Saturday was our first farmers' market up on the square and I was there before it was officially open. I needed to make sure we got asparagus and rhubarb. This is the first spring here that we have not already consumed as much asparagus as possible. We were ready! I should have taken my camera! The sun was shining and, to get to my favorite farmer, I had to pass through herbs and blooming plants that lined the way. I knew Linda had saved two of her magnificent ferns for our porch and I quickly spied another basket of blooms to accompany them. Two Thai basil plants and another sage were added to my basket. The asparagus was unloaded from her truck, along with the rhubarb. Both were worth the wait. All of the produce is grown at Le Gardens and driven less than fifteen miles to us. Fresh!!
With both stalks safely in my basket, I relaxed and chatted with neighbors--some hadn't been sighted during the winter of the Polar Vortex. We were all still a little pale!! Andrew and Oliver joined us after their walk, Oliver hoping for the stall that had homemade doggie treats. No luck!
Fast forward to Sunday dinner. Andrew had this recipe from the Chicago Tribune waiting for fresh rhubarb. We've had quite a few delicious cakes and cobblers featuring rhubarb. I believe this is one of the best. The lemon zest was quite evident and refreshing. I've made a note that I think it would be good with orange zest as well. I hope you'll give it a try while the rhubarb season is upon us.
Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
4 cups rhubarb rather finely chopped
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup regular sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, softened plus an additional Tbsp for the pan
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk
350 degree oven
1. Toss together the rhubarb, brown sugar, 1/3 cup reg. sugar (save rest for batter) and 1 tsp lemon zest (save rest for batter).
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and remaining 1/3 cup of sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, remaining lemon zest and the vanilla. Stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture just until combined, add half the milk, until combined and continue with the rest of the milk and flour ending with the flour. Do not over mix.
4. Generously butter a 9-inch cake pan. Spoon in the rhubarb mixture with any collected juices and spread. Add the batter and carefully smooth out.
5. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean--about 35 minutes. Cool for ten minutes. Run a spatula around the edge of the pan and place the cake on a platter rhubarb side up.