It’s the sort of thing I was trying to keep myself from doing, but being the Type A that I am, I couldn’t stop myself from baking a birthday cake for me! I promise you, but mostly myself, that I tried really hard to delegate this task to my Mum and might have even bragged to friends about year 31 finally being the year I learn to let go, but… my chronicles here tell another story.
And these fresh rhubarb stalks seem to have triggered it all! 18 months since last spotted by moi in the city, I’d built up a stash of recipes to use them in, but couldn’t spot rhubarb anywhere. So when I finally found them tucked away in a corner at the grocery store, I knew I had to use them in a recipe that allowed them their moment in the spotlight. Lots of recipes call for rhubarb to be paired with other fruits, and they’re really great combinations, but most people around me didn’t know what rhubarb tasted like on its own. Hmm… reason enough for Ms. Type A to take charge and fix this, I reckon.
Don’t let the caster sugar-dunked rhubarb alarm you, because, on its own rhubarb leans towards the sour side on the taste scale, we just need the sugar to balance things out. I was also very intrigued to know that rhubarb is actually classified as a vegetable but used mostly in desserts. It’s sort of the reverse of tomatoes. As you can tell, rhubarb wasn’t just the star of my birthday cake, but also a bit of a conversation starter! BUT, and this is really important, you need to trim them really well and get rid of the leaves completely because they can kill you. Yes, that’s right; we’re living on the wild side with this one.
Icing, frosting or even ganache always seem to go hand-in-hand with birthday cakes, and I’ve devoured them over the years. But I chose to stay away from all of that for my birthday cake this year because this Rhubarb Upside- Down Cake seems to stand for everything in the year gone by for me – complexity (of technique), depth (of flavour) and a hint of the exotic! And when a cake can sum up, ‘to the t’, the year you’ve had, you just have to bake it yourself, right?
Recipe adapted from ‘Martha Stewart’s CAKES’
Serves 8 to 10.
Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
It’s the sort of thing I was trying to keep myself from doing, but being the Type A that I am, I couldn’t stop myself from baking a birthday cake for me! I promise you, but mostly myself, that I tried really hard to delegate this task to my Mum and might have even bragged to friends about year 31 fi
For the Streusel - In a medium-sized bowl, make the streusel by stirring together the butter, flour, sugar & salt until moist and crumbly in texture.
For the Rhubarb- Grease a 9-inch round spring form cake pan on the sides. Line the bottom with parchment paper & dot it with the cubed unsalted butter. Use a large bowl to toss the rhubarb with sugar that has been set aside for it. Let it stand for 2 minutes & then toss it together again. Spread the rhubarb out on the bottom of the cake pan that has been lined with the cubed butter. Sprinkle the remnants of the caster sugar used to toss with rhubarb over the rhubarb in the cake pan.
For the Cake –
In a medium –sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder & salt.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together butter & sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the zest & juice. Add the eggs, one at a time, beat together until incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of the yogurt. Be careful not to overmix.
Pour the cake batter over the rhubarb-lined cake pan. Crumble the streusel over the cake batter.
Bake for about 40 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few crumbs (not raw) attached. Transfer the cake pan on to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes (and no longer). Invert the cake & loosen the sides of the pan & then gently lift-off the top & the parchment paper.