Monday, May 25, 2015

Rhubarb Upside Down Brown Sugar Cake

When I was a little girl we lived in a big rambling house in a small coastal town in Nova Scotia. Lilacs made a hedge down one side of the yard and to a small girl they seemed almost as tall as the house. There was a big weeping willow tree. There was a garden in the back corner where my Mom grew vegetables, and there were raspberry bushes and a great big rhubarb patch. I am not sure if my Mom planted the rhubarb patch when we moved in or if the house came with the rhubarb patch we just left it there because my Dad adored rhubarb so it would be unthinkable to cut it down. 

I on the other hand did not like rhubarb. It was bitter, it stained your clothes, and it look suspiciously like celery. So in all the years that we lived in the house with a rhubarb bush in the backyard I never touched the stuff. 

But I am all grown up and I can see that I was wrong, plain old wrong. I had spent my youth bad-mouthing, defaming, muckracking rhubarb and I am here to say I am sorry...I was rhubarb. Do you hear that Dad...YOU WERE RIGHT AND I WAS WRONG because I now know just how awesome rhubarb is.

I think the problem is that often rhubarb does not have enough sugar mixed in with it leaving it super tart or it was too much sugar in it leaving it sickeningly sweet. But this cake hits just the right spot right in the middle of tart and sweet. 

And I am really glad that I did not wait for it too cool before I sliced a little piece off because it is amazing warm.

And because we had to marinate the rhubarb in sugar and then strain off the juice I now have a little container of beautifully pink syrup waiting to be added to a cocktail!


  1. Yummy! I love childhood memories. And what fabulous cocktails shall you whip up with the syrup?

  2. Your cake looks great. I will make mine this summer when we have rhubarb. I did not like rhubarb as a kid unless it was covered in sugar and then I basicly just ate the sugar.

  3. I thought this cake had great balance too. I realize I've never seen rhubarb actually growing before. I'm guessing it's kind of an odd plant.

  4. I've always been a fan of rhubarb but you're so right about some recipes being to sweet or too sour - this one was just right.

  5. Your rhubarb was lovely and pink! Mine was still greenish!

  6. When I was a kid, my mother grew rhubarb too, never tried it. The first time I tasted rhubarb was when we
    made a dish in Around my French Table. Hubby and I loved it and couldn't believe we never even tried
    it before. So good. Your cake looks wonderful.

  7. Almost makes me want to bake a rhubarb cake. Love the memories and your Dad did love rhubarb pie.

  8. I had never tried rhubarb before, now you are making me want to make the cake again since I didn't try it when it was still warm.

  9. Rhubarb has always been one of my favourites, but I think you nailed it when you said it needs to have a balance between tart and sweet. That describes my mother's pies and crisps perfectly. This is a cake I will make again and again.