Rhubarb Upside Down Cake – A moist sponge made with fresh seasonal rhubarb and a gluten free strawberry and almond sponge. A perfect cake to serve with tea or as a dessert served with custard, cream, or ice cream. Optional Dairy Free.
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Rhubarb Upside Down Cake for the rhubarb lovers amongst us
Rhubarb Upside Down Cake is beautiful to look at and (I think) delicious to eat. But are you a rhubarb lover or hater? It seems the nation is split… although this may be by age as much as taste-buds. As a child I was a hater, but maturity has brought a love of the pink stuff. So much so, that we even bought a rhubarb plant for the garden… Now I wait every year with anticipation for the tangy red and green stems to appear, ready to fill my kitchen with fruitiness.
Okay… I’ll be honest… Having completely water-logged and killed a much coveted garden rhubarb a few years back, we replaced it with a new one (which we put in a more favourable part of the garden). We are however, now being repaid with more rhubarb sticks than we can ever hope to eat. Which of course leaves us with a challenge… To source, invent and experiment with as many rhubarb recipes as we can. Seriously, if you fall into the ‘love rhubarb’ camp, consider growing your own (if you don’t already). It is the plant that keeps on giving… All summer…
This Rhubarb Upside Down Cake is one of the many fruits of its labour…
Why Upside Down Cake is Perfect for Rhubarb…
Rhubarb is a perfect fruit for upside down cake, not least because it consumes plenty of sticks in one hit. Better still, because it is upside down, you get to enjoy looking at the beautiful rhubarb hues and textures with every mouthful. The more pink the rhubarb, the better the effect, so be sure to arrange it pink side down in the bottom of the cake tin before baking.
Of course we can’t ignore the flavour… The amazing fruity tartness that Rhubarb brings, pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the sponge… Delicious with a drizzle of cream or a slathering of custard.
But this is no ordinary rhubarb upside down cake. This is a gluten free rhubarb upside down cake, made with a delicious strawberry and almond sponge incorporating real freeze dried strawberry powder and a healthy ratio of ground almonds… It makes for a perfect dessert sponge… Slightly dense, but moist.
Why I use Ground Almonds in gluten free bakes
I love using ground almonds in gluten free bakes. Firstly, they add moisture and texture. But they also add structure, lessening the potential crumbliness and dryness so familiar (and frustrating) to the gluten free cake-loving community. Let’s face it… there is nothing more frustrating than picking up a delicious looking slice of cake, only to find it has crumbled before reaching the mouth.
Another up-side of ground almonds is that they also add nutritional value. While they may be considered a ‘high fat’ ingredient, the great news is that most of the fat is monounsaturated, which has heart-protecting properties. And they are also a great source of protein, vitamin E, manganese and magnesium. Sure, I’m throwing them into a sweet treat, but every little helps. If I am going to use valuable calories enjoying cake, I figure I might as well ensure it has some nutritional value too.
Rhubarb Upside Down Cake with Freeze-Dried Strawberry – A Perfect Pairing
My rhubarb upside down cake is also flavoured with ground freeze-dried strawberry powder. This gives it an extra-fruity punch.
In recent years, strawberry & rhubarb have become an increasingly popular combo. If you have ever tasted the two together, you will know why. If you haven’t… give it a go. Strawberry sweetness mingling with rhubarb tanginess combine into fruity nirvana. At Gluten Free Alchemist, we exploit the pairing to the full, with everything from Rhubarb & Strawberry Crumble Slices and Rhubarb-Strawberry Meringue Pie, to Rhubarb-Strawberry Sauce. We’ve even used the double-act in jams. Check out our Rhubarb, Strawberry & Cointreau Jam and Strawberry, Rhubarb & Pomegranate Jam.
But what’s so good about Freeze-Dried Fruit?
Why use freeze-dried strawberries for rhubarb upside down cake? Quite simply, because it’s amazing! It adds an intensity of strawberry flavour which can be combined into the sponge without making it too wet and allows the base to remain rhubarb-beautiful without visual adulteration.
I love freeze-dried fruit! From the moment I discovered it, I have been a fan. It is the perfect natural powdered ingredient for cakes and biscuits. The flavours of the fruit are definitely intensified when it has been through the freeze-drying process. And depending on the fruit you are using, it can add the most beautiful natural colour to your cakes and cookies.
Even better… Studies show that the process of freeze-drying the fruit locks in nearly all the amazing vitamins and minerals, meaning that you still get all the benefits.
How to Buy Freeze-Dried Fruit
If you regularly use freeze-dried fruit, it is definitely worth buying in larger quantities. It can be bought either as ready-ground powder or as freeze-dried whole fruit to grind yourself at home. The tiny pots that you can buy in major supermarkets are way over-priced and simply won’t stretch to large-scale baking.
