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Martha's Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

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Martha's Rhubarb Upside Down Cake is a sweet, tart and a delightfully spongy cake. What starts out as a streusel topping becomes the crumbly bottom with a stunning mosaic rhubarb top! Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and a cup of hot coffee.
Course Desserts & Sweet Treats
Cuisine American
Keyword baking, cake, dessert, rhubarb, spring, upside down cake
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Servings 12 servings
Calories 380
Author Laurie McNamara



  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 1 pound rhubarb trimmed and cut on a very sharp diagonal about 1/2 inch thick
  • 3/4 cup sugar


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter divided, at room temperature, plus more for buttering pan
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract freshly squeezed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream


Make the Crumble Topping:

  • Start by stirring together melted butter, flour, sugar, and salt until moist and crumbly, then set aside.


  • Toss prepared rhubarb with sugar; let stand tossing occasionally.

Make the Cake:

  • Spray (or butter) a 9-inch round cake pan (that is at least 2-inches deep) with nonstick spray then dot with a half stick of butter that has been cut into pieces.
  • Toss the rhubarb again, and place rhubarb on its side in a mosaic like pattern, using the butter to hold it up. Use the small pieces of rhubarb to fill in the gaps. Spoon a little (not all) of the rhubarb sugar over top. However this step is optional.
  • Preheat oven to 350 °.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and kosher salt.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat remaining stick of butter and sugar in your mixer on medium speed until light in color and fluffy.
  • Add in the orange zest, orange juice and the vanilla extract .
  • Crack in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl in between.
  • Alternate adding in the 1/3 of the flour mixture with 1/3 of the sour cream and repeat, mixing until smooth.
  • Spread the cake batter over the rhubarb, then sprinkle with the crumble topping evenly over batter.
  • Place the cake on a foil-lined sheet pan (to catch any spill over) and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and top springs back when touched.
  • Allow the cake to cool 10 minutes before running a knife around edge of the cake, and inverting it onto your favorite platter or cake stand.
  • Let cool completely before serving with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 399mg | Potassium: 173mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 678IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 1mg