Thursday, June 6, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Today was the last day of exams for the school year, giving much reason to celebrate.  Not only does that officially kick off what will be a whirlwind globe-trotting, wedding-attending, street fest-crashing summer, but it also means goodbyes to some students and colleagues that make my job awesome.  This strawberry rhubarb upside-down cake was baked in honor of a colleague, Jenn, to whom I owe much credit for helping me through those first tough years in the classroom.  She's moving to Boston next year, and I know the entire social studies department will miss her very much. 

Whenever I bake for a specific individual I really feel like I need to step up my game.  In this case, especially, since Jenn's a big foodie.  I felt like a recipe that required flipping anything upside down and praying it doesn't break in two or crash to the floor would definitely have a wow factor.  And, generally speaking, I'm horrible at deciding to bake anything that's easily transportable in order to get it into the office.  On a number of occasions Garrett has had to rig up some device made out of shoe boxes, aluminum foil, and wire hangers in order to carry various baked goods across a very large school campus.  Turns out, I was able to easily turn this cake upside down and get into the office precut on a single plate without any tragic events.  Plus, it was a really tasty tangy-sweet-spiced cake that stayed super moist, even when left uncovered all day (although the redness will fade a bit overnight).
There are a few other dinners I made this week that I didn't have the time to photograph, but are definitely blog-worthy.  So, if you came back looking for something healthy, look forward to vegetarian bi bim bop and fish taco salad next week...after Bree's bachelorette party in NYC!

Cake Ingredients (made two 8x8 square pans, and probably one 9x13 pan):
Original recipe at Cook Sister
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 1/2 stalks of rhubarb, chopped
 Topping Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups thinly sliced strawberries
  • 2 1/2 stalks of rhubarb, finely chopped and tossed lightly in flour

Get all your strawberries and rhubarb chopped up and ready to go.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter your baking dish well to avoid a crisis at the end.  I baked one cake in a glass dish and the other in a tin dish, and both came out just the same.  

Layer the dish with your topping, first evenly coating the bottom with the melted butter then adding an even layer of the brown sugar.  Press in your strawberries (for this I found that an overlapping design, rather than simple rows, came out better).  Then, spread an even layer of the finely chopped rhubarb, pressing into the sugar as much as possible.

While that's getting nice and gooey, make the cake batter.   First, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer.  Add in one egg at a time and then the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and baking powder).  In the mixer, alternate incorporating portions of the flour and the yogurt until the batter comes together (I did this in three rounds of flour then yogurt). 

Finally, stir in the floured rhubarb gently.  Spread this on top of the toppings in the pan, but don't worry about making this too even.  The batter is thick so I ended up sort of using my hands to dab and spread the batter as evenly as I could without disturbing the toppings.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil and bake for another 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan, on a rack, for about 5 minutes.  Placing a plate or board on top of the pan, flip the cake and it should fall out of the pan pretty easily.  Allow to cool before cutting.

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