Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

I wanted to expand my rhubarb horizons this year.  I’m not going to say that I exhausted my rhubarb pie repertoire (it is something I will never tire of), but you guys know I like a challenge and maybe even some weird stuff (this is not weird and is not as challenging as it looks).

Rhubarb lattices have fascinated me for awhile – I love them woven into pie lattices, I love them as pure lattices and I love them as toppings for custardy tarts.  When I started pondering rhubarb cakes, I put two and two together and decided that I would give the cake a lattice top.

This is a classic upside down cake so there’s no real disclaimer for the cake or batter technique, but here are the top tips for your first rhubarb lattice:

  1. Arrange it on parchment paper.  It makes the transport so much easier.
  2. Choose super pink rhubarb so the colour shows through and it doesn’t blend into the cake
  3. Peel your strips thin, but not TOO thin.  If they’re too thick, they’ll be near impossible to peel back while assembling the lattice and if they’re too thin, they’ll basically melt into the cake (see pictures below for thickness reference)
  4. Make more strips than you need. Practice makes perfect.
  5. Just relax and enjoy the ride, slow and steady wins the race.

I believe in you all – let me know if you give the rhubarb lattice a go!

Ingredients

  • 4 large pink stalks of rhubarb, peeled into thin strips
  • 1 cup, plus 3 tbsp salted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • Seeds of one vanilla bean
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup Greek Yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Steps

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9 inch cake pan, pie pan or cast iron skillet.

On a piece of parchment paper, arrange half your rhubarb strips vertically, so all the strips are touching.

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Peel alternating strips up and place a new rhubarb strip horizontally through the middle, placing the upward facing strips back down over it, as if you are creating a pie lattice.  Repeat with alternating vertical strips, until the rhubarb lattice is complete.  Set aside.

Melt 3 tbsp butter over low heat and stir in brown sugar, lemon juice and vanilla bean seeds.  Stir over heat until sugar dissolves and pour into prepared pan, spreading evenly into a thin layer (you don’t need to use all the syrup).

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Stir almond meal, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.  Beat butter and sugar together until combined, then add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.  Beat in yogurt and vanilla.  Fold in dry ingredients until just incorporated, careful not to overmix.

To place the rhubarb lattice, carefully flip the parchment paper with the lattice into the syrup layer of the prepared pan (the paper will be facing you).  Peel away the paper and adjust the lattice as needed, then gently pressing with your palm to fit into the pan.

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Pour batter on top of the lattice, smooth the top and trim any rhubarb edges sticking out. Place the cake on a baking sheet (in case of any drippings) and bake for about 45 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, slide a knife carefully around the edges, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool before serving.

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