Feasting at Home : Upside Down Rhubarb Cake (Gluten-free)

May 2, 2014

Upside Down Rhubarb Cake (Gluten-free)

It is the giving of attention - that keeps us awake. 
Mark Nepo

In Spring, one of the first things to poke their arms out of the ground are the rosy colored stocks of rhubarb. Their tart stocks surprisingly have many uses in the kitchen- but what they are most known for, is pie.  Rhubarb is also called the "pie plant"- and paired with strawberries, berries, or apples, rhubarb is often thought of as a fruit - but in actuality rhubarb is a vegetable, in the same family as sorrel. 

Rhubarb's flavor and aroma hint of tart apples, berries, and more subtler notes of water and fresh green grass. In this flour-less upside down cake, I resisted the temptation to add berries or other fruit, in order to highlight rhubarb's true flavor. The bright liveliness of the rhubarb is front and center, the sourness mellowed slightly with vanilla and butter, while the base of the cake, made entirely of almond meal and no flour, whispers of cardamon. To my palate, the combination delights.

It starts with four cups of fresh rhubarb stocks, cut into ½ inch cubes.

In a heavy bottom skillet, melt butter, and add rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Stir until combined and sugar has dissolved, but do not cook the rhubarb, it will cook in the oven.

Make the batter.

Separate the yolks from the whites. Mix the yolks with sugar and lemon zest, and combine with dry ingredients. Whip the whites, and then combine all to create a batter.

Pour the almond flour batter over the rhubarb.

Bake in a 375 F oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
It will be fragrant and golden brown. Immediately invert onto a platter.

Let stand 10 minutes before cutting, to let it set.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Thanks for reading! For more Feasting at Home ... 
follow on FacebookInstagramPinterestBloglovin', or Twitter

print recipe

Gluten Free Upside down Rhubarb Cake
4 C cups rhubarb, cut into ½ inch cubes ( about 1 ¼ lb)
1 1/4 cup sugar -divided
4 tbsp butter
1 T fresh lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract divided
pinch salt
4 eggs, separated into 4 egg yolks and 4 egg whites, room temperature
zest from one lemon
¼ teaspoon cardamon
1 1/2 cups finely ground almond flour or meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar
Powdered sugar for sprinkling

375 F Oven

Over medium heat, melt butter in a 9 inch cast iron skillet, and brush the sides with it. Add rhubarb, ¾ C sugar, lemon juice, 2tsp vanilla and pinch salt and stir for 2 minutes, just until combined and sugar has dissolved. Turn heat off. Do not continue to cook rhubarb. (You can either bake the cake right in the same skillet, or transfer to a parchment lined and buttered 9 inch spring form pan.)

In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with lemon zest, cardamon and ¼ C sugar, until creamy and sugar has dissolved. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk almond flour, pinch salt, and baking powder until combined.

Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir to incorporate. You will have a very thick heavy batter at this point.

In a stand mixer, whip egg whites on medium high speed, and once you see bubbles, add a pinch of salt and tsp vinegar . Whip until egg whites have formed soft peaks, then add remaining ¼ C sugar a little at a time whipping until medium stiff peaks form. Turn speed to down to medium low and begin spooning in the flour - egg yolk batter, a heaping spoonful at a time, into the egg whites, until it is all combined, scraping downs sides as necessary.

Pour batter over rhubarb in the skillet ( or in a spring form pan) and place in a preheated oven, for 30 minutes. While baking, make sure to have ready, what you plan to flip the cake on to. At 30 minutes, check for doneness by inserting a toothpick or skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. If not, bake a bit longer. Pull from the oven and immediately place a cake platter or cake stand over the skillet, and invert, gently tapping the bottom of the skillet so it releases. ( If using a spring form pan, let cool before removing sides and flipping. ) Let it cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream or on its own. The cake is especially good the next day.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8


  1. This cake is gorgeous! And I love the flavour :)

  2. I take my Rhubarb Pinterest board VERY seriously....and I couldn't pin this fast enough! Beautiful recipe!

  3. I have almond flour in the freezer, just need to find the rhubarb. This is beautiful.

  4. This sounds literally amazing, I adore almond cake so much and the tender sweetness of the almond must bring the rhubarb to life!

  5. I love rhubarb, I'm currently dedicating May on my blog to all things on this vegetable. This cake looks delicious, I love almond paired with rhubarb.

  6. Oh yum!! Sooo baking this one!!

  7. This was delicious! and beautiful, I might add. I think whipping the egg-whites really made the difference.Thank you :)

  8. Just made this - very tasty! Mine was quite moist (almost soggy) but I'm not that talented when it comes to baking. Still, I'm keeping the recipe and using it every rhubarb season! Yuuummm

    1. Shoot. It probably just needed to be baked a little longer. Do you do the toothpick test?

  9. I had to bake this for 1hr to get right consistency. And I used 1/4 cup of stevia instead of sugar in the rhubarb portion. Great idea whipping the eggs so much, its worth it!