Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake with Whipped Cream and Salty Nuts

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Highlight seasonal fruit with this sticky, slightly sweet dessert.
rhubarb upside-down cake with whipped cream and salty nuts
© EE Berger/Pulp

If you ask us, upside-down cake is underrated. It’s an easy way to highlight seasonal fruit, it’s impressive when flipped onto a serving platter and it practically decorates itself. Serve this recipe for rhubarb upside-down cake (from Abra Berens’s new cookbook, Pulp) with plenty of cloudlike whipped cream and salted pecans for contrasting texture and flavor.

“This buttery cake will absorb a good deal of the rhubarb’s cooking juices,” she writes “but expect it to be a bit juicer than a traditional pineapple upside-down cake. The addition of a bit of cornstarch helps keep it from being a complete and total mess.”

Reprinted from Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit by Abra Berens, with permission by Chronicle Books, 2023. Photographs © EE Berger.


Rhubarb Topping

1 pound (455g) rhubarb, cut into ½-inch pieces

¼ cup (35g) cornstarch

½ cup (100g) granulated sugar

4 tablespoons (60g) butter, melted

½ cup (100g) brown sugar

Cake Batter

9 tablespoons (135g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup (60ml) buttermilk

¼ cup (60g) sour cream

3 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1½ cups (210g) all-purpose flour

⅔ cup (130g) granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Whipped cream, for serving

½ cup salted pecans, for serving


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper.

2. Make the Rhubarb Topping: In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, cornstarch and granulated sugar.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar, stirring until the brown sugar dissolves.

4. Pour the butter–brown sugar mixture into the prepared cake pan. Spoon the rhubarb mixture evenly into the pan.

5. Make the Cake Batter: In a medium bowl, combine the butter, buttermilk, sour cream, egg yolks and vanilla.

6. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry. Using a hand mixer or a whisk, beat for 2 minutes to develop the cake’s structure.

7. Top the rhubarb topping with the cake batter, ensuring that the rhubarb is entirely covered. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center, 27 to 30 minutes. Cool the cake for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges and invert onto a serving platter. If any of the rhubarb mixture stays behind in the pan, simply spoon it back into place.

8. To serve, cut into wedges and top with a hefty dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of salted pecans.

Nutrition Facts
  • 328 calories

  • 15g fat

  • 46g carbs

  • 3g protein

  • 28g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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