Upside down rhubarb cake

Rhubarb is one of my favourite ingredients to cook/bake with. It is as simple as that. If you want to make me smile, bake me a cake with rhubarb. I do that to myself quite often but feel free to indulge me more. Once the rhubarb was discovered, no other fruit/vegetable could compete with this one. I am not talking just about me here, at one point in its history rhubarb was more expensive than other valuable herbs, like saffron, for example.

Rhubarb wasn’t one of the vegetables I grew up with. It was discovered later in my life and since then it is constantly present in my baking and cooking. There is a sour flavour I love, the texture and the colour, which are the winning attributes that keeps rhubarb on the list of top ingredients to work with. But the actual upside down cake is definitely something that was part of my childhood and something that will bring up precious memories. You see, my mum didn’t bake much and as far as I can remember my older sister was in charge of baking wonderful cakes. Except, there was one sweet that mum would always bake for us especially on lazy Sundays, reserved for long and slow family lunches – and that was the upside down cake. She used to say – “it’s easy to remember”, almost as an excuse for not being a keen baker in the house. She needn’t have said that, however, because that cake will forever remain special to me, even when I create something so different, that only has the same name. My mother used green apples for the cake and that is a wonderful combination and certainly one of those that can inspire a person to create other sweet goodies.

Rhubarb and cardamom upside down cake

100 gr wholemeal Spelt flour

50 gr white Spelt flour

50 gr almond meal

½ teaspoon aluminium free baking powder

200 gr raw sugar

3 free range eggs

150 gr unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

35o gr rhubarb

4 cardamon pods (discard pods and grind seeds in a mortar)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

Heat oven to 170C and grease and line with baking paper 8″ round baking tin.

Wash the rhubarb thoroughly and cut half of it (approximately 150 gr) into a 5-6 cm long pieces. Cut the rest into a 1 cm long pieces. Sprinkle 50 gr of sugar into a prepared baking tin, assemble 5-6 cm long pieces, top with a sprinkle of cinnamon. In a medium size bowl mix flour, almond meal, salt, cardamom and baking powder. In a different bowl mix butter, sugar and vanilla paste for 5 minutes or until butter is all fluffy. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and gently mix in smaller pieces of rhubarb.

Pour mixture over the assembled rhubarb and bake for 15 minutes on 170C and then another 30 minutes or until done on 150C. After taking out from the oven leave for 3-5 minutes in the baking tin to cool, then turn upside down on a cooling rack to cool down completely. I have tried this cake with many different toppings, mascarpone, double cream, but the truth is I like it the most as it is.

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