I don’t talk about my chaotic schedule here on the blog much. Mostly because I keep resolving in my head to work on balancing not work and life, but my hobby and life. Life and life. You know, the difference between quiet time at home on the couch with a vat of moo shu vegetables and Country Strong and being out and about in the DC dining scene eating great food and talking to fun people…decidedly not on my couch.
From June 1st to today I have attended roughly 30 food-related events or dined out for food-related writing projects. And that’s not counting the two farmers’ markets a week I hit up. I’m exhausted. And full.
A few weekends ago I bought way, way too much rhubarb at the Dupont Farmers Market. I guess maybe the abundance of it in my fridge was my way of forcing myself into making time for a baking project. I used to bake every weekend. Like three times a weekend!
It’s hard to bake when you are in constant motion. Positive, forward motion, but motion none the less.
So there I was, just me, a lot of eggs and a shit ton of rhubarb. I am familiar with upside down fruit cakes, and I positively adore them. Instead of just using my old tried and true cake recipe I went with Martha Stewart’s concoction. It’s really not that far off from mine (which is to say, Real Simple’s)…but mine is better.
Martha’s recipe was so flippin’ awkward. It’s the first time I’ve read a recipe and had to re-read it out of confusion. (It hasn’t been THAT long since I baked!) Also, hers makes so much batter that it calls for a 2-inch deep, 9 inch cake pan. Who the eff has a 2-inch deep cake pan? I don’t. So my poor oven incurred a lot of spillage. Which is fine because it meant I got a lot of snackage, too.
Unlike the plum cake, prettily arranging the rhubarb is a lost cause. Don’t bother. Throw the stuff in there and don’t think twice about concentric circle designs like a certain someone did.
I liked that the tartness of the rhubarb didn’t get lost in all the sugar, but it also didn’t make anyone pucker into a kissy fish face either. The cake was devoured not long after I took it to work – a clear sign of success! It was also nice to see everyone swooning over something I’d baked…something I’m quite addicted to and something I’d totally forgotten about since I’ve been baking less and less.
As I recently told a new friend, (making people) food is love. And I’m trying to focus on loving a little bit more right now.
Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
from Martha Stewart
For The Topping
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Coarse salt
For The Cake
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for buttering pan
- 1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut on a very sharp diagonal about 1/2 inch thick
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- Coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the topping: Stir together butter, flour, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until moist and crumbly.
- Make the cake: Butter a 9-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep). Dot with 4 tablespoons butter (cut into pieces). Toss rhubarb with 3/4 cup sugar; let stand for 2 minutes. Toss again, and spread in pan.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Beat remaining stick butter and cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in zest and juice. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, until smooth. Spread evenly over rhubarb. Crumble topping evenly over batter.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and top springs back when touched, about 1 hour. Let cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake, and invert onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.