Spring! It’s here! It’s finally here! And I couldn’t be more happy to see it. For those who live in other parts of the world, you might not realize how miserable and cold this past NY winter has been, but it was a rough one. Cold, grey, so very, very long.
Spring isn’t just lovely because the weather gets warmer, though. It brings with it a whole new, wonderful crop of spring fruits, veggies, and roots to spur creativity in the kitchen. And who could resist some gorgeous red rhubarb?
Rhubarb is a little bitter by itself, which is why you often see it paired with seasonally sweet strawberries in recipes. This upside down cake creates a syrupy mixture to combat the rhubarb’s taste and bring out its sweetness. The cake itself is light and airy and makes a perfectly gooey springtime treat.
rhubarb upside-down cake
makes 8 servings
¾ pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1 ½” pieces
1 ½ cups sugar
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus 6 tbsp. cut into ½” cubes and chilled
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup vegetable shortening
⅓ cup milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat a 9-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup on the sugar, 4 tablespoons butter, the lemon juice, vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine and cook until the rhubarb is tender, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining sugar, salt, flour and baking soda to remove any lumps. Add the cubed butter and the shortening to the bowl in dollops. Use your hands to combine everything until well-combined and the dough forms pea-size balls. Add the milk and eggs. Stir until a consistent, sticky dough forms. Add the dough to the skillet in dollops and use a spatula to gently spread to cover the rhubarb mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Place a large plate or platter over the skillet and flip to remove the cake. Let cool completely before serving.