seconds to combine the dry ingredients. Add 4 oz 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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If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 219mg | Potassium: 252mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 589IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I love rhubarb too and would love to try this recipe. My husband is diabetic so the sugar is very high for him. Can I use a Monkfruit sweetener in place of the granulated sugar?

    1. I don’t know. I haven’t tried alternate sweeteners. If anyone else has experience maybe they can chime in?