Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Whisking Wolf
by Whisking Wolf
12 servings
1 hr 10 min

You’ll flip for this Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. Soft, fluffy and packed with moisture this vanilla cake is topped with caramelized rhubarb for a springtime twist on a classic dessert.

Life has a way of knocking you down. Usually it’s a metaphorical knock down but sometimes it is painfully literal. Like fall over a fence and land on your face kind of painful. Sure it was after midnight at a bar and the blame should be assigned to alcohol, but it’s easier to point my bony finger at life. Normally I’d blame karma, but my behavior has been moderately tolerable lately. So unless karma is backlogged by all of my bygone offenses, I shall continue to condemn life.

No doubt I’ll be punished for that as well, but you know what they say: revenge is sweet. Unfortunately it’s only sweet when your dishing it out. Since I’ll be on the bitter receiving end, sweetness will need to be sourced from elsewhere: like a rhubarb patch. Luckily it’s peak season for rhubarb, which means life has partially redeemed itself.

All it takes for me to be right side up again is a rhubarb upside down cake. Caramelized on the bottom and covered with cake batter this dessert bakes in 40 minutes flat then flips out of the pan to reveal a mosaic of pink prettiness. Soft, fluffy and loaded with moisture this modern twist on pineapple upside down cake will be your new favorite. Serve it warm with scoop of ice cream and savor every sweet bite.

Before sharing the recipe for Rhubarb Upside Down Cake, here are a few tips and tricks to help you out:

Ingredient Tips and Tricks

Fresh rhubarb is recommended but frozen will work in a pinch as long as you thaw, drain and blot excess moisture before using.

Always use the spoon and level method to measure flour. Scooping flour is a no-no. That technique overpacks flour into the measuring cup which results in a drier, denser cake than the moist, tender cake you get from properly measured flour.

For best results be sure all ingredients (butter, eggs and yes, even buttermilk) are at room temperature before beginning.

If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a sour milk substitution by stirring one half of a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice into one half of a cup of whole milk and letting it set for five minutes before use.

You can make a cake flour substitution with all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Simply measure 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour then discard 3 tablespoons and add 3 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Whisk to combine then sift the ingredients together before using–do not skip this sifting step.

Preparation Tips and Tricks

Invert cake while it is still warm. If you allow it cool longer than 10 minutes after removing from the oven you’ll end up with a dump cake instead of an upside down cake.

Storage and Freezing Tips for Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Allow cake to cool completely then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 3 days.

Upside down cake can be frozen up to 3 months. Cool cake completely then cover tightly with plastic wrap then cover in a layer of aluminum foil before placing in the freezer.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. Please leave a comment and rating at the bottom of this blog when you try it for yourself. And, while you’re at it, sign up for my weekly Recipe Newsletter so you never miss out on a new recipe.

Finally, if you like rhubarb you’ll fall in love with this recipe for Rhubarb Muffins with Rhubarb Frosting. Soft, fluffy muffins brimming with fresh rhubarb and iced with a pretty-in-pink frosting are simple, easy and oh so delicious.

Recipe details
  • 12  servings
  • Prep time: 30 Minutes Cook time: 40 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 10 min
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  • 6 Tbsps unsalted butter melted
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups fresh rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt fine
  • 8 Tbsps unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 x 2 inch high baking pan with nonstick cooking spray then set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with brown sugar then stir for two minutes until bubbly and caramelized.
Pour mixture into bottom of prepared baking pan then add chopped rhubarb in an even layer.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and creamy, approximately 2 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, beating after each until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula as needed.
Incorporate buttermilk and vanilla then beat until combined.
Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients. Beat until just combined. Avoid overmixing.
Spoon batter over rhubarb mixture then smooth top in an even layer.
Bake for 38 to 43 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.
Remove cake from oven and immediately loosen edges with a knife. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes then place a large, rectangular serving plate over the top of the cake pan and quickly invert the cake onto the plate.
Cool for an additional 15 minutes. Slice and serve warm.
Cool cake completely then cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
Whisking Wolf
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  • Nicole P Nicole P on Apr 26, 2021

    Looks so delicious!

    • Whisking Wolf Whisking Wolf on Apr 26, 2021

      Thanks, Nicole. Rhubarb season always beings back memories of baking with my gramma 💕

  • Pam Pam on May 11, 2021

    This looks great, but we're not fans of Rhubarb. Is there another fruit substitute you'd recommend? Thank you.