29 May 2008

Butter and Sugar and Fruit, Oh My

One of the best flavors going is that butterscotchy melding of butter and brown sugar. I love butterscotch, I love caramel, I love toffee. And I love what happens when you add fruit to the mix. A tarte tatin is basically apples in butter/brown sugar, baked under a pastry crust. And upside-down cakes are fruit in butter/brown sugar, baked under a blanket of cake. In either case, you flip the thing over and end up with delectable gooey fruit on top of baked perfection.

It's rhubarb season; I made a rhubarb upside down cake last weekend. It's an easy cake, and adaptable. The recipe came from epicurious - I fiddled with it, changing the spices, using yogurt in place of buttermilk. [Small buttermilk rant: why does it only come in quarts? I only ever want a half cup at a time, and then all the rest goes bad. Hence, the use of yogurt herein.] And I had the time to make a fussy basketweave pattern with the cut rhubarb, but it would have been fine in a tight single messy layer instead.

Ice cream or whipped cream would be nice, but not necessary. And if there are leftovers, it makes a perfect breakfast.



Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Topping
½ stick (¼ cup) butter
¾ cup brown sugar
3 cups rhubarb, cut in 1” pieces

Cake
½ teaspoon cinnamon and/or ground ginger
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 stick (½ cup) butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
½ t. vanilla
2 large eggs
½ cup yogurt
¼ cup milk

Topping: Melt butter in a well-seasoned 9 or 10” cast-iron skillet. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over bottom of skillet and heat, undisturbed, 3 minutes. Don’t worry if it’s not all melted. Remove skillet from heat. Arrange rhubarb (rounded sides down) in one layer over brown sugar. A basketweave pattern is pretty.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cake: Mix cinnamon/ginger, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Stir milk into yogurt to thin it out. Beat butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs and beat well. With mixer on low speed add flour mixture alternately in batches with yogurt/milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating until just combined (do not overbeat). Spoon batter over rhubarb in skillet, spreading as well as you can without disturbing the rhubarb, and bake until golden, about 45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Cool cake in skillet on a rack 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the skillet and invert a plate over skillet. Keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together, invert cake onto plate. Carefully remove skillet and serve warm or at room temperature.

25 comments:

slouching mom said...

You might want to put a warning on this post -- DO NOT READ IF HUNGRY.

Mmm...

womaninawindow said...

Sounds yummy...a note on the buttermilk thing, (I know what you mean) my mom told me once to opt in milk with a teaspoon of flour...just let it sit a minute...has worked for me every time so far 'cause I refuse to waste the extra buttermilk (and I'm cheap)

Sober Briquette said...

We make homemade pancakes every Sunday, so we use up the quart of buttermilk in two weeks. Anyway...

Just the thought of butter and brown sugar makes my salivary glands seize up. Ouch.

I've had rhubarb cake on my mind for days. I have a recipe for one with a crumb topping, but this looks amazing.

painted maypole said...

oh that looks so tasty!

Waiting Amy said...

I think another option for the buttermilk thing is to add lemon juice to regular milk (but I forget the ratio). OR you can also freezer aliquots of the buttermilk to use later. I did this, but still don't use buttermilk enough to make it worth buying!

Mama Zen said...

That looks divine!

Minnesota Matron said...

We live in a rhubarb FARM, we have that much! I have printed this post-- thank you. (but because I burn things and am terrible with Heat, my husband will do the baking).

Nadine said...

YummY! You just made me hungry...not that I need to eat again, but I will!

I go the milk with lemon juice route to replace buttermilk. There is no real ratio...just tip bottle and pour (probably no less than a TBLSP into a cup of milk) and let sit for a few minutes. Voila! A little lemon juice never hurt any baked good!

Kirsetin said...

Thank you! Our cottage has a HUGE rhubarb plant & I was just thinking that I needed a couple of good recipes. What a great start - I'll try it this weekend.

alejna said...

Wow, that sounds and looks great. I don't think I've ever tried anything like it.

flutter said...

oh that would SO put me in a coma. Yum.

Julie McCoy said...

This would have been perfect with my homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Too bad I can't mail that to you....

niobe said...

One of the members of my household would be absolutely horrified at the suggestion of cake for breakfast. ("Mom, you do realize that dessert is not a meal, don't you?")

LAS said...

This sounds and looks absoulutely yummy! Too bad I don't have the motivation to make it. I love rhubarb. We grew it in the backyard when I was a kid. I love it!!

Mental P Mama said...

Man, today is a rough day to be trying to be good;0 That looks awesome.

Victoria said...

Not nice of you to make it look so darn yummy and sound so darn easy.

=)

Angeline said...

Golden brown! What could look more tasty than that!

Janet said...

Our garden rhubarb is up and plentiful. I made coffee cake with it last week. Will have to try the upside down cake on the next harvest.

Rima said...

You could make buttermilk pancakes OR a personal favorite Lithuanian recipe of mine - cold beet soup, in which the secondary ingredient is buttermilk.

But I would take that rhubarb concoction of yours over those options any day of the week. Yum.

daysgoby said...

Oh WOW does that sound good!

Janet said...

I saw that recipe, too, and looked for rhubarb at the store today...didn't find any!

KC said...

I feel weak. Somebody feed me that.

Julia said...

Again-- sugar high just from reading. You are officially dangerous.

Life As I Know It said...

Oh, that looks so good!

Bon said...

okay, i made it. and have already eaten nearly half. it is amazing, like i've suddenly become somebody's cute little baking-wild grandma.

of course, i feel vaguely ill just from being overstuffed...