Rhubarb Cardamom Rose Upside-Down Cake Recipe | PBS Food

Rhubarb Cardamom Rose
Upside-Down Cake

Rhubarb Cake


Yield: 8 servings



  • For the bottom:
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • Around 1 1/2 pound of fresh rhubarb stalks (preferably bright red)
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • For the batter:
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (or 1 cup all-purpose + 1 cup whole wheat for a lighter cake)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup milk (can be plant-based)
  • 3 large beaten eggs
  • 2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp rose water


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line bottom of a round 8 inch baking pan (3 inches deep) with parchment paper.
  2. Cut your rhubarb stalks to fit snugly at the bottom of the pan in an attractive arrangement, flat side down. (If you wish to make the geometric pattern I show in the video, you’ll need to cut the stalks on an angle with the cut side as close to the same length as the uncut side as possible. (Using rhubarb stalks that are uniform in width will make this easier).
  3. Once your rhubarb pieces are all snuggly packed like sardines at the bottom of the pan, sprinkle 1/2 cup of sugar on top of the rhubarb, aiming for even distribution. Pour 4 tbsp. melted butter all over, as evenly spread out as you can. With a spatula, gently nudge the sugar and butter around to try to ensure coverage of all the rhubarb, but don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be perfect since it will all melt into a caramel in the oven.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In another bowl or stand mixer, beat together the olive oil, sugar, beaten eggs, milk, orange juice and rose water. Once the liquid mixture is silky and uniform, add the dry ingredients and mix everything together until just combined (small lumps are ok but try to avoid large lumps). As with any cake batter, don’t overmix it.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, to cover the rhubarb. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and let it cool in the pan for about 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack, carefully peel away the parchment paper, and let the cake cool, about 2 hours. (If the cake has risen and domed out a lot while baking, you may want to slice off the top rounded part before inverting it, so the cake sits on a flat base - it’s also a great way to get a sneak taste of the cake and no one will ever know! ;)


Disclaimer: Rhubarb leaves are toxic, be sure to remove them and discard them safely, keeping them away from pets and children.
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