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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

The Altitude Adjustment Section
This cake which is originally from Gourmet magazine (R.I.P.). I make it all year long because I always keep rhubarb in the freezer. Always use a cast iron pan or else getting it out of the pan is almost impossible.

Ingredients for topping
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds trimmed rhubarb

Ingredients for cake
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/4 cup milk

To Make topping:
In a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet, melt butter over moderate heat until foam subsides and reduce heat to low. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly onto bottom of skillet and heat, undisturbed, 3 minutes (not all brown sugar will be melted). Remove skillet from heat. Cut enough rhubarb crosswise into 1-inch pieces to measure 3 cups and decoratively arrange, rounded sides down, in one layer over brown sugar.
Preheat oven to 350°F.

To make Cake:
With a mortar and pestle or in an electric coffee/spice grinder, finely grind anise seeds. Into a bowl sift together anise, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy and beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low speed add flour mixture alternately in batches with buttermilk and milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating until just combined (do not overbeat). Spoon batter over rhubarb in skillet, spreading evenly (be careful not to disturb rhubarb), and bake cake in middle of oven until golden, about 45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool cake in skillet on a rack 15 minutes.

Run a thin knife around edge of skillet and invert a plate over skillet. Keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together, invert cake onto plate. Carefully remove skillet and serve cake warm or at room temperature.