Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

This easy rhubarb upside-down cake recipe is the perfect spring and summer dessert! It features a moist vanilla cake topped with a sweet-tart rhubarb topping made with brown sugar and butter and enhanced with warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. The cake is baked until golden, then inverted for a beautiful ruby red fruit topping. Serve warm with ice cream for an amazing rhubarb dessert!

Are you looking for a delicious and unique dessert to make with fresh rhubarb? Look no further than this mouthwatering rhubarb upside-down cake recipe! With its sweet and tangy flavors, moist texture, and beautiful ruby red topping, it’s sure to become a new favorite. This rhubarb cake is perfect for spring and summer when rhubarb is in season. The bright pink stalks add a lovely pop of color and tart flavor that pairs perfectly with the buttery brown sugar topping. It’s easy to make with simple ingredients you likely already have in your pantry.

What is a Rhubarb Upside Down Cake?

A rhubarb upside-down cake is a twist on the classic pineapple upside-down cake. Instead of pineapple rings, you use fresh chopped rhubarb as the fruity topping. The rhubarb is coated in a brown sugar-butter sauce and baked in the bottom of the pan.

Once out of the oven, you invert the cake onto a plate so the rhubarb topping is facing up – hence the “upside down” name. The cake itself is a moist, dense vanilla batter with warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. When you bite into a slice, you get the sweet cake combined with the tangy rhubarb topping for the perfect flavor balance.

Why You’ll Love This Rhubarb Cake

  • Easy to make with basic baking ingredients
  • Unique twist on a classic upside down cake
  • Beautiful ruby-red rhubarb topping
  • Perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors
  • Moist, dense cake with warm spices
  • Great way to use up fresh rhubarb
  • Tastes amazing with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

Ingredients Needed

For this easy rhubarb upside-down cake recipe, you’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Fresh or frozen rhubarb
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Raspberry or strawberry jam for the glaze

You’ll also need a 9-inch round cake pan to bake the cake in. Having all your ingredients at room temperature will ensure they are incorporated properly.

How to Make Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Make the Rhubarb Topping

  1. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter with 6 tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan until boiling.
  2. Pour the butter-sugar mixture into the bottom of a greased 9-inch cake pan.
  3. Spread the chopped rhubarb evenly over the butter-sugar layer.

Make the Cake Batter

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl – flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  2. In another bowl, beat the remaining butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the vanilla and eggs one at a time.
  4. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk to the butter mixture until it is combined.

Bake the Cake

  1. Spread the cake batter evenly over the rhubarb topping in the pan.
  2. Bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a plate so the rhubarb is on top.
  4. Brush the rhubarb topping with warmed jam for a glossy finish.

Serve this delightful rhubarb upside down cake warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if desired. The sweet cake combined with the tangy rhubarb topping is absolutely heavenly!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use frozen rhubarb?

Yes, you can use frozen rhubarb for this recipe. There’s no need to thaw it first – just chop it while still frozen and use as directed.

What other fruits can I use?

While rhubarb is traditional, you could also use other tart fruits like cranberries, raspberries, or sour cherries for the topping. Strawberries would be delicious too!

How should I store leftovers?

This cake is best eaten the day it’s made. However, you can store leftovers covered at room temperature for 2-3 days. The topping may get a little soggy after the first day.

Can I make it ahead of time?

You can make the cake batter and rhubarb topping ahead of time and refrigerate them separately for up to 2 days before baking. Let them come to room temperature before assembling and baking.

What can I serve with a rhubarb upside-down cake?

This cake is amazing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream. You could also serve it with a dollop of lemon curd or raspberry sauce.

Is this cake difficult to make?

Not at all! While it looks impressive, this rhubarb upside-down cake is quite easy. The hardest part is inverting it after baking, but as long as you let it cool slightly first, it should come out cleanly.

There you have it—the perfect spring and summer dessert featuring fresh rhubarb! With its unique flavors and beautiful presentation, this rhubarb upside-down cake is sure to become a new favorite. Be sure to save or print this recipe to make again and again.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Manila Spoon
This easy rhubarb upside down cake recipe is the perfect spring and summer dessert! Featuring a moist vanilla cake topped with a sweet-tart rhubarb topping made with brown sugar and butter. Baked until golden then inverted for a beautiful ruby red fruit topping. Serve warm with ice cream for an amazing rhubarb dessert!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16
Calories 169 kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp double-acting baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp butter plus 1 stick (or 1/2 cup butter), divided and brought to room temp
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not thaw)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole or 2 % milk
  • 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry or strawberry jam


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set it aside.
  • Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter and 6 tablespoons of the sugar on medium heat in a small saucepan. Continue to stir until the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Pour this evenly over the bottom of the cake pan and top with the rhubarb, smoothing the layer and pressing it down gently with your fingertips.
  • Using an electric mixer beat the remaining butter (1/2 cup) on medium speed until smooth. Add the remaining sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is pale and creamy. Pour in the vanilla or almond extract and then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Pour in the milk, mix, then add the remaining flour. The cake batter will be thick.
  • Spoon the batter over the rhubarb and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let the cake cool down for about 15 minutes before you remove them from the pan. Run a blunt knife between the sides of the pan and the cake. Carefully turn the cake out onto a serving platter. If any of the rhubarb stick to the pan – as they might – just scrape them off with a knife and return them to the cake.
  • Quickly heat up the jam either with a microwave or on stovetop until it has consistency of a glaze. Brush the top of the rhubarb pieces with the heated jam for a shinier topping.


Tips & Tricks
It is best served warm or at room temperature on the day it is made. You may also use an 8-inch round cake pan if that’s the only one you have. However, the cake may bubble over, so make sure to place the cake pan on a cake sheet to prevent it from spilling onto the oven floor.
Served with ice cream on top, if desired.


Calories: 169kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 2gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 139mgPotassium: 86mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 196IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Last updated on June 29th, 2024 at 10:26 pm


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