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STOP! Before you hit ‘Jump to Recipe’ check ‘Skip to the Good Bit‘ below. I may answer a query you have about this recipe.
The recipe for this Rhubarb and Apple Upside Down Cake actually came from my Gluten Free Apple Cake recipe. But, to add a spicy twist I’ve added ginger to the cake sponge too as rhubarb and ginger compliment each other so well.
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Skip to the good bit
- How to make a no-fail upside down cake
- How to prepare rhubarb for a sponge cake
- What is forced rhubarb?
- Did you know there is a Rhubarb Festival in the UK?
- What are the best apples for this cake?
- Soggy bottom upside down cake?
- Ingredients you will need
- Equipment you will need
- Can I make this upside down cake egg free too?
- Other rhubarb inspired recipes
- Gluten Free Rhubarb and Apple Upside Down Cake Recipe
How to make a no-fail upside down cake
The key to the perfect upside down cake is preparation. I line the bottom of the cake tin (ideally a loose bottom tin) with baking paper and brush the side of the tin with oil.
The other thing to consider is the type of fruit you use for the bottom/top of the cake. Some fruits hold more natural water than others so bear this in mind or else you may end up with an overly soggy bottom (more about that further down).
In the case of dessert apples and rhubarb, the water content isn’t too high.
The final thing to remember is that the bottom of your cake will become the top. So bear this in mind when you decorate the bottom of your lined cake tin. For example, I arranged my cut rhubarb stems with the pink side down.
Hands up, I wasn’t in the most creative of moods when I arranged the rhubarb and apple on this occasion. Something I’ll probably rectify later with updated photos (maybe, maybe not?)
The top tip I can give you is the closer the fruit is, i.e. less gaps, the more dramatic your cake will look when you turn it out. As you can see here, the cake batter kind of seeped through too much and stole the show – hey, that’s baking, no need for any drama!
Notice I also folded any trimmings and leftover bits of fruit into the remaining sponge batter, I hate waste and it actually adds a lovely additional texture to the sponge itself.
How to prepare rhubarb for a sponge cake
This Gluten Free Rhubarb and Apple Upside Down Cake takes 40 minutes to bake, so plenty of time to fully cook the rhubarb. Therefore you do not need to steam or stew the stems in advance.
I simply top and tail a lovely colourful stem and slice down the stem lengthways twice (this gives you three skinnier strips).
The two outside strips I use for the decoration, they have the pinker colour on them and the inner middle strip I chop into tiny pieces to fold into the remaining cake sponge.
What is forced rhubarb?
There are two main ways to grow rhubarb, the first image below is more recognisable as open air naturally grown crop. The second photo is forced rhubarb which is characteristically richly pink in colour with smaller leaves.
The latter type of rhubarb is harvested by candlelight which I think is terribly romantic and shows the care put into this rare treat originating in Yorkshire, UK.
After initial exposure to the frost, the Rhubarb is lifted from the ground and placed into forcing sheds. Once in the darkened sheds, heat is applied causing the rhubarb to grow quickly in search of light.YORKSHIRE FORCED RHUBARB – SLOW FOOD IN THE UK
If you can get your hands on some beautiful forced rhubarb then THIS is the recipe to try, the colours of the final upside down cake will be phenomenal.
Did you know there is a Rhubarb Festival in the UK?
I didn’t know, so I simply had to add a little section on this. During my research into this recipe and post (yes, all my posts take quite a bit of research) I found out that there is a Rhubarb Festival every year in February in Wakefield.
Rhubarb lovers rejoice – Wakefield’s celebration of its most famous vegetable, the Rhubarb Festival, returns to paint the city pink for three days from 16-18 February 2024. One of the first food and drink festivals in the national calendar.Experience Wakefield – Rhubarb Festival
There are three main towns known for their forced rhubarb; Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell together they create the affectionately named Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle, also known as the Pink Triangle after the colour of the candlelit grown rhubarb.
What are the best apples for this cake?
I use everyday dessert apples, even better, use one that’s going a wee bit soft in the fruit bowl if you like. We tend to have Pink Lady apples in our house as the teens refuse to eat any other type (not great budget-wise!).
It is entirely up to you if you want to leave the skin on or peel the apple then slice it. I’m not fussed with apple peel so leave mine on but I appreciate many people don’t like the idea of peel, all for very valid reasons.
Soggy bottom upside down cake?
Some like it soggy, others not so much! If you find that your upside down cake has turned out too soggy it could be that the fruit was super ripe and the flesh had started to break down making the fruit juicier.
This would rarely happen in the case of this rhubarb and apple upside down cake so it could be down to the cake simply sweating a bit while it cooled in the tin.
If you’re not a fan of soggy bottoms (or in this case tops) then do what I do – grill it!
The images below show this particular upside down cake before and after I have grilled it. To be fair, it wasn’t really soggy but I still did it for demonstration purposes.
This was carefully placed on a baking sheet and under a preheated grill for 2 minutes. As you can see the cake has gone a warmer golden colour and any little soggy patches have pretty much disappeared.
Good news! It won’t dry the cake itself out so don’t worry if you do want to try this little trick.
Ingredients you will need
- fresh rhubarb
- dessert apple
- gluten free self raising flour
- caster sugar
- oil (I use vegetable or sunflower)
- ground ginger
Equipment you will need
Can I make this upside down cake egg free too?
There are a few tweaks necessary to make this Rhubarb and Apple Upside Down Cake egg free as well as dairy and gluten free. Because of this, I would not recommend just taking out the eggs and replacing with an egg alternative.
Instead, try this recipe for Gluten Free Plum Upside Down Cake but add the ground ginger (if you plan to use it) and of course decorate the base of the tin with apple and rhubarb, not plums!
Other rhubarb inspired recipes
Gluten Free Rhubarb and Apple Upside Down Cake Recipe
If you make it and like the recipe I would be eternally grateful if you popped back and commented leaving a star rating as this will tell search engines that this recipe is worth checking out and others will get to find it in searches.
Gluten Free Rhubarb and Apple Upside Down Cake
- 1 stem rhubarb
- 1 dessert apples
- 125 g gluten free self raising flour
- 125 g caster sugar
- 125 ml oil (I use vegetable or sunflower)
- 2 egg(s)
- 1 tsp ginger
- Line a loose bottom cake tin with a circle of baking paper and grease the sides.
- Core and slice the dessert apple into thin slices and cut your rhubarb stems down to fit the cake tin. Feel free to arrange as you wish. You may have leftovers so hold onto these.TOP TIP: arranging the fruit with less gaps will achieve a better looking cake once turned out. Also remember the bottom of the cake will be the top so face the best side of fruit down first.
- In a large bowl beat the eggs and caster sugar until thick and creamy, add the oil, ginger and continue to beat until combined.
- Add the flour and beat to combine into a thick silky cake batter.
- Spoon 1/4 of the cake batter over the arranged fruit. Now, fold any leftover bits of apple and rhubarb into the remaining cake batter (cut the pieces up into tiny bites).
- Pour over the remaining cake mixture.
- Bake in the oven at 170°C | 150°C Fan | 325°F | Gas 3 for 40 mins.
- Loosen from the edges and allow to cool totally before turning out upside down onto a plate.
- If you're not a fan of soggy cakes, then pop the unturned cake under a hot grill for 1-2 minutes to toast it a little. This also adds a lovely warm colour to the cake.
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