Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake – a cake and a dessert!

This Rhubarb Cake consists of a layer of sweet-sharp rhubarb on top of a light, buttery sponge. It is extremely easy to make and can be used as either a cake or a dessert.

I make a lot of Upside Down Cakes – they are really versatile and can be used as puddings or are great mid-morning with a cup of coffee or with afternoon tea!  I usually use them a lot as puddings as they are very quick and easy to do and are fantastic, served with cream or ice-cream, at the end of a meal.   Rhubarb Upside Down Cake tends to go down well with those who have past form as rhubarb-haters (such as my eldest son) as the topping is effectively a jam and so is less astringent than in some other dishes and therefore more palatable.

In praise of rhubarb

In the past, I have been a bit ambivalent about rhubarb.  On the one hand, I liked its sharp/sweet flavour but I also had a lot of unfortunate memories from my school days of pink mush shrouded in lumpy custard… 

The turning point in my relationship with rhubarb was when we moved into our current house a few years ago and found a huge rhubarb plant in the middle of one of the flower beds.  Over several years, I did my best to kill it and, when this failed, to move it, as I wanted to plant pretty flowers!   It resisted all my attempts at destruction and, in the end, in a spirit of defeat, I decided to start trying to use it and looked for tasty recipes.   I am now quite pleased that I failed to get rid of it, although it still looks a bit odd in the middle of the flower bed, and have adapted a lot of my favourite recipes, including the one for Upside Down Cake, to include rhubarb.

Other rhubarb recipes

I love rhubarb and have lots of other rhubarb recipes. It makes a great jamcompote or fruit curd. It is also great in a crumble. Rhubarb is also good in many home-baking recipes such as Rhubarb Crumble CakeRhubarb Bread and Butter PuddingRhubarb Victoria Sandwich Cake and Rhubarb Roulade. It also makes a good basis for cold desserts such as Rhubarb Curd and Rose Ice Cream or Rhubarb Fool. You can also use it to make Rhubarb Cordial and a pretty good Rhubarb Gin liqueur!

Other baking recipes

I love home-baking and make a lot of easy, traditional cakes, biscuits (cookies) and desserts.

Recipe for Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

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Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Cuisine: English


Rhubarb Upside Down Cake can be served as a cake with morning coffee or afternoon tea or as a desssert with cream or ice cream.



For the rhubarb topping:

  • 300 g (10 oz) rhubarb
  • 180 g (6 oz)  caster sugar
  • 50 g  (2 oz) butter

For the cake:

  • 125 g (5 oz) butter
  • 125 g (5 oz) caster sugar
  • 125 g (5 oz) self-raising flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4.
  2. Wash the rhubarb stalks thoroughly.  Cut into small pieces of around 1 cm.
  3. Put the rhubarb pieces, 180 g (6 oz) caster sugar and 50 g (2 oz) butter into your tarte-tatin dish or frying pan and put on a low heat for around 15 minutes.   The rhubarb will soften and, initially release a lot of moisture, but by the end of the time the mixture should be syrupy and jam-like in consistency.   Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
  4. Make the cake batter by creaming together the 125 g (5 oz) butter with the 125 g (5 oz) sugar.   Add the eggs gradually to ensure the mixture does not curdle.  Then add the 125 g (5 oz) self-raising flour followed by the 1 tablespoon of milk.
  5. Spoon the cake batter on top of the syrupy mixture in your tarte-tatin dish or frying pan.
  6. Put the dish into the oven for around 30 minutes.   At the end of this time, the cake should be light brown and springy to the touch.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for around 5 minutes.   Then, put a plate over the pan, turn it upside down and remove the pan so that the cake is on the plate rhubarb-side upwards.   Don’t leave it any longer than this or it will be hard to turn it out as the jammy mixture will solidify as it cools and glue the cake to the pan!
  8. You can either serve immediately when it is warm or leave to cool to room temperature.


You will need a cast iron tarte-tatin dish or a cast iron frying pan which can be used on the hob and also can be put in the oven.

Keywords: rhubarb cake


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