Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake Recipe

4.88 from 8 votes

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Rhubarb upside-down cake is light, like spring. It is almost creamy and it is 100% delicious. If you are looking for ways to use rhubarb, this is a recipe you must try.

A rhubarb cake on a pedistal.
Read on for this easy rhubarb cake recipe!

About this

Recently it dawned on me that homemade cake recipes are my favorite thing to make. Great desserts like chocolate whiskey cake, homemade almond cake, strawberry snack cake, and now this delicious rhubarb dessert.

I was a bit intimidated by this rhubarb upside-down cake recipe because, well, it’s a cake recipe! Our collection of cake recipes continues to grow here on Platter Talk. Still, every time that I put a cake together, I have the same cluster of fears.

What if it’s too dry? What if it’s soggy? What if it falls in the center? What if I completely screw it up? As I have discovered over the years,  my fear of baking cakes is silly. If you think you can’t make this cake, the same is probably true for you!

Cake topped with rhubarb on a serving platter with three forks.
Try this rhubarb cake recipe this spring.

The perfect spring dessert

Rhubarb only comes around for a brief time here in Wisconsin. Since I hardly ever get to cook with it, I was especially anxious about this recipe. After I had one bite, it was clear that all that anxiety was one of the biggest wastes of my energy. Ever.

This rhubarb upside-down cake recipe uses about 4 cups, or about a pound and a half of sliced rhubarb.  To be safe, I decided to use

my trusty kitchen scale


Sliced rhubarb in a dish being weighted on kitchen scale.
If you don’t have a kitchen scale, please get one now.

There are a thousand and one ways to measure ingredients. But using a kitchen scale is the only way to measure ingredients with accuracy and precision. A cup of flour to you may be a different cup of flour to your neighbor, depending on what you use to measure it with!

Flavors that go together

  • Peas and carrots (think Forest Gump)
  • Apples and cinnamon
  • Chocolate and blueberries
  • Cilantro and avocado
  • As I found out, we can add one more match that is made in culinary heaven to this list: Rhubarb and Lemon.
Plate of lemons being zested.
Fresh lemon zest brings extra flavor to this rhubarb cake recipe.

This rhubarb dessert has all the usual cake ingredients, like flour, butter, and eggs. But there is one more ingredient that makes this cake recipe special: Sour cream

Not a lot, just a third of a cup but enough to give the cake an understated creamy texture. It’s pure heaven on a plate.

Batter for rhubarb cake.

The batter may curdle at first, after the lemon juice and sour cream mix together. Although this may look weird, it’s completely O.K. After you mix the rest of the batter ingredients for a few minutes, you have a silky smooth creamy cake batter.

Spreading cake batter over rhubarb chunks in a cake pan.

You’re going to make a brown sugar and butter base for this cake. Then, you will evenly distribute that base into a buttered spring-form pan. Be sure to line the pan with parchment paper to keep the cake from sticking.

Add the chunks of rhubarb along with their juices over the base. Then, pour the batter over the top of the rhubarb base. Finally, you will bake this at 325° for about an hour and 15 minutes. Use the toothpick test to tell when the cake is ready to come out of the oven.

Ruhubarb cake with three glasses of red wine and three forks.
This upside-down rhubarb cake is perfect for any spring get-together!

It takes about 75 minutes to bake this beautiful rhubarb dessert and take my word for it that it is worth the wait!

Slice of cake on a cake spatula.
This rhubarb dessert is simple to make with great results.

I was hoping this rhubarb upside-down cake recipe would turn out well but had no idea just how great it would taste. I was blown away by its beauty and its deliciousness!

Rhubarb cake and spatula on a cake pedistal with wine glasses in background.
Delicious rhubarb upside-down cake recipe

This has to be one of the best-tasting cakes that I have made. Remember how I mentioned that I have a fear of making cakes?  This recipe taught me that it’s time that I get over that particular insecurity. Maye it’s time that you try this rhubarb upside-down cake recipe yourself!

You’re going to love this rhubarb cake and don’t worry; you can thank me later.  Thanks for reading Platter Talk, it means the world to us, and happy spring to you and yours.

Dan from Platter Talk standing in the kitchen.
Serving of rhubarb upside-down cake on a plate with whole cake in the background.
Make this Rhubarb Cake in your kitchen!

If you have ever asked, “What to do with Rhubarb?” you’re not alone! We have a couple of other uses for this edible gift from spring!

Similar recipes

  • Rhubarb Slush
    • A fun frozen slushie that the whole family will enjoy.
  • Rhubarb Vanilla Pound Cake
    • An easy pound cake recipe that blends the flavors of rhubarb and vanilla. All in one yummy spring dessert.

For more great information and recipes on rhubarb, read All About Rhubarb, from The Spruce Eats.

Love cake? Me too!

It’s really hard for me to pick out my favorite cakes. That is almost like asking which of my kids I love most. (Disclaimer: That can vary from day to day.) To make it easy, these are three of my favorite cakes on Platter Talk.

