I’m obsessed with rhubarb. Every spring, in the short eight- to ten-week window of the season, I load up on stalks of rhubarb at the market. There's something I love about those reddish pink stalks, and their refreshingly tart flavour.
I often like to roast the rhubarb with a bit of sugar and lemon juice to make a quick and easy compote, and serve it with my morning yogurt and granola. But when I came across this recipe from Saveur Magazine for a Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake, I couldn't resist with the fabulous local rhubarb at my disposal.
This cake is prepared à la tarte tatin method, in which the rhubarb is caramelized in a cast-iron pan before the batter is added and baked in the oven. At first, I was worried the cake wouldn’t turn out, as the batter was super thick and hard to spread around the pan. What I ended up with was a pretty sloppy looking cake with syrup seemingly running everywhere before it went into the oven. But I decided to let it do its thing, walked away for half an hour, and when I came back, the cake baked beautifully!
The crumb of the cake is rather dense, almost like a shortcake, with the sweet hint of vanilla. The caramelized rhubarb on top is melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the tartness counterbalances with the sweetness of the cake perfectly.
This cake is best served warm, with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Any leftover cake should be kept at room temperature to keep it soft and moist; refrigerating it will harden and dry it out. (And it's the best excuse to have cake for breakfast!)
Get the recipe for Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake from Saveur Magazine here.