I always buy mine on-line from Healthy Supplies who have the most amazing range… from berries and cherries through to banana, blackcurrants and mandarin. If you buy the whole fruits, it also makes a fantastically healthy snack, especially for little ones.
Love Rhubarb, but don’t fancy making gluten free Rhubarb Upside Down Cake?
Still in need of some seasonal rhubarb inspiration but don’t fancy gluten free rhubarb upside down cake? Here’s a list of loads of other favourite rhubarb recipes from the blogger community… They are all free from gluten and some are also free from dairy, eggs, nuts and other things too. I have also included a selection of other rhubarb treats from Gluten Free Alchemist :
- Rhubarb Curd – Gluten Free Alchemist
- Strawberry, Rhubarb & Pomegranate Jam – Gluten Free Alchemist
- Rhubarb & Strawberry Crumble Slices – Gluten Free Alchemist
- Rhubarb-Strawberry Meringue Pie – Gluten Free Alchemist
- Champagne Syllabub with Orange-Rhubarb Compote from Choclette at Tin & Thyme
- Rhubarb & Ginger Crumble Bars (vegan) from Nathalie at Intolerant Gourmand
- Rhubarb and Custard Layer Cakes – Gluten Free Alchemist
- Vegan Rhubarb & Ginger Chutney from Tin & Thyme
- Rhubarb–Ginger Crumble Cake from Rebecca at Glutarama (egg-free and optional vegan)
- Rhubarb Friands with White Chocolate from Tin & Thyme
- Oven-Baked Rhubarb & Strawberry Risotto (vegan) from Mandy at Sneaky Veg
- No Churn Rhubarb Ice Cream – Gluten Free Alchemist
- Rhubarb & White Chocolate Eclairs – Gluten Free Alchemist
Made Gluten Free Rhubarb Upside Down Cake?
I’d love to hear from you if you make my gluten free Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. It makes my day when I know that people are enjoying my recipes… Contact me or tag on social media to let me know. If you have any other queries, just shout! And don’t forget to leave a comment below to let me know what you think.
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Rhubarb Upside Down Cake with Strawberry & Almond Sponge
- sharp vegetable knife
- serving plate
- 250 g fresh rhubarb approx weight (sliced lengthways)
- 80 g soft light brown sugar
- 160 g plain gluten free flour I use Gluten Free Alchemist blend A – See NOTES
- 150 g ground almonds (almond meal)
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp GF baking powder
- 1 tsp xanthan gum leave out if you use a commercial mix that has it already added
- pinch fine sea salt
- 25 g freeze-dried strawberry powder
- 100 g unsalted butter/dairy free alternative softened
- 300 g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs UK Large size
- 250 ml yoghurt (dairy free if needed)
- 75 ml milk/dairy free alternative
Pre-Prepare the Rhubarb
- Ahead of time, prepare your rhubarb by slicing lengthways (you may also want to consider how you wish to lay the rhubarb in the base of the cake pan and cut roughly to size).
- Place the rhubarb in a dish and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar, turning to ensure all the rhubarb is coated. Leave to stand at room temperature for an hour, turning occasionally.
Making the Cake
- Base-line a 9 inch/23 cm non-stick, spring-form cake tin (2″ deep) with baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Arrange the rhubarb in the base of the cake tin (placing the most pink bits upside down so that they show when the cake is turned out) and spoon over the remaining sugar juice. Make sure that you place the cake tin onto a baking tray before baking as some of the juice may leak out.
- Weigh and mix together the flour, almonds, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and strawberry powder (I weigh mine into an airtight container and shake vigorously to mix) and set aside.
- Cream the butter and caster sugar together with the vanilla extract (with an electric whisk) until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition.
- Mix together the yoghurt and milk in a jug and then add to the bowl about a third at a time, alternating with adding the dry flour mix a third at a time, gently folding through between each addition until just mixed and even. Be careful not to over mix.
- Spoon the cake batter into the cake tin over the rhubarb and smooth the top with the back of the spoon.
- Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes until the top springs back to the touch and a skewer comes out clean. If towards the end of the bake you are worried that the cake may be getting a little dark, gently cover with a piece of foil (trying not to remove from the oven as you do so).
- Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin before turning out (upside down) onto a heat-proof plate (if you are opting to do the stage below, otherwise turn onto a serving plate).
- Optional : Lightly grill the rhubarb base of the cake to caramelise slightly (do not place the cake too close to the grill heat), keeping a close eye to ensure you do not burn.
- Transfer to a serving plate (if different) and serve ‘naked’, or with cream, custard or ice cream.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist