The Accidental Locavore: Recipe for Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Accidental Locavore Rhubarb Upside-Down CakeRecently the Accidental Locavore has had upside-down cake on her mind. At a new favorite lunch spot (only because we haven’t had dinner there yet), Another Fork in the Road, my friend Betty and I happily split an apricot blueberry upside-down cake over the weekend. That was the impetus the Locavore needed to make this rhubarb-blueberry upside-down cake. Blueberries optional. Serves 6 and loosely adapted from the James Beard Foundation.

For the rhubarb:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar (packed, I used dark brown which was ok here, but probably should have been light brown for the batter)
  • 2 medium stalks rhubarb, washed and chopped into 1/4″ dice
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1  large egg (helps if it’s at room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 plus 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Greek style full fat yogurt or sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar, stirring until smooth. Pour the mixture evenly into a well-buttered 8″ square pan. Toss the rhubarb and blueberries with the white sugar. Sprinkle over brown sugar and butter mix in pan.

To make the cake batter, cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and ginger powder. Mix the dry ingredients and sour cream into the butter mixture in alternating additions until fully incorporated.

Pour the cake batter on top of the rhubarb in the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in a cake’s center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Carefully run a paring knife around the cake, then unmold onto cake plate. Serve (with vanilla ice cream) and enjoy.

Rating: 3.5 stars.

The Accidental Locavore is not a big baker, mostly because you can’t take as many liberties as you can when you’re cooking savory food. That being said, this is a pretty forgiving cake. I used yogurt as there was no sour cream and it came out fine, moist and flavorful. If you don’t bake much, check the expiration date on your baking powder (baking soda too), it matters! This would have rated higher with me if the cake had been a little thicker, possibly a smaller pan would have taken care of that. The next time I make this, I’m going to use light brown sugar at least for the batter as the dark brown sugar was a little intense. I’ll definitely make it again, experimenting with other seasonal fruit, and maybe even with that old stand-by, pineapple… although I might grill the pineapple before I use it in the cake. What do you think?



1 thought on “The Accidental Locavore: Recipe for Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake”

  1. Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
    Wow what a great way to get in those antioxidants!
    1.One study shows that by mildly steaming blueberries, the antioxidant level was enhanced, making more antioxidants available to the body. WebMD
    (surely baking enhancing the antioxidant level even more)
    2.Rhubarb’s unsung virtue lies in its red color, which denotes the presence of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are flavonoids with antioxidant free radical scavenging activity. These phytochemical micronutrients may protect the heart, lungs and blood vessels./

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