Strawberry-Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Here in Vancouver, after what was looking to be a miserable, wet, rainy spring, we suddenly turned a corner about a week ago, and the weather became warm and sunny.

My mood instantly improves about 400% and my thoughts turned to gardening and baking with spring ingredients.

Rhubarb, which I believe is deeply under appreciated, is very seasonal right now. This cake is a take on the traditional Pineapple upside-down cake that your mom may have made from the Betty Crocker cookbook. The cake is a dense, lemony pound cake, and when you flip it, it bathes itself in a rich brown butter sauce and soft, sweet strawberries and rhubarb. It’s a bit of work, but hey–how many times a year will you make something like this??


Strawberry-Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake


For the strawberry-rhubarb:

  • 3 stalks of rhubarb, topped/tailed, washed, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1/2 container of strawberries, washed, stemmed, and sliced (about a cup?)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsps cornstarch

For the brown butter:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

For the cake:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Start by tossing the strawberries and the rhubarb with the sugar and cornstarch all together in a bowl. Let it sit and macerate while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
  • Line a 9″ square pan with parchment. You could also try using an air-tight 9″ springform pan. Grease everything well–sticking is not an option with this cake!
  • Melt the butter and brown sugar together in a small saucepan, until they are incorporated. Pour the brown butter into the bottom of your cake pan.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter until it’s smooth. In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest in with the sugar, and then add it to the butter. Beat until it is light and fluffy. Next add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time. Finally add the sour cream and lemon juice.
  • In another bowl (sorry about all the dishes!!), mix the flour together with the baking powder and salt. Then slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, mix the flour into the wet batter.
  • Give your strawberry-rhubarb mixture a good stir, and then layer it into your cake pan over the brown butter. Spread it out into an even layer.
  • Glob the cake mix on top.
  • Fire the whole thing in the oven for about 40-45 minutes at 350. Cake is done when a skewer or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs.
  • Take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool on the counter top.
  • When you are able to handle it, run a knife around the outside edges of the cake to loosen, and then place a large plate on top of the cake, and, holding the plate and the cake pan firm and steady, flip the whole thing upside-down so that the plate is on the bottom. Carefully remove the cake pan and parchment, slice, and enjoy! This is really good served warm.

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  1. Susan Weiss says:

    Oh my goodness! I am sharing this recipe with my 86 year old Aunt; she just loves the Strawberry-Rhubarb combo!
    Thanks for sharing Rebecca!

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