Fun fact: rhubarb is a vegetable! If you’ve never baked with rhubarb before, expect to be wowed. Who would have thought a vegetable could taste this yummy! You know Spring is here when rhubarb shows up at the store or farmer’s markets! The season is from April to June. And although you may be able to find it for a longer period of time, late spring to early summer is the prime time. The crimson stalks provide some of the most vibrant flavors of Spring! When buying rhubarb, look for stalks that are firm and crisp. You will notice quite a difference in color from pink and green to bright red. Although there is not a lot of difference in taste (the red being a bit sweeter), I love using the vibrant, crimson stalks for the most striking, colorful desserts.
I know many of you asking why I did not use a skillet to bake this cake in. We have all made Pineapple Upside-Down cakes in our old cast iron skillets. They were very heavy and almost impossible to flip over onto a serving plate. Often the filling stuck to the bottom of the pan. Even the newer non-stick skillets are difficult to turn the cake out of. A parchment lined cake pan is the way to go.
The perfect size pan for this recipe is a 10” cake pan. If you don’t have a 10” pan, you can use a 9” pan that is at least 2” deep and make 3 small cupcakes with the extra batter. If you use all of the batter in a 9” pan, the cake will take too long to bake through without drying out the edges. And these tasty little cupcakes are delicious breakfast treats or afternoon snacks!
Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
- 3 cups rhubarb (about 12 ounces), cut into ½” thick slices
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup fine cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Grease and flour a 10” cake pan or a 9” cake pan that is at least 2” deep. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Don’t use a springform pan because it will leak.
- Preheat the oven to 325° convection.
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar. Stir together until combined, remove from heat and stir in the rhubarb. Dump into prepared pan and smooth to evenly distribute the rhubarb. Set aside and mix the cake.
- Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, sour cream, orange zest and juice and vanilla extract.
- Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and whisk gently to combine. Gradually add the olive oil, folding into the batter with a rubber spatula until incorporated and smooth.
- If you are using a 9” pan, remove ¾ cup of batter and fill 3 lined muffin cups with it. These will take 15-18 minutes to bake.
- Pour remaining batter over the rhubarb and smooth the top. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until top springs back when lightly touched. Do not rely on a toothpick test. The toothpick will test clean even if the cake is not cooked in the middle.
- Let cool in pan for 8 minutes. Run a spatula around the edge of the pan to release the cake. Place your serving dish over the pan and turn upside down. Carefully remove the pan and the parchment paper. If some of the rhubarb has stuck, simply replace it on the cake.