rhubarb upside down cake

by Stacy

Before we get to cake (“Awwwwww”) I just want to thank everyone so much for the supportive thoughts and words in the last few weeks, especially after my last post. I haven’t had a chance to respond to them yet, but I wanted to acknowledge you all and make sure you know you’re appreciated. As a greater show of my appreciation, here is an amazingly tasty cake recipe which I hope you enjoy. Share a piece with someone you love.

Do you like rhubarb? My husband loves it. He is also a man of simple tastes and would be happy if I made one rhubarb crisp after another. As another rhubarb fan with more adventurous ideas (and a food blog to fill!) I asked if he would be amenable to a rhubarb cake. He looked skeptical.

Not as skeptical as I felt when I had to correct the friendly cashier at the natural foods store when he rang up the rhubarb as “rutabaga,” then had to explain what both items were.

rhubarb upside down cakerhubarb upside down cake

Decidedly not rutabaga.

My heart was set on a cake, though. Back in May I saw this post and was intrigued. A springform pan seemed too big for a single cake, however, so I looked for something smaller. Eventually I pieced together bits from a few different recipes to make a single 9-inch round cake. Then I asked my husband if he would prefer a spice cake to complement the rhubarb, or something more simple just along for the ride.

He’s a bit vanilla, so that’s what he picked.

rhubarb upside down cakerhubarb upside down cake

I was a little apprehensive; normally I don’t tinker too much with cake recipes as the chemistry can be tricky. If you follow instructions, cakes aren’t hard, they’re just easy to mess up. What if I wasted my rare rhubarb find (it’s not common here) on a mediocre cake? Especially with a simple cake with no spices to distract if the texture was wrong.

Concerned, I tasted the cake batter. Then I tasted it again to double-check that it was, in fact, as delicious as I thought. My confidence in the flavor grew, but I was a little worried about baking it since I had changed some ingredients around.

rhubarb upside down cake

rhubarb upside down cake

About 45 minutes in the oven had my kitchen smelling lovely, another 10 minutes in the pan meant the cake was cool enough to flip.

rhubarb upside down cakerhubarb upside down cake

Ta-daaaaaa! A light and tender crumb and a just-sweet-enough topping with a hint of ginger. Lovely.

It has enough flavor that a small sliver is perfect savored with coffee or tea. Small slices also help it last longer, like a good book where you’re excited to see how it turns out but then feel sad that you can’t read it anymore. It was so good that editing the photos made me nostalgic for it. I can’t wait to try it again with a different fruit topping.

rhubarb upside down cake

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Makes one 9-inch round cake

The weight of the flours is much more accurate in this recipe. The batter does end up fairly thick, but the end result is not at all heavy. If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, you can use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour.


  • 3 cups (about 12 ounces | 340 grams) diced rhubarb
  • 1 tablespoon (0.5 ounces | 14 grams) butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
  • 1/3 cup (2.65 ounces | 75 grams) granulated sugar
  • pinch salt


  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces | 85 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (5.3 ounces | 150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1.65 ounces | 48 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2.85 ounces | 80 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (2.1 ounces | 60 grams) plain yogurt


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in sugar until mostly dissolved. Add ginger and stir until fragrant. Mix in rhubarb until coated. Cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Spread rhubarb in the bottom of the pan. Preheat oven to 325F.
  3. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes with a stand mixer. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine at low speed. Next add about half the yogurt, another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the yogurt, and end with the last of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  5. Spread the batter evenly over the rhubarb. Bake at 325F 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when touched.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to help loosen the edges, place the serving plate over the pan, and invert. Let cool.
  7. Serve plain, with ice cream, or with a dollop of whipped cream.

rhubarb upside down cake

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly July 28, 2010 at 8:46 am

Mmm, I love cake with yogurt in it. Made one a couple weeks ago that was SO tasty. I may be trying this with different fruit one of these days. I don’t understand the point of rhubarb 😀


Bridget July 28, 2010 at 12:03 pm

The texture of that cake looks just perfect, and I looove rhubarb. I didn’t get around to buying any when it was in season this spring, but I fortunately found some last week. I made scones (and froze them, unbaked, until after this darn beach trip coming up), but now I hope I can find more rhubarb so I can make cake!


Mom July 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm

When MY rhubarb comes in next spring, I will freeze some for you and Anderson. Then you will have to come visit me to get it, or I will have to come visit you and bring it! Sound like a plan?


Rose July 28, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Yum! Your cake looks so moist and delicious!



cake recipes July 29, 2010 at 5:11 am

That looks really pretty. I think I’ll give this a go. I would like to see how my kids will take it, lol! Although they do love fruit bits in their cakes, I’m not so sure about rhubarb. Anyway, they really are nice kids, I’m sure for the love of mommy, they’ll be more than willing to try. :)
Thanks by the way for sharing. :)


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