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Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Rhubarb upside down cake

This recipe is meaningful to me because it's a true celebration of spring! The color is cheery and rhubarb season is a delightful precursor to the summer produce season. This recipe is inspired by two different cakes from Claire Saffitz's book, Dessert Person. I also developed this recipe for my website and cooking channel, both of which were my pandemic passion project!

This cake is best eaten the day it’s made, but can be kept covered at room temperature for one day.


For the topping:
1 lb rhubarb, sliced on the diagonal into 1.5” pieces
1/3 cup (33 g) granulated sugar
2 tbsp orange juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)

For the cake:
8 tbsp softened butter
1/4 cup (50 g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (113 g) almond flour
1 cup (130 g) AP flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature


1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Prepare a 9” cake pan: lightly grease with butter, and line with a round of parchment paper.

2. For the topping: Whisk together 1/3 cup of granulated sugar with the orange juice and vanilla bean paste if using. Once dissolved, coat the bottom of the cake pan with the sugar mixture. Arrange the sliced rhubarb rounded side down in the cake pan. Set aside.

3. For the cake: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the brown sugar and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar with the softened butter. This will take roughly three minutes. Once everything is fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, mixing and scraping until fully combined. Then add the vanilla extract.

4. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, almond flour, cardamom, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add 1/3 of the dry mixture to the creamed butter, followed by half of the buttermilk, pulsing and scraping to combine. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk.

5. When no dry bits remain, carefully scrape the cake batter into the cake pan on top of the rhubarb. Use an offset or rubber spatula to smooth the top and tap the cake pan on the counter several times to help the batter settle between the rhubarb.

6. Bake for 40 minutes, until set and golden brown on top. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack before carefully flipping out onto the rack to continue cooling.