If you’ve tried this rhubarb cake, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We love hearing from you! FOLLOW US on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake Recipe

4.88 from 8 votes
A beautiful and delicious rhubarb dessert. This Rhubarb Cake Recipe is adapted from Melissa Clark via The New York Times
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 12 people


  • 1.25 cups unsalted butter, 2 and a half sticks and a little more to greast the pan
  • 4 cups rhubarb, about 1.5 lbs, rinsed and sliced into quarter to half-inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced and grated zest
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, large
  • 1/3 cup sour cream


  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 9 inch spring-form pan with parchment paper and then grease the sides of the pan and the parchment paper with butter. Next, wrap two layers of aluminum foil around the base of the pan. Place the spring-form pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Using medium size mixing bowl, combined rhubarb and 1/2 cup sugar and stir well. Sprinkle cornstarch into mixture, while stirring gently until thoroughly combined.
  • Place 1/2 stick of butter into a small sauce pan over medium-low heat and slowly melt it. Add the brown sugar, whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Next, combine combine cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Gently stir together until well combined.
  • Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, whip the 2 remaining sticks ( one cup) of butter for about two minutes. Lower the mixer speed to low and add remaining 1 cup of sugar. Turn mixer off and use your fingers to blend in the lemon zest until completely mixed in and the mixture is uniform in color. Next, add the vanilla and cream this mixture together in the sand mixer, for about four minutes. Reduce speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time. Use a rubber spatula to scrape sides and bottom of bowl after the addition of each egg. Add the sour cream and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. It’s normal for the mixture to curdle at this point. With the mixer speed on low, add the flour mixture a little at a time and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as you add the dry mixture.
  • Use a tablespoon or rubber spatula and pour the brown sugar and butter mixture into the prepared spring-form pan. It may be necessary to gently reheat the mixture prior to doing this. Next, spoon the rhubarb pieces and their juices onto the brown sugar and butter base. Finally, spoon the cake patter over the rhubarb, making sure to evenly distribute the batter and smooth it out with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula.
  • Bake for 70-75 minutes or until firm and a tooth pick comes out clean after being inserted in cake’s center. Cool on a wire wrack for 15 minutes and then use a paring knife to loosen the edges of the cake from the sides of the pan. Place a serving platter on top of the spring-form pan and invert while the cake is still warm. Waiting too long to release the cake from the pan may cause it to stick to the sides of the pan.


Kitchen Tip:
  • Use cake flour if possible for making this rhubarb cake. It will give you a lighter crumb and taste.  If you don’t have cake flour, all-purpose flour will work as well.


Calories: 425kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 108mg, Sodium: 131mg, Potassium: 260mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 34g, Vitamin A: 750IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 96mg, Iron: 0.7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @plattertalk or tag #plattertalk!
Updated from the original publication date of May 10, 2017

Meet the Platter Talk Guys

Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

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  1. Making this right now , can’t wait for it to finish! I think in the instructions it was left out how much of the sugar to combine with the rhubarb so I had to extract some and try to make it work. Just a heads up for future bakers!

    1. Thanks so much for the heads-up. It should be 1/2 cup of sugar which we have corrected in the recipe instructions. We hope you enjoy this rhubarb dessert!

  2. My grandma always made THE BEST rhubarb pie every summer! This recipe totally makes me miss Wisconsin and it’s glorious rhubarb! Can’t wait to try this one out!

    1. Thanks, Jessica. Rhubarb has a way of bringing back fond memories and great flavors. I hope you try this one out, sometime soon.

  3. 5 stars
    Rhubarb is my favorite springtime treat! My husband had never had rhubarb until two years ago, I can wait to make this yummy treat for him, I know he’ll love it!!

  4. 5 stars
    Strawberry rhubarb is such a great sweet and tart combination. I usually make mine into a sauce or a cobbler, but this cake definitely has yummy possibilities!

  5. 5 stars
    This makes me so excited to get rhubarb this weekend. I’m moving soon and want to try to make a rhubarb recipe before I do (and naturally misplace half of my kitchen tools – you know, because moving).

  6. I’ve never worked with rhubarb but this recipe looks like a great place to start!! Looks yummy!!

  7. 5 stars
    Yes! to rhubarb and lemon! I’ve never cooked with rhubarb but at school I loved rhubarb crumble with custard. This cake sounds lovely, the combo of sweet, tart and sour – yummy!

  8. Such a unique recipe – an upside down rhubarb cake! 😀 I have a bushel of rhubarb in the back growing that I never know what to do with! I always end up giving it to the neighbours and still have leftovers haha! I know what I’ll be doing with it now! 🙂

  9. What a wonderful looking cake! I’m a big fan of rhubarb! This is perfect for casual entertaining.

  10. 5 stars
    Yummy! This looks delicious and I wish I could smell it too! This would be a fun treat for a party spread or any day of the week really! Thanks for sharing! Luci’s Morsels | fashion. food. frivolity.