Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Up Side- Strawberry-Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

The weather finally got warm here, and I was all set to make a strawberry-rhubarb pie for the weekend, but then I saw this recipe and decided to try something a little different. The recipe was originally for a rhubarb upside-down cake, but I adapted it to include strawberries for sweetness and color. Rhubarb is a little too tart for my taste. The cake is moist and delicious- a dense cake, but not quite as heavy as a pound cake. I didn't know what to expect, but it actually exceeded my expectations.  It won't take the place of a fresh fruit pie for me, but it is a good alternative for a summer dessert.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
adapted from Melissa Clark, NY Times, 5/25/2011

20 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 pound rhubarb, rinsed and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1 /2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
zest of 1 lemon, grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

     Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.  Butter the paper and the sides of the pan. Wrap two layers of foil under the pan, and place it on a buttered baking sheet.
     In a medium bowl, mix rhubarb, strawberries, cornstarch and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.  Mix the brown sugar and 4 tablespoons butter in a pan over medium heat.  Whisk until smooth and bubbling, about 2 minutes.  In a separate bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
     In a mixer with a paddle attachment, whip 16 tablespoons butter for 2 minutes.  With your fingers, blend the remaining 1 cup of granulated sugar with lemon zest until the mixture is uniform in color.  Cream together with the butter at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl about halfway through.  Add the vanilla and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Mix in the creme fraiche and then the lemon juice.  On low speed, add the flour mix, 1/4 cup at a time until well combined.  Scrape down the mixer bowl after each addition.
     Pour the brown-sugar mixture into the cake pan and then spoon in strawberry-rhubarb mix and its juices. Spoon over the batter so it covers all the fruit.  Smooth out the top.  Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the top of the cake is firm to touch and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out without any large, moist crumbs.  Place the pan on a wire rack and cool 15 minutes.  Rn a knife around the cake, place a plate on top of the pan and turn it upside-down. Release the springform while still warm. Peel off parchment paper. Serve at room temperature. ((post by Susan))