A couple of years ago, I purchased a rhubarb plant. I set it temporarily by the compost pile, while I deliberated where to plant it. It was spring. It rained for a long time. Spring turned into summer. Horses, shows and other priorities prevailed. When autumn rolled around, I guiltily pushed the dried up stalk, still in its pot, to the back of the compost pile, out of sight. Finally, sometime before winter I threw the entire plant into the compost pile, on its side, still in its pot. I was fairly certain I\’d missed the successful transplanting window by a month, or season, or two.
There may be some truth to the theory that you really can\’t kill rhubarb. The following spring, as I was tidying up the compost pile, there it was, on its side, bright green leaves and red stalks pushing out from the dried plant.
This time I didn\’t miss the window, and since then we\’ve re-discovered rhubarb as one of our favourite springtime treats.
So, good, I decided to make a rhubarb upside-down cake for Wee\’s birthday. So simple. The streusel ends up on the bottom of the cake in this case, but it\’s still a beautiful thing. I have trouble with upside-down cakes flipping out intact. In this case, it\’s appropriate to cool the cake about 10 minutes and then flip it. Too long, and the rhubarb will get sticky.
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
bit of salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups (or more if desired) of cut up rhubarb, tossed in enough sugar to coat it.
1 cup sugar (in addition to the sugar used for coating the rhubarb)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons of salt
1-2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup sour cream
a bit of orange zest, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Butter a 9 or 10 inch round cake or pie pan (2-3 inches deep)
3. Spread the rhubarb and sugar mixture into the pan.
4. Make the streusel by crumbling together the ingredients.
5. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in zest and juice. Add eggs one at a time. Add flour in three batches and equal halves of the sour cream in between, beating until smooth. Your batter should be spreadable, add the second tablespoon of orange juice here if necessary.
Note: if you find yourself short of sour cream, you can substitute plain yogurt. Just let it sit in a strainer for 15 minutes mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda. This will give it the same consistency as the thicker sour cream.
6. Spread the batter over the rhubarb and top it off with the crumbled streusel.
7. Bake about 60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge, and invert onto a pretty cake plate.