Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Wednesday 14 February 2018


I've always been totally fascinated by the alchemy of cooking and baking . . . it's all so very magical to me. I sometimes find myself sitting  and wondering . . . who was it that first decided that eggs were good to eat . . . and then, moving on from there . . . who discovered that if you beat eggs together with flour and sugar and a bit of leavening, you got cake???  

I am sure the answer to those questions is to be found somewhere . . .  and in all honesty I am not all that bothered with who did what, I'm basically just grateful that these discoveries have been made!

Early rhubarb can be found in the shops now,  the forced kind from Yorkshire . . . or the Rhubarb Triangle, as it is also known. 

 This is a 9 square-mile triangle of land in West Yorkshire which is famous for producing forced rhubarb.  It is brilliant pink and cooks up with a beautiful colour.

Yorkshire forced rhubarb is known for its delicate flavour and striking crimson stalks, but it is a fragile crop with few growers left. 

 Unlike outdoor varieties, forced roots are grown in fields for two years, where they store energy and are moved into forcing sheds after November frosts. 

 They are then grown in complete darkness and harvested by candlelight, to avoid photosynthesis turning them green and tough.

Forced rhubarb  is some of the most tender and colourful rhubarb you can find . . . pretty pink red. Gorgeous actually. 

 There are only 12 farmers who actually grow it and the season for this delectable early rhubarb will soon be over. 

I thought I would take advantage of its right-now availability and Valentine's Day to bake a special cake for us to enjoy as a part of our celebrations.

It is one of my favourite cakes, with a beautiful sponge topped with sweet/tart rhubarb and it is perfect for showcasing the pretty colour of this early stuff. 

I like to have it with whipped cream, but a purest would probably want Ice Cream or even custard. My husband always wants custard. He says rhubarb and custard go together like peas and carrots . . . and he would not be wrong! 

*Rhubarb Upside Down Cake*
Makes one 9 inch round cake

Tasty cake topped with a delicious sweet/tart rhubarb mixture. 

2 TBS butter
95g of caster sugar (1/2 cup)
50g of soft light brown sugar (1/4 cup)
300g of rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 2 cups)

For the cake:
75g of white vegetable shortening (1/3 cup)
95g of caster sugar (1/2 cup)
1 large free range egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
140g of plain flour (1 cup)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
120ml milk (1/2 cup) 

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Have ready a 9 inch round cake tin. 

Melt the butter in a 9 inch round cake tin.  Stir in the sugar and brown sugar. Spread it out evenly in the pan.  Lay the rhubarb pieces on top. 

Cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beating until smooth.  Pour over the fruit mixture in the pan.  Smooth over the top. 

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes until risen and lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before inverting onto a serving plate.  Cut into wedges to serve.  Top with whipped cream or ice cream to serve.  Serve warm. 

I actually can't think of  a prettier dessert than this, can you?  I think the only way it could get prettier would be to bake it in a heart shaped pan.  I don't have one of those or I would have done just that. In any case I hope you'll give it a go!   

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  1. It looks delicious!!And how pretty is rhubarb?♥

    1. Thanks very much Monique! It’s gorgeous! The rhubarb! Xo

  2. Love this cake...made is last June with store bought rhubarb. Started some from seed last year. The little plants thrived, and am anxious for a 'big pick'...probably in a year or so, as the stalks will still be quite slender this year.

  3. What is caster sugar please n thank you

    1. In the U.K. caster sugar is a fine granulated sugar as the regular granulated sugar is quite coarse. It is quite acceptable to use North American granulated sugar. ~Marie

  4. Can butter be substituted for the white shortening?

    1. You could, however the cake will not have the same light consistency.

    2. What is white shortening

    3. It is a type of white vegetable fat, solid. In North America a common one is Crisco, in the U.K. you can use white Flora or Trex. I hope this helps. ~Marie


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