I've never made an upside down cake before, but it seemed a delightfully retro way to use the gorgeous fruit I found at the market.
Of course, living in D.C. without a car, transporting food is always a challenge. I've told you how I've packaged appetizers in separate containers and assembled them at friends' houses, but today was a little bit of a fail. It was hot and humid, and I wrapped the cake in just tin foil... and then walked the whole way to work. By the time I got there, it was clear that it had broken apart a little bit on the bottom, but it still tasted good! Note to self, though: don't walk in baked goods wrapped in tinfoil in inclement weather. (In D.C., heat and humidity count as inclement weather.)
Rhubarb and Strawberry Upside Down Cake
- 7 strawberries, stems removed and quartered
- 1 ½ stalks of rhubarb, sliced into ½-in. pieces
- 1 ¼ c. sugar
- 10 T. butter
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 T. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 ½ c. flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ c. shortening
- ½ c. whole milk
- 2 eggs
Dice 6 T. of the butter and return it to the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large cast iron skillet, melt the remaining butter and add 1 c. of sugar, the lemon juice, vanilla and rhubarb. Let it cook and start to carmelize for 4-5 minutes, then add in the strawberries. Cook for 3-4 minutes longer and remove from the heat.
Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and remaining ¼ c. of sugar. Put the mixture in a food processor with the shortening and diced butter. Pulse until you get small peanut size pieces. Whisk the eggs together with the milk and add it to the dough. Pulse until you have a cohesive dough.
Dot the dough over the fruit mixture and smooth it out with a spatula. If needed, spray the spatula with cooking spray to keep it from sticking. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and immediately invert a plate over the skillet. Carefully flip the dish over to allow the cake to transfer to a pan.