Strawberry-Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Strawberry-Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Strawberry-Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
Serves 8

To give credit where credit is due, this recipe is a lightly modified version of one found in one of my favorite periodicals, Eating Well, the June 2013 issue. However, my modifications make the recipe a better fit for people sticking to a calorie budget.

Make choices to stick to a budget is part of success. I talk about success choices, but with a calories budget and in other areas (like starting new careers) in my podcast, Make Your Someday Today.

The fruit topping:
1 cup (4 ounces by weight) diced fresh rhubarb
3 tablespoons Splenda (or stevia, or sugar whichever you prefer)
2 ounces orange juice

2.5 cups (1 pound) sliced strawberries (fresh are best, but you can use frozen berries that are thawed)

Cooking spray or vegetable oil (to prepare the pan/skillet)

The batter:
1.5 cups flour (either all purpose white, or white whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 eggs
2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce (or two individual serving cups)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces rum (optional, but tasty!)

  1. Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl and let is stand (the true term is macerate) for 20-30 minutes in the orange juice. (The acids in the orange juice begin breaking down the fibrous rhubarb.) Stir occasionally.
  2. Prepare a 9 inch cake pan (according to the instructions). I always use a 10 inch oven-proof non-stick skillet. I can’t imagine using a smaller pan. You will see why shortly.
  3. While the rhubarb is macerating, prepare the batter and preheat the oven to 350F.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the first three dry batter ingredients. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the next five wet ingredients. 
    You can see the rhubarb in the orange juice, along with the other recipe components.
  6. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Mix only until it is uniformly wet.
  7. Spread the fruit in the prepared pan or skillet. Pour the batter over the fruit. It should be wet enough that it will spread evenly on its own.
    The fruit in a well-prepared skillet.
    The batter gently poured over the fruit.
  8. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake (40-50 minutes, depending on your oven.)
    See why I wouldn’t recommend using a smaller (9″) baking pan?
  9. Now comes the only moderately tricky part. While the cake is still hot (and therefore not sticking to the pan) take a plate that has a larger diameter (11″ is best) than the pan/skillet. Lay it on the cake, inverted, so that when you QUICKLY yet CALMLY flip the whole thing over, the cake is batter side

    down and centered on the plate.  Use hot pads or towels, as there may be hot fruit juices.

  10. Don’t do this the first time in front of guests. On the other hand, I’ve done this recipe three times, and never had any disaster other than spilling some strawberry juice, so it really isn’t a big deal. I just don’t try new techniques in front of witnesses the first time I try them.
  11. Let is cool on the counter to room temperature (2 hours.) 
  12. Cut and serve (with whipped cream, or ice cream if you have room in your budget.)
Nutritional data (per 1/8 of the cake):
Calories:      201
Fat:               2.5g
Sat fat:          0.6g
Chol:           79mg
Sodium:       93mg
Carb:          39.2g
Fiber:            3.9g
Protein:            6g
By the way, I said I modified the recipe from Eating Well.  In specific, here are my changes:
3 tablespoons Splenda instead of 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce instead of 2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar instead of 3/4 cup packed packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder instead of 2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt instead of 1/2 teaspoon salt
To compare the nutritional data using the numbers the recipe gives:
(And this is for 1/10 of the cake, so a smaller piece than my recipe)

Calories:      321
Fat:               17g
Sat fat:            3g
Chol:           56mg
Sodium:     241mg
Carb:            40g
Fiber:            3.0g
Protein:            5g
In most cases, you can replace oil with applesauce, and reduce the sugar by about 1/3 and not lose anything My recipe is a better option that Eating Well gave (and I can eat a larger portion!)


Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly podcast, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be.