Rye Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Cakes, Desserts, Spring

Rye Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

We’re back at it on this Monday morning. I’m wishing you a chill to-do list, lots of coffee and warm memories of a restful weekend. Right now my mom is in town (she’s a teacher and it’s spring break) so I decided to take a mini break, too, which meant that last week was complete insanity trying to prepare for taking a break. But I’m doing it, enjoying it and thriving!

This cake is from Yossy’s new book, Sweeter Off the Vine. Yossy’s book is so beautiful. The chapters are divided by season and fruit. The recipes include everything from cakes to ice creams to popsicles to crumbles. When I saw this rhubarb upside down cake I was like, yussssss.

Rye Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Upside down cakes are maybe my favorite type of cake because they’re ridiculously easy. No layers. No frosting to make.

I always like creating patterns if I can. And this one couldn’t be simpler, all that’s really required is cutting the ribs of rhubarb to fit the pan, after they’ve cooked with the sugar, vanilla bean and butter.

And let me tell you, butter and rhubarb are SO good together.

Rye Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Rye Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Rye Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Rye Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Rye Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Rye Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

If you know me, you know I love rye. It might be my favorite flour of all but it definitely needs to be mixed with all-purpose to give it a lighter texture and Yossy did that. It’s a 1 to 1 ratio and it results in a tender and hearty crumb with a nice zing from the buttermilk.

I love this spring-y cake so very much.

Rye Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Rye Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serving Size: 1 (9-inch) cake


Rhubarb Topping:

  • 1 pound 450g rhubarb, leaves removed, *cut a few into 9-inch pieces (these will act as the center) and the others into 6-inch pieces
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3/4 cup 150g granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup 55g unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or Meyer lemon zest, I used Meyer because that's what I had
  • Pinch of salt


  • 1 cup 125g all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 130g rye flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup 115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup 100g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups 335ml buttermilk, at room temperature

To serve:

  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream or ice cream


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan, that's 3 inches tall, line it with parchment paper, and butter that too. Dust the pan and paper with flour.
  • To make the rhubarb topping: Use the tip of a knife to split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds; reserve the pod for another use. Combine the sugar, butter, vanilla seeds, lemon zest, and salt in a skillet and set over medium low heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and butter begin to melt together then add the rhubarb. Cook the rhubarb, turning it occasionally in the pan, until it is juicy, slightly tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set it aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • At this point, you have some options: If you'd like to create a pattern like I did, place the 9-inch rib of rhubarb in the very center and then place a slightly shorter one next to it. And then repeat, trimming the rhubarb as needed, until you reach the edge of the pan. Next, place the rhubarb, trimming as needed, in a perpendicular to the first bit of rhubarb (consult the photos for more assistance). Pour the remaining syrup that's in the pan over the rhubarb. Alternatively, you can just place the rhubarb in the pan and arrange in one flat layer.
  • To make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk the all-purpose and rye flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together at medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition. Add the vanilla. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk in three additions and mix until just combined. Carefully pour the batter over the rhubarb in the pan and smooth the top. Tap the pan gently on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
  • Bake the cake until the top is golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cake cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then carefully invert onto a serving platter. Remove the parchment paper and reposition any rhubarb that has stuck to the paper. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if you like. The cake is best serve the day that it's made.


*My rhubarb ribs were very wide, if yours are too, feel free to cut them lengthwise. I did this and it made the designed top a bit more manageable.
Serving: 6g
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

Recipe from Sweeter Off the Vine (comes out tomorrow!)

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  • Reply Pretty Life April 5, 2016 at 12:36 am

    I love this spring-y cake so very much. My rhubarb ribs are large too, so I also cut them lengthwise, just like yours.
    Yes, Adrianna, ” I just used a super sharp knife.” πŸ™‚

  • Reply Talia April 1, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Serious question – how did you get such a clean cut? I love, love, love rhubarb, but find that when you leave it in strips or stalks it’s impossible to cut through without dragging.


  • Reply Bella March 23, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    This looks awesome! It reminds me of another rhubarb recipe I’ve been meaning to try:


  • Reply Heike March 22, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Cake happens tonight!

  • Reply Shikha @ Shikha la mode March 21, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    Dying. Can you come to SF so we can cook together?!

  • Reply Abby March 21, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I live in LA too. Do you have a go-to place where you find your rhubarb?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme March 22, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Yes, I got this rhubarb from whole foods in dtwn. But I know Gelson’s has it year around, though there’s is about $4 more a pound than whole foods.

  • Reply Mary @ LOVE the secret ingredient March 21, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    I love this! I just made a pear upside down cake, but I haven’t had rhubarb in a long time. Brings back lots of memories for me πŸ™‚

  • Reply Joanthan March 21, 2016 at 10:15 am

    You knocked it out of the park, A. Can’t wait to cook from it!

  • Reply Danilo March 21, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Ask your mom where my copy of your pancake book is. Oh, never mind. I just picked up a new one at a remaindered price. Ciao Bella, D.

  • Reply Ellie | Hungry by Nature March 21, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Once a summer my mom would make a strawberry rhubarb pie and it was heavenly. I’ve never baked with rye flour but this seems to be a worthy recipe to give it a try! And I need to get my hands on that book. Have a lovely break with your mom!

  • Reply Vivian | Stay Alive and Cooking March 21, 2016 at 2:58 am

    So nice to have your mom around. My mom used to make an upside down rhubarb cake all the time when we were younger: she’d have so many rhubarbs from growing them herself! So this brings back many memories πŸ™‚
    Have a good monday!