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Christina Schmidhofer Photo by: Christina Schmidhofer

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Louise Galen's upside-down cake has the classic version's gooey caramel but is less sweet because it's made with rhubarb and crème fraîche.

Prep and cook time: About 1 1/4 hours

Sunset MARCH 2005

  • Yield: Makes 8 servings


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups sliced rhubarb (1/2 in. thick)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or orange juice
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 carton (7 1/2 to 8 oz.) crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour


1. In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the rhubarb, lemon peel, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

2. In a 10-inch frying pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter; add brown sugar, bourbon, and remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice; stir often until caramel has thickened and is medium brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Spread in a buttered 9-inch round cake pan (with 2-in.-tall sides).

3. Arrange pecans over caramel. Scatter rhubarb mixture on top.

4. In a bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat remaining 1/2 cup butter and 3/4 cup granulated sugar until blended. Beat in eggs until smooth. Beat in baking powder, vanilla, and salt, half the crème fraîche, then half the flour; repeat with remaining crème fraîche and flour. Drop spoonfuls of batter over rhubarb; spread smooth.

5. Bake in a 350° oven until cake is golden on top and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool on a rack 15 minutes.

6. Run a knife between cake and pan sides. Invert onto a plate. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 552
  • Calories from fat: 52%
  • Protein: 6.7g
  • Fat: 32g
  • Saturated fat: 17g
  • Carbohydrate: 62g
  • Fiber: 1.3g
  • Sodium: 356mg
  • Cholesterol: 117mg

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Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake Recipe