RHUBARB UPSIDE-DOWN BROWN SUGAR CAKE

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This unprepossessing plant.  So humble in origin.  A grow anywhere especially in back lanes plant.  This long awaited harbinger of spring type of plant.  This new darling of avant-garde young chefs.  This wonderful rhubarb is the upside-down topping on the most delicious of brown sugar cakes.

I discovered this scrumptious recipe in a new cook-book by one of my favorite cook-book authors – Doris Greenspan – “Baking Chez Moi”.    It is perfection on its own as a snacking cake or one could lavish it with whipped cream or crème fraíche.   Add a few very ripe strawberries and it would be a spectacular finish to a meal.

This is an easy recipe to put together.  You don’t use a stand mixer – just your favorite balloon whisk.    The cake stays moist and delectable for up to three days.  Simply keep it covered at room temperature.

The original recipe calls for fresh rhubarb but you can also use frozen rhubarb.  Just be sure to allow time for your frozen rhubarb to defrost and drain (gently pressing on the stalks to help remove the moisture.

 

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RHUBARB UPSIDE-DOWN BROWN SUGAR CAKE
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: Baking
Cuisine: French
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An easy and quick cake perfect for brunch or afternoon tea. It tastes even better the next day. A perfect cake for the week-end
Ingredients
  • RHUBARB TOPPING
  • About 1¼ to 1½ pounds rhubarb trimmed and rinsed
  • ¾ cup (150) sugar (1/2 cup for rhubarb, ¼ cup for caramelizing)
  • 1½ tbsp (3333/4 oz;21 grams) unsalted butter
  • FOR THE CAKE
  • 1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange(optional)
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tbsp (4 0z; 113 grams)unsalted butter,melted and cooled
  • FOR THE GLAZE (OPTIONAL)
  • left over rhubarb syrup
  • strawberry jam
Instructions
  1. RHUBARB TOPPING
  2. If your rhubarb is not young and thin peel it. Cut the stalks into 1 inch lengths and toss them with ½ cup sugar and set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the rhubarb and reserve the syrup to make the glaze.
  4. Butter a 9 inch round cake pan with sides at least 1½ high.
  5. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat then stir in the sugar.
  6. When the sugar has melted and is JUST changing colour add the rhubarb.
  7. Stir sparingly for about 3 minutes or until the sugar is slightly caramelized.
  8. Scrape the rhubarb and syrup into the cake pan and leave to cool.
  9. TO MAKE THE CAKE
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl,
  12. In a large bowl whisk the eggs and brown sugar together until thick and smooth.
  13. Whisk in the zest and vanilla.
  14. Pour in the butter in 3 additions. Whisk well.
  15. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions whisking gently.
  16. Scrape the batter into the pan over the rhubarb and put the pan onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  17. Bake the cake for about 25 minutes, rotating it after 12 minutes.
  18. Bake until it is golden brown, springy to the touch and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  19. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let rest for about 2 minutes, then run a table knife around the sides of the cake.
  20. Place the serving plate over the cake and turn the cake over onto the platter.
  21. Wait for a minute then lift off the pan.
  22. THE GLAZE (OPTIONAL)
  23. Bring the reserved rhubarb syrup to a boil then reduce to a simmer until it reduces and becomes syrupy.
  24. Add a few spoonfuls of strawberry jam and stir well.
  25. Gently spoon the glaze over the top of the cake.
  26. USING FROZEN RHUBARB
  27. Put the desired amount of frozen rhubarb into a colander and let defrost and drain over a bowl.
  28. Discard the liquid.
  29. In a large bowl gently toss the rhubarb with ½ cup of sugar.

 

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