If you’re after an easy cake recipe to offer family and friends as a mid-week treat, then look no further – an Upside Down Cake could just be what you need!
Not only are they undoubtedly yummy, they’re also incredibly versatile and pretty, make great use of seasonal fruit, and are incredibly easy to make and yet they are an everyday showstopper type of cake with the anticipation of discovering the final appearance of the cake once it is turned over and the tin removed. Every time I make an upside down cake, whether it’s with strawberries, raspberries, foraged bilberries, oranges or this rhubarb and ginger version, I can’t wait to reveal the cake in all its colourful and aromatic splendour.
What more can you ask from an everyday cake?
Shunning the fear of being typecast as the ‘Queen of Upside Down Cakes’, today I’m sharing with you yet another flavour combination that you could use in an Upside Down Cake (I promise it’ll be the last one for a while ?).
How does Rhubarb & Ginger Upside Down Cake grab you? It’s a flavour combination which works so well together with the slightly sharp rhubarb married against the warming nature of ginger. And, of course, with the beautiful bright pink slender stems of forced rhubarb being in season between late December and into March now is the time to make use of this wonderful fruit vegetable in this easy Rhubarb and Ginger Cake before the outdoor grown rhubarb arrives in the shops with their thicker stems, sharper flavour, and greener colour.
With just over a teaspoon of ground ginger and some finely grated root ginger added to the cake batter, and a finely chopped ball of stem ginger sprinkled over the layer of rhubarb, this Rhubarb and Ginger Cake is only lightly spiced, and yet it is still gently warming – perfect for those chilly late winter days that are forecast. The gentle warming nature of the cake doesn’t over power the rhubarb in the least, though if you fancy a more robust ginger cake why not try our Gingerbread Cake.
If you’re a fan of Instagram I’m sure you will have seen the varied array of rhubarb patterns used to decorate open pies, tarts and cakes – parquet eat your heart out! Of course you can keep the rhubarb design as simple, or intricate, as you like. Our design is relatively simple, though no less effective in our opinion, being loosely based on a ‘wheel’ (I hope you can see that with the images).
One of the many interesting facts about rhubarb is how it cooks in an upside down cake. Even though the rhubarb colour remains beautiful when baked in an open tart or double crust pie, it can easily fade, becoming washed out and very disappointing when used in an upside down cake. From what I understand from my Instagram friends (I’m definitely no chemist!), this is due to the acids in the rhubarb reacting with cake tins made from aluminium, copper and iron. To be honest I’m not sure which metal is used to form our cake tin, though I ensured it was fully lined with greaseproof paper meaning the rhubarb wasn’t in direct contact with the metal. Both Mr E & I think the rhubarb colours have held quite well, I hope you agree.
So, here’s how to make a Rhubarb and Ginger Upside Down Cake.
Rhubarb & Ginger Upside Down Cake
For the Rhubarb & Ginger Cake
- 400 g (14oz) pack forced rhubarb off cuts used in the compote, optional (see note c below)
- 1 ball stem ginger finely chopped
- 115 g (4oz) butter unsalted & softened
- 55 g (2oz) golden caster sugar
- 60 g (2oz) caster sugar
- small pinch of Salt
- 3 tsp stem ginger syrup
- 1 piece root ginger half thumb size, peeled & finely grated
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten (see notes a & b below)
- 115 g (4oz) self-raising flour
- 1.5 tsp ground ginger
- 1 - 2 tbsp milk
For the Rhubarb Compote (optional)
- rhubarb off cuts
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 ball stem ginger finely chopped
- 1/2 - 1 tbsp icing sugar
To serve (optional)
- double cream
- Preheat the oven to 180℃ / Fan 160℃ / 355℉ / Gas 4. Prepare the cake tin. Grease and fully line the cake tin with grease proof paper.
- Prepare the rhubarb & arrange in the cake tin. Remove the ends of the rhubarb & discard. Wash and dry the rhubarb. Cut the rhubarb into pieces and arrange in the bottom of the prepared cake tin. We arranged ours as a wheel with 6 longer pieces stretching from the edge to the centre of the tin, and smaller pieces of rhubarb laid adjacent to the longer lengths to fill in the triangles. Some pieces may need to be cut on an angle to ensure the whole surface is covered as much as possible. Cut the left over rhubarb into pieces about 3cm long and place into a small pan ready to make the compote (optional). Set the pan aside.
- Add the stem ginger. Scatter the finely chopped stem ginger evenly over the arranged rhubarb.
- Make the sponge batter. Place the soft butter and sugars into a good sized bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon or electric beaters until very pale and fluffy. Add the salt, stem ginger syrup and finely grated root ginger. Beat again to combine. Gradually add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition, (see note b below). Sieve the flour and ground ginger into the mixture. Use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold this in gently. Mix in a little milk until you have a nice dropping consistency.
- Fill the cake tin. Spoon the prepared batter over the arranged rhubarb and stem ginger. Spread the batter out gently to level, aiming not to disturb the fruit. Use the back of a spoon to make a slight indentation to the centre of the batter. This will help it bake level.
- Bake. Place the cake tin in the centre of the oven and bake for about 50 minutes until a cake skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. You may need to rotate the cake tin after 40 minutes of baking. Once baked, remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack.
- Turn out the cake. Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin. Invert a cooling rack on top of the cake tin. In one movement, swiftly turn the cake tin and cooling rack upside down. Remove the cake tin and greaseproof paper. The arranged rhubarb will now be the top of the cake. Allow the cake to finish cooling.
Make the rhubarb compote (optional).
- Place the off cut rhubarb into a small pan with the finely chopped stem ginger and 2 tablespoons of water. Set on the hob over a low heat. Allow the fruit to cook and break down, stirring frequently. Add half a tablespoon of icing sugar. Stir. Taste, adding a little more sugar a required. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool.
- Enjoy, served with the rhubarb compote and whipped double cream (if you like add a teaspoon of icing sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to 150ml carton double cream before whipping to make a Chantilly cream if preferred.)
- 1 x deep 16cm diameter cake tin
- electric whisk
Cook’s Tipsa) When making the cupcake batter, consider weighing the cracked eggs first to ensure the batter has equal weight of butter, sugar, flour/cocoa and eggs. Simply weigh the butter, sugar to the same weight as the eggs. Also ensure the combined weight of the flour and cocoa is the same as the eggs. Of course the value may be slightly different to the 115g listed in the ingredients above.b) Consider warming your lightly beaten eggs over a bain marie especially if they feel particularly cold. Gently warm them until they feel lukewarm. This should help prevent the batter from curdling and produce a better sponge. c) Forced rhubarb is available between late December & into March. It has a slender deep red stem and is less sharp in flavour that later season rhubarb. Forced rhubarb is grown in darkened sheds in the 'rhubarb triangle' in Yorkshire, UK, and therefore has now been granted the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status by the European Commission. Later season rhubarb could be used though the colour will be less desirable, and you may also need to add a little more sugar.
StoreIn an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 daysFreeze for up to 3 months
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