Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Rhubarb season is something I anxiously await every year.  To say that it is a unique plant is an understatement, and I'm amazed at the number of people who have never eaten, or even seen it!   Nearly every Midwestern country garden has some, and it lives for literally generations.  This is one of my favorite rhubarb recipes!  It doesn't take long to whip up, either, so there are no excuses for not trying it.  Top it with a puff of whipped cream, or drizzle a little heavy cream over the top if you don't want to bother with whipping it.  Yum!  (See this video for more about rhubarb!)

3 ounces (6 T.) butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

3 cups rhubarb, ends removed, sliced on the bias into 1/2-inch slices

1/2 cup soft butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 3/4 cups cake flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cups milk

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees

Place a 10 1/2-inch cast iron skillet on a burner over low heat.  Melt the 3-ounces of butter.  Using a pastry brush, dip the melted butter and coat the sides of the pan.  Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter, then stir until the sugar is moistened with butter.  Lay the rhubarb over the butter-sugar mixture in a single layer, laying them flat, it will be a tight fit, you may have to overlap a few of the pieces.  Keep the skillet over the lowest heat possible while making the cake batter.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup butter in the bowl of a mixer.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until very smooth.

Place a sieve over a bowl and add the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Sift into the bowl, then whisk until well combined.

Add all of the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, and half of the milk.  Mix briefly, then stream in the remaining milk.  Beat for about one more minute, until very smooth and well-combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all is well-incorporated.

Remove the skillet from the burner, then scoop the batter over the top of the rhubarb mixture.  Smooth with an offset spatula. 

Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed lightly.  Remove from the oven and run a small knife around the edge of the skillet, then let stand for 3 minutes.

Place a large serving plate over the top of the skillet and flip the whole thing over.  Leave the skillet on the plate for about 2 minutes, until all the rhubarb separates from the skillet.  Remove the skillet.

Serve warm with whipped cream, ice cream, or a drizzle of heavy cream.

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