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Coming up with new or unexpected desserts is always so fun — it’s like a surprise at the end of the meal that people can get excited about! Rhubarb in general is a lesser-known-about and used ingredient: technically a vegetable, but in this case, treated as a fruit. Using it in an upside down cake, where it can really be focused on, seems like a great starting point. Part of the beauty of this dessert is the presentation. Upside-down cakes really bring the drama to a meal, and this one is no different; it’s incredible to look at as well as eat. The rhubarb in this dessert is deliciously sweet and tangy, and the cake amazingly moist, so all in all it’s perfect!

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Serves 6-8


  • 1 pound rhubarb, stalks trimmed in half (or chopped)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup whole-fat, Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided; cubed and chilled
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350º and grease the sides of an 8-inch spring-form cake pan.
  2. In a large skillet or saucepan, combine rhubarb, 1 cup sugar, 4 tablespoons butter, lemon juice and zest, vanilla pod and 1/4 teaspoon salt over medium heat.
  3. Cook until sugar has dissolved completely and rhubarb is caramelized and tender (but not falling apart). 8 minutes. Liquid should be syrupy.
  4. Take a slotted spoon and remove the rhubarb from the liquid. Set aside. Continue to simmer the syrup until it’s thick. Extract vanilla pod, reserve liquid and set aside.
  5. In a bowl, sift together remaining sugar and salt, flour and baking powder.
  6. Add shortening and butter to the dry ingredients and, using your hands or a pastry cutter, mix together until course and crumbly. (Crumbs should be pebble-sized.)
  7. Add yogurt and eggs and stir until dough comes together. It’s okay if it’s soft and sticky.
  8. Arrange your rhubarb along the bottom of baking dish, red pieces on the very bottom, greener pieces on top.
  9. Carefully spoon your dough on top of the rhubarb. Smooth over with a rubber spatula. (This will be the bottom of your cake, so it should be even.)
  10. Place in oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes. Take your serving tray and lay it facedown on top of your baking dish. Carefully and quickly flip your dishes over to invert the cake.
  12. Take cooking syrup and drizzle over the rhubarb on top of your cake.

Recipe adapted from Green Kitchen Stories