Sweet strawberries paired with tart rhubarb are a classic relationship in the culinary world, and make a perfect upside down strawberry rhubarb cake. Find more olive oil cake recipes here.
Relationships are a funny thing. There are some people you meet in your life and you instantly click. Then there are folks where you sit in silence for an hour, pulling teeth to make conversation. Some relationships are a necessity, and never seem to get any easier despite years of struggles and conversation.
Weird enough, I was thinking about how strawberry and rhubarb have this amazing relationship. Seriously. I was thinking about relationships when I was baking this cake.
I mean, who thought of pairing these two very different ingredients together?
Why this recipe is so awesome
Sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb are a match made in heaven. Like that BFF that you never run out of things to talk about: a perfect relationship that stands the test of time.
Upside down cakes are a super easy way to bake fruit and cake. I love preparing these cakes in a cast iron skillet. The fruit makes this magical transformation while it bakes making a delicious topping for the moist vanilla cake.
You can dress it up and top with some vanilla ice cream or serve it alone. You can garnish it with more fruit or fresh flowers – just be sure that the flowers are not toxic. We did not eat the flowers that I garnished on my cake.
Enjoy this cake while you reflect on the variety of relationships you have in YOUR life. And be sure to share it with someone special.
See my Strawberry Rhubarb Cake Web Story for a quick visual guide to making this recipe.
Ingredients you need
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- Rhubarb: You can use fresh or frozen rhubarb. Frozen rhubarb should be thawed first and may turn a little mushy while it bakes.
- Strawberries: Although you could use frozen berries, I prefer fresh strawberries because it holds its shape while baking.
- Unsalted butter: The cake is baked with olive oil, but I always bake my fruit in butter in upside down cakes.
- Brown sugar: You can use light or dark brown sugar. This is mixed with the butter and fruit for the fruit topping.
- Lemon juice: A little lemon juice is used to help the fruit retain its color.
- Whole milk: I always have full fat milk in my fridge, so that is what I primarily bake with. Fat adds moisture and flavor to your cake, so don’t be afraid of it. You can use low fat milk or to make it vegan, us almond milk.
- Eggs: When I bake, I primarily use large eggs. You can use flax meal to make this cake vegan. I go into this in more detail below.
- Extra virgin olive oil: If you’ve read my blog before, then you learned your lesson on how to bake with olive oil. Your baked goods are only as good as the ingredients you put into it. Choose a mild tasting olive oil for this cake recipe, not a peppery one.
- Plain yogurt: I like to use Greek or Persian yogurt when I bake. You can also use homemade yogurt. I’ve got a fabulous post and video to teach you how to make yogurt here.
- Pantry staples: All purpose flour, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt.
1. In a medium sized bowl combine chopped fruit and lemon juice. In another bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
2. Heat a 9-inch cast iron skillet and melt butter. When butter is bubbling and just starts to brown, stir in brown sugar.
3. Cook until sugar has dissolved into the butter and starts to melt, then spread sugar mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan. Stir fruit mixture into the brown sugar and spread in an even layer over the bottom and sides of the pan.
For a deep purple color, cook fruit until soften for about 5 minutes and then remove from heat. For a vibrant red color and firmer fruit topping, remove pan from heat immediately after added to the pan.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and olive oil until sugar has dissolved.
5. Stir in yogurt, milk and vanilla into sugar mixture until combined then add eggs.
6. In batches, mix flour mixture into yogurt mixture and stir until combined.
7. Pour cake batter evenly over the fruit in your cast iron pan. Place cake in the oven and bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
8. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Run a knife blade along the sides of the cake to insure a clean removal.
9. Place serving plate over the cast iron skillet and carefully invert the cake. Keep the skillet on the plate until the cake falls into the plate. Remove skillet and allow cake to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour before serving.
Recipe tips and FAQs
Whey you are caramelizing fruit for an upside down cake, I find that cast iron pans work much better than regular cake pans. They easily go from stove top to oven. If you do not have one, you can cook everything in a regular pan and then transfer to a greased 9-inch cake pan.
A 9-inch pan will result in fruit on the sides and a cake about 1 ½-inches thick. The flower decorated cake you see in the pictures was made with a larger 10-inch pan, so the cake came out a little thinner. Either size pan will work.
When using a cast iron pan, I usually let the cake sit in the pan for about 10 minutes after I take it out of the oven. Then I run a knife along the edges to make sure that nothing is sticking. Place large platter over the pan and flip it, leaving it sitting on top until the cake cools completely.
Absolutely! You can use strawberries and almost any fruit in an upside down cake. You can use any type and mixture of berries plus oranges, peaches, plums, grapes and even
- 2 TBS unsalted butter
- 2 TBS light brown sugar, packed
- 5 oz sliced rhubarb
- 1 lb sliced strawberries
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a medium sized bowl combine lemon juice with chopped fruit.
- Using a 9-inch cast iron skillet, heat over medium-high heat and melt butter. When butter is bubbling and just starts to brown, stir in brown sugar.
- Cook until sugar has dissolved into the butter and starts to melt, then spread sugar mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan.
- Stir rhubarb and strawberries with lemon juice into the brown sugar. For a deep purple color, cook fruit until soften for about 5 minutes and then remove from heat. For a vibrant red color and firmer fruit topping, remove pan from heat immediately after added to the pan.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and olive oil until sugar has dissolved.
- Stir in yogurt, milk, vanilla and eggs into sugar mixture until combined.
- In batches, mix flour mixture into yogurt mixture and stir until combined.
- Pour cake batter evenly over the fruit in your cast iron pan.
- Place cake in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
- Run a knife blade along the sides of the cake to insure a clean removal.
- Place serving plate over the cast iron skillet and carefully invert the cake. Keep the skillet on the plate until the cake falls into the plate.
- Remove skillet and allow cake to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour before serving.
* Thick Greek yogurt, like the Fage brand, is used in this recipe. If you do can not find thick yogurt, drain your regular yogurt with a cheese cloth or coffee filter until it becomes thick like sour cream.
Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 302Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 133mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 2gSugar: 20gProtein: 6g
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