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Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
10-inch cake
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1 c
(220g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 ½ c
(300g) granulated sugar, divided
4 tbsp
crème de cassis, divided
Kosher salt
4 c
(480g) coarsely chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb, 1-inch/ 2.5cm pieces
1 ½ tsp
vanilla extract
eggs, at room temperature
1 ⅓ c
(210g) all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp
baking powder
½ c
(120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature

Where I’m from, everyone has a personal rhubarb source. Either it’s a backyard plant that came with your house or there’s one tucked away in your parents’ yard. At my home, it’s customary to snap off a stalk in late spring and drag the ends through a plate of sugar to eat crunchy and raw. It’s a pucker-y bite for those bravesouls willing to try it. Even if you do that, save a few stalks to luxuriate in the sweet embrace of this cake. The crème de cassis (black currant liqueur) gives it a pleasant kick that plays beautifully with the rhubarb. Making this cake provides a perfect excuse to share a slice over the backyard fence, maybe with someone who’s short on their own rhubarb hookup.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Generously grease a 9-inch/ 23cm springform pan, then line the bottom and sides with greased parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine 1⁄4 cup / 55g of the butter, 1⁄2 cup / 100g of the sugar, 2 Tbsp of the crème de cassis, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, just until melted.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, then arrange the rhubarb over the top and set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining 3⁄4 cup / 165g butter on medium-high speed until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute.
  5. Turn the mixer speed to low, add the remaining 1 cup / 200g sugar and the vanilla to the butter, and mix until incorporated. Then turn the speed to medium-high and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl often for even incorporation.
  6. Turn the speed to medium-low and add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined. Scrape the bowl after each addition.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and 1⁄2 tsp salt.
  8. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk and remaining 2 Tbsp crème de cassis.
  9. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing on low speed, just until combined. Add one-half of the buttermilk mixture and mix to incorporate. Repeat with another one-third flour, the remaining liquid, and then finish with the final one-third flour, scraping the bowl and paddle after each addition.
  10. Scrape the batter into the pan, covering the rhubarb, and smooth the top with a spatula. Gently tap the pan on the counter several times to release excess air bubbles. Set the pan on a baking sheet.
  11. Bake until the cake is golden and a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and undo the side of the springform. Invert onto a serving plate, allowing the base to drop with the cake, and gently peel off the base and parchment. Serve the cake slightly warm.

Reprinted from Zoe Bakes Cakes. Copyright © 2021 by Zoë François. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House

Zoe Bakes Cakes

Zoë François

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