Rhubarb-Orange Upside-Down Cake

Melted butter, brown sugar and rhubarb in 10″ cast iron skillet

In honor of Formula 1 Monaco today, I baked the third different rhubarb cake of the season, gratitude redounding to my niece for a link to someone else’s recipe for a cranberry upside-down cake*. After all, it’s often someone else’s recipe that gets adapted to palate preference or due to an ingredient gone missing from the pantry.

Warm slice with lots of goody on it

Earlier in the month, I referred to today’s cake when making the Spring Rhubarb Cake** with its matching ice cream, so it seems fitting that the upside-down version is the one to make with the last of my garden rhubarb. (Fortunately, others in the hood have a sufficient supply for upcoming goodies.)

Shot outside to show those red gems of caramelized rhubarb

The original recipe calls for cranberries, but the author mentioned use of other fruits including rhubarb and the usual, pineapple. I used 2 cups of chopped fruit rather than 10 ounces because 10 oz. wasn’t enough for every bite to have rhubarb. It called for spelt in equal proportion to unbleached all-purpose flour. I used Bluebird Grain Farms organic pasayten hard white (whole grain) flour instead. The recipe calls for 1/2 c. buttermilk and 1/4 c. milk. I used 1/4 c. fresh orange juice and 1/2 c. milk. It sours the milk and provides flavor.

It’s not easy to flip a 10″ hot cast-iron skillet filled with cake and fruit onto a pretty plate. It’s heavy. It’s awkward. It’s the price paid to see the upside-down caramelized fruit, scoop out the bits which stick to the skillet and spread them into crevices.

Shot today in another secret garden

It’s delicious. As far as upside-down cakes go, I like this one better than pineapple for two reasons. First reason:  fresh fruit rather than canned. Second reason: more goody than one gets with a can of drained pineapple. Look at the density of the caramelized rhubarb atop the cake. It meets my “every bite” standard. I don’t recommend ice cream or whip with this cake. It stands well on its own.



Hint: Next time I will decline the cast iron, double the recipe and put it in a glass baking dish with handle rims and have a tea party.

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