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Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

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This cake has a crumb "topping" that actually ends up on the bottom. Each bite has a surprisingly crunchy texture.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, May 2010
Total Time Prep Servings Yield

Ingredients

For the Topping

For the Cake

Directions

Variations

On "Martha Bakes," Martha doubled the amount of crumb topping and used 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice instead of orange zest and juice in the cake.

Cook's Notes

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. The rhubarb will be too hot to handle safely right after baking. But if the cake sits much longer, it may stick.

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Reviews

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How would you rate this recipe?
493
  • ALR5163919DW
    4 JUN, 2017
    VERY good, but definitely too much for a 9" round pan. I made it in an 8"x8" square pan because it was the only pan I had with 2" sides (and and 8x8 square is slightly larger than a 9" round). The batter was right even at the top of the pan before it went into the oven. The good news is that the thicker batter didn't rise and run over too much, but it did run over a bit. Next time I'll try a 9"x9" square or a 10" round so that there will be more room for this cake to rise. It also took an hour 15 to bake, but that may be been because of the pan size being too small. :-( But the flavor great. A definitely do-again.
    Reply
  • MS10073381
    15 MAY, 2017
    This eventually turned out amazing! I love the crunchy bottom and the rhubarb was just the perfect sweet-tart level, and the essence of orange in the cake was divine! But I had some challenges in the execution. The pan size is critical. I used a slightly shorter pan than called for and tried to compensate with an aluminum foil sleeve placed inside the pan that stood up about 4 inches total. While the cake rise was perfect with the sleeve, the rhubarb juice eventually overflowed (as others have noted). Thankfully, I caught it just before I had a mess, and was able to put a baking sheet under it for the rest of the cooking time. I baked it for an hour and 10 minutes (probably because of the cold baking sheet cooling it down) and it could have used 5 minutes more. It was just a tiny bit underdone under the rhubarb, but not so raw that it was inedible. And even after resting 10 minutes, there was still quite a bit of liquid in the pan, so I made sure to put a baking sheet under the cooling rack for it to drain onto when I tipped it out. The cake came out of the pan just fine, just a few small pieces of rhubarb stuck, so I just reattached them to the cake. Regarding the earlier comment about the melted butter in the crumb topping making it sort of sticky and liquid-y: initially my mixture also didn't have a crumbly texture, but since you do it first and let it sit, by the time I was going to top the cake with it, I took a fork to it again, and it broke up into perfect crumbs. And regarding other comments about using a spring form pan--unless you are absolutely certain that your pan is water-tight, do not attempt it! If it is the only pan you have and you are not sure, I would suggest lining the inside of the pan all the way to the top with aluminum foil. The rhubarb really has the potential to generate a lot of liquid!!
    Reply
  • ratliffsandi1125
    30 APR, 2017
    Sounds great!
    Reply
  • MS10585219
    2 MAY, 2016
    Just made this cake today, totally awesome. Crunchy on the bottom and nice and tasty on top with a soft yummy cake middle. Followed the recipe as written, did not have enough rhubarb in my garden, it is just starting so I made up the missing half with well drained canned crushed pineapple in it's own juice. Perfect. We enjoyed the taste, one of my favorite pies to make is pineapple rhubarb so I went with what I know. Very tasty will make it again. Thanks Martha!
    Reply
  • The5thBeatle
    18 JUL, 2015
    The recipe reads "melted butter" in the crumb topping ingredients. It should be "softened" butter. Having never made the recipe before, I thought I should follow it as written. The crumb topping turned liquid, thanks to the melted butter. Thanks for nothing, Martha.
    Reply
  • srnhrrs
    29 MAY, 2014
    Use a 9" springform pan! I would have never gotten my cake to invert out of the pan if I hadn't. Also, the larger capacity of a springform pan is better suited to this cake.
    Reply
    • eah386
      18 MAY, 2015
      Using a springform pan was a BIG mistake for me. The rhubarb juice ran out of the pan and onto the bottom of the oven, burning and making a lot of smoke. I tried putting it on a baking sheet, and the juice still burnt to the pan and created a lot of smoke. If you have a regular 9 inch pan, try that first. My cake was a big disappointment in the springform pan.
      • MS11608326
        31 OCT, 2015
        I used a springform pan at first and the same thing happened to me. Big mistake! The juice leaked out of the pan onto the bottom of the oven creating lots of smoke. The smoke detectors went off, and I had a big mess to clean up. I did manage to save the cake by freezing what was left in the springform pan, then transferring to a regular cake pan and finish baking. I will try this again from the beginning using a regular cake pan!
      • Heatherette T
        28 MAY, 2015
        You may need a new pan. That's what was happening when mine got old and loose.
      • Lady Frog
        21 MAY, 2015
        The same thing happened to me but I can't blame it on a springform pan because I followed the directions exactly and used a cake pan. In spite of the tall sides, with 20 minutes left to bake, the juice came up over the sides and burned all over the bottom of the oven. The cake smells good but it looks like a school science project. Might this have been caused by extra-juicy rhubarb? Mine was fresh cut, right out of the field. Gotta go turn off the smoke alarm ...
  • Katies Passion Kitchen
    5 MAY, 2014
    Excellent recipe. Cake turned out beautifully. I plan to bake a few more before the rhubarb season ends. May try with a bit less sugar tossed with the rhubarb (?). The crumb "crust" on the bottom stayed crunchy, crisp and buttery. The fruit top was sweet and moist and the middle of the cake had a dense and moist texture. I used about 5 large rhubarb stalks, weighing in at 1 lb. after being trimmed and cut. It was exactly the right amount for the 9" pan (in case you're winging it without a scale)
    Reply
  • RebaZ
    7 JUN, 2013
    This cake was a hit in our house! Like others, I replaced the orange juice with lemon juice and omitted the zest. I used more rhubard than I probably should have, so it needed to cook an extra ten minutes. Came out perfect! One other thing I tweaked was to add about a Tbs of cherry jello to the rhubard/sugar to get a nice pink color. My rhubard is mostly green and this did the trick. Perfect presentation. Yes, the cake is heavy. Don't be surprised. It has a hint of cheesecake flavor to me.
    Reply
  • Jurate M
    1 JUN, 2013
    I love rhubarb and all kinds of dishes from them. I have baked this fantastic cake and I'm really happy - my choice was excellent! This is a very special seasonal and surely piquant cake. Thank you, Martha, very much, my "Rhubarb pies collection" already has one more wonderful recipe!!! :)
    Reply
  • Cindy Pumphrey
    29 APR, 2013
    This is one of my all time favorite recipes, I make it every year, sometimes more than once during rhubarb season. I usually make it in a larger square pan as it makes a lot and I usually use more rhubarb and cut it in thick chunks, great with fresh whipped cream, yum!
    Reply

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