If you’re looking for an easy rhubarb dessert with a fun presentation, try this rhubarb upside-down cake! It combines lots of fresh rhubarb, plenty of orange zest and bakes up beautifully in a cast iron skillet. Delicious with strawberry ice-cream!
Hey friends! I know some of you are well into rhubarb season, but here in Newfoundland it’s only just ready to harvest (well, in our little backyard garden anyway).
I was super excited to pluck our rhubarb and I knew I had to make something special…enter this easy peasy, delicious rhubarb upside-down cake!
On top of trying to stay with the seasons here, let’s get into a little nerdy talk…
You guys, the new season of Stranger Things is back on Netflix today! If you are a fan of that science fiction show, like me, then you know all about ‘the upside down’. And, if you’re like ‘what the heck is Dawn talking about??’ I won’t bore you with the details, lol.
So, geeking out here, how fun would it be to share an upside down cake recipe for the start of a new season? Still with me here 😉 ??
Like rhubarb desserts? Check out this strawberry rhubarb crisp!
What is Upside-Down Cake?
Upside-down cake is like any other cake, except it has a layer of fruit in a sugar syrup on the bottom. After it’s baked, it’s inverted (turned upside down) so that the bottom becomes the top of the cake.
Pray to the baking gods that everything comes out beautifully when you tip that baby over, lol…and, when it does (because it will), do a happy dance right in the middle of your kitchen!! Seriously, though, this is one easy dessert!
Fun fact – rhubarb is actually a veggie, not a fruit.
How to Make Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
This cake is super simple to make….dare I say too easy?? Basically…
- Melt some butter in a skillet.
- Stir in sugar, mixing to combine. Sugar won’t fully be dissolved at this point.
- Add chunks of rhubarb.
- Stir rhubarb, coating in butter/sugar mixture. Cook for a few minutes. As it cooks, it will release a little liquid and the sugar mixture will dissolve.
- Ensure the rhubarb is in an even-ish layer on the bottom of the cast iron pan. Let sit for a little while you are preparing batter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit at this point too.
- Place flour in a bowl and add baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- Stir in orange zest. Lay to one side.
- Next, cream remaining butter and sugar.
- Add vanilla extract
- Next, add orange extract
- Blend in eggs, one at a time.
- Blend in half of reserved flour mixture
- Add half of milk and continue with remaining flour and milk mixture and blend until just combined and there are no streaks of dry flour left.
- Scoop cake batter on top of rhubarb mixture.
Tip: An ice-cream scoop is helpful here. If you don’t have that, though, no biggie…use a spoon!
- Using a spatula and GENTLY spread out batter in an even layer. Bake!
- Once baked, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Run a butter knife along edge of cake to loosen and stuck on bits, if there are any.
- Carefully place a plate or platter (that’s a little bigger than the skillet) on top of the skillet and invert (quickly turn over) so the cake comes out of the pan. Be careful as the skillet will still be hot!
- Enjoy as is or with ice-cream!
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What to Serve with this Cake
- Ice-cream (I highly recommend strawberry…SO good with rhubarb). If you’re looking for something homemade, I have a couple of delicious options for ya – Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (no eggs) from Champagne Tastes or Homemade Strawberry Ice-Cream (using eggs) from My Wife Can Cook. You gotta have options, am I right??
- Whipped cream
- Fresh mint – leaves left whole or finely chopped chiffonade-style, if you want to put your fancy pant on
- Sprinkle of extra orange zest for extra orange oomph
- White, dark or milk chocolate shaved over top
More Tips & Variations
Use the STALKS ONLY of the rhubarb. The leaves are poisonous!
Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before inverting.
Not into orange? Try lemon zest instead!
When inverting (tipping over) baked rhubarb cake, select a plate or platter that is just slightly larger than the skillet. You want to be able to still have a good grip on the skillet when turning.
Speaking turning that skillet over, it will still be hot so I like to wear good, grip-able gloves.
More Desserts You May Enjoy
Hope you love this rhubarb upside-down cake as much as we do!
Until next time, take care and chit chat again soon,
Make this rhubarb cake recipe? That’s awesome! Love it if you left a comment below. Many thanks!
Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake (with orange)
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter , divided
- 1 cup sugar , divided
- 3 cups rhubarb stalks , cut into 1 inch-ish chunks (stalks only), about 3/4 pound
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange zest ('heaping', from about 2 to 3 oranges)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
- baking spray (to grease pan)
- In a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium low heat, melt 1/4 cup butter. Stir in 1/2 cup of sugar, stirring.
- Add chopped rhubarb, stirring to coat in butter/sugar mixture. Cook 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit while preparing batter for cake. Try to get an even-ish layer of rhubarb covering the bottom of the skillet. I like to spray a little baking spray around the top part of the pan at this point too. Preheat oven at this time too to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Meanwhile, in bowl combine flour with baking powder, salt, cinnamon and orange zest. Stir to combine. Lay to one side.
- In a stand mixer (or using a bowl with a hand mixer) cream remaining 1/2 cup of butter with remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Blend about 2 to 3 minutes until combined and creamy.
- Add vanilla extract and orange extract to stand mixer and blend about 30 seconds.
- Mix in eggs, one at a time, until just combined (mixture may not look combined/creamy and that's ok).
- Alternating between reserved flour mixture and milk, add to stand mixer, blending until just combined and no streaks of dry flour remains.
- Scoop batter on top of rhubarb. Use a spatula to gently spread out, being carefully not to move around rhubarb too much.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted.
- Carefully remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes. Run a butter knife or small offset spatula around cake to ensure no bits are stuck to the pan.
- Place a platter or plate (a little bigger than the skillet) over top. Then, carefully and confidently turn over so the cake comes out of the skillet. Be careful as the skillet will still be hot! Enjoy as is or with ice-cream!
- Use the STALKS ONLY of the rhubarb. The leaves are poisonous!
- Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before inverting.
- Not into orange? Try lemon zest instead!
- When inverting (tipping over) baked rhubarb cake, select a plate or platter that is just slightly larger than the skillet. You want to be able to still have a good grip on the skillet when turning. Also, skillet will still be hot so I like to wear good, grip-able gloves.