Upside Down Rhubarb Lemon Cake
Now this cake is a treat! Easy to put together and sure to put an artistic hop in your step! We learned this recipe in our latest Surprise Bake Along! What’s that you ask? Pretty much the coolest baking experience…! Every month we gather on instagram live to bake together. The ingredients and equipment are revealed in advance but not the final result! It’s a great way to try something new, have fun, and pick up tons of tips along the way!
This cake was special because it’s the perfect recipe to use a scale with. I actually hadn’t baked with a scale until I went to culinary school, and let me tell you… I’m converted! None of this how packed is the brown sugar in a measuring cup, or did I spoon the flour into the cup correctly. It’s all by weight so less room for error… and often enough, a whole lot fewer dishes to wash!
I teach all of my classes using a scale as a great way to introduce people to it that might not have used one before or offering a couple of tips to those that grew up with it.
- when you turn on the scale, make sure nothing is on top as it is calibrating the weight, and that it is on a flat surface
- press “Tare” or 0 in between adding ingredients instead of weighing in lots of different bowls
- ml/g – no need to change between the units measurement when you’re weighing ml vs g – for baking purposes, it’s fine to act as if they’re the same – essentially one’s for liquids (ml) and the other for dry (g) – volume vs mass… science!
- for most recipes, as long as you are within 5g of the weight, you’re good to go, but why not make it a little game. Brownie points for nailing it! For recipes that are known to be finicky (macarons), get as close as you can just to give yourself as many helpful steps towards success as you can.
- no messy countertops.. leave your stirring utensil, beater, whatever, in the bowl when you’re adding something. Just hit “0/Tare” to start at a zero-d out weight!
So ready for the recipe?
You’re going to need the following ingredients: eggs, butter, flour, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, 3 lemons, 2-3 stalks of rhubarb (optional!). Easy Peasy.
Melt 75g of unsalted butter and 75g of brown sugar (whatever kind) a small saucepan. Keep an eye on it and just melt the butter, don’t let it brown.
Pour into an 8″ or 9″ round cake pan (without a removable bottom). Swirl to coat the bottom and spread out the sugar. Take a paper towel or brush and use some of the melted butter to coat the sides of the pan.
Cut your rhubarb and lemons in whatever design you’d like and arrange on the bottom of the cake tin on top of the melted butter. Try to press the fruit close together so that the cake doesn’t press through when it bakes. For your lemon slices, cut them about 2-3mm thick and remove any seeds.
Now for the cake!
We’ll be making a traditional pound cake or what is called a “quatre-quart” in French. The name for both comes from how you add an equal amount of each of the four ingredients – so a pound of butter, eggs, flour, and sugar. Imagine if you were doing this with cups though, a pound of flour in cups is (lets estimate) 3 cups, where as a pound of sugar is 2.. but with a scale… this is a recipe you can do at any time, by memory- yes! Just remember, equal weights of each ingredient.
Start with your eggs. For this size cake pan, 3 is a perfect amount. Place a bowl on the scale and set to zero. Crack the eggs in and write down how much they weigh. Now add this amount each of granulated sugar then, flour. Then weigh the same amount in butter. Melt it and stir it in! Add some lemon zest if you’d like (I’d suggest it!) and some vanilla, and that’s it! Delicious, easy, and you feel like a master baker.
So to put this another way… I weighed my three eggs and the weight was 160g (round to an even number). I stirred in 160g of granulated sugar, then 160g of flour. I melted 160g of unsalted butter and then whisked that in and added some lemon zest and vanilla. Ta da!
You always start with your eggs because that’s the only variable that will change just based on their size.
Pour over the rhubarb and lemon slices in the cake tin and bake at 170C/350F for about 45-50 minutes until the top springs back when you lightly press in the middle.
Let cool for 3-5 minutes. Cut around the side of the cake, then place a flat plate on top. Carefully flip! I use a dry tea towel to protect my hands from the heat. It’s a bit easier to handle and wrap around everything than oven mitts. The cake will drop, then carefully lift up.
Let cool slightly. This cake is great served warm with a scoop of ice cream, at room temp with whipped cream or cream fraiche, or… for breakfast with a spoon of plain yogurt on top- YUM!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!