In this rhubarb upside-down cake recipe, tart fresh rhubarb is topped with a very sweet and simple homemade cake!

Baked until golden, this cake is fluffy and moist with an incredibly fresh topping that has the perfect amount of sweetness and tartness. This is bound to be an all-time favorite rhubarb dessert yet!

piece of Rhubarb Upside Down Cake on a plate with a fork and ice cream on top

What is Upside Down Cake?

Upside-down cake refers to the method of making the cake. The fruit topping (in this case, the rhubarb), is added to the bottom of a cake pan.

Then the cake mix is poured over the top and then cooked. For the final step, the cake is flipped out of the pan so that the hot and sweet fruit filling is on the top!

This is an extra moist cake with lots of rhubarb flavor.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake on a serving plate

An Easy Upside Down Cake

  • With just a little prep, it is so easy to bake this homemade cake.
  • Made with pantry ingredients you likely have on hand this cake is so moist.
  • Tart rhubarb is mixed with some sugar and butter so that it reaches the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
  • Topped with a homemade cake that is moist and fluffy, it will be hard not to reach for seconds!
ingredients assembled to make rhubarb upside down cake including rhubarb, sugar, flour, and butter.

Ingredients

RHUBARB: If picking rhubarb, twist the stalks off and be sure to discard the leaves. If buying these pinkish stalks at grocery stores or a farmer’s market, they should be crisp (not limp) and should snap easily. If rhubarb isn’t in season, then use frozen rhubarb.

CAKE: The cake mix for this recipe is a simple cake from scratch.

A little butter (unsalted & room temperature), sugar, all purpose flour, milk, and eggs are just a few of the easy-to-find ingredients. Not much time on your hands? Replace the homemade cake with a boxed cake mix.

VARIATIONS: Add some sliced strawberries to the rhubarb for a sweeter fruit topping. Add some lemon or orange zest.

Process of making rhubarb upside down cake

How to Make Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

This sweet and decadent cake just sings spring and is so easy to bake!

  1. Chop the rhubarb and toss with flour.
  2. Add butter and sugar to a pan and arrange rhubarb overtop.
  3. Prepare the cake batter (as per the recipe below) and spread over the rhubarb.
  4. Bake. Let cool slightly and flip upside down.

Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and serve warm or room temperature.

Steps showing how to make Rhubarb Upside Down cake

Storage and Leftovers

Rhubarb cake will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. Cover and keep in an air-tight container.

It also freezes very well. Let cool, wrap, and then store in the freezer and have ready for when guests are on their way over.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake on a plate

Got Rhubarb in the Garden?

Did your family love this Rhubarb Upside Down Cake? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

piece of Rhubarb Upside Down Cake with a fork and ice cream on top
5 from 30 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Fresh rhubarb is topped with a simple moist cake and baked until golden!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients  

  • 3 cups fresh rhubarb 2-3 medium stalks, chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup butter melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Batter

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice + zest from lemon
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • cup milk

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Toss rhubarb & flour in a small bowl.
  • Pour ¼ cup melted butter into a 9" round pan. Top with brown sugar. Arrange the rhubarb mixture on the brown sugar. Set aside.

Batter

  • Combine sugar & melted butter. Stir in egg & lemon juice.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, lemon zest, & a pinch of salt.
  • Add flour mixture alternately with the milk to the butter mixture. Stir just until combined.
  • Spread the batter over the rhubarb mixture and bake 32-36 minutes or just until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool in the pan 15-20 minutes. Run a knife along the edge of the cake and invert onto a platter. Serve warm with ice cream if desired.

Notes

To add strawberries, reduce the rhubarb to 2 1/2 cups and add 1 1/2 cups of fresh strawberries. Toss the berries with the flour/sugar mixture and proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.
It is important to wait 15 minutes before turning the cake over to allow the topping to set.
Leftover cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days. 
To freeze: Let cool, wrap, and then store in the freezer for up to 2 months. 
5 from 30 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 357 | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 125mg | Potassium: 364mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 460IU | Vitamin C: 31.4mg | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 1.7mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American

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piece of Rhubarb Upside Down Cake on a plate with iced cream and writing
Rhubarb Upside Down Cake on a plate with a fork and writing
ingredients to make Rhubarb Upside Down Cake and a piece of Rhubarb Upside Down Cake on a plate with a title

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. I did not actually make this recipe, but provided it to my sister who grows rhubarb and has it coming out of her ears. She reported that the Rhubarb Upside Down Cake was delicious .. the only problem was that her rhubarb was a little stringy … which happens later in the year. I’m going to point her to the other recipes that use rhubarb .. they all look delish! Thank you Holly .. your recipes are my favorites!5 stars

    1. Hi Stella! You definitely can, I would suggest thawing and draining the rhubarb first so your dish doesn’t turn out too watery.

  2. I only have an 8″ round or a 9″ square pan, what your be your recommendation of those two options to cook this cake, and how much would it affect the cooking time? I lean toward the 8″ round, but not sure if the fruit/batter amounts would make it spill over? Would appreciate your advice.

    1. I’d recommend using the same size, even if it is a different shape, as the volume is correct for that type of pan, so would suggest the 9 inch pan. Enjoy the cake Lee!

  3. I made this today for Father’s Day! It turned out so wonderful. A bit tart and a bit sweet! Everyone loved it. This is a keeper!
    Too bad I can’t post a picture of mine!5 stars

  4. Is it a full lemon juiced? I got 3 tablespoons, the ingredients say 1 lemon. Then the instructions say 1 tablespoon, thanks!

    1. For this recipe, we use 1 tablespoon of the juiced lemon in step 3 and the zest from a whole lemon in step 4 Dani.

    1. Hi Bevy, we haven’t tried it but I would think it would work. I would suggest thawing and draining the rhubarb first so your dish doesn’t turn out watery.

  5. This came out absolutely fantastic!! I only used rhubarb because I just love rhubarb, all else the same. This recipe is a keeper for life!!5 stars

  6. Hi!…I love your recipes…..and this one has me yearning for rhubarb to grow!…..but while I am waiting I decided to try a different approach….I had a can of Blueberry Pie filling so decided to try it with this…I added a 1/4cup of water to the filling so it would not dry out….and it was perfect..now the flavour possibilities are enlarged…….my hubby really enjoyed it….Thanks again.5 stars

  7. I have made this recipe 4 times now. It’s delicious, but doesn’t seem to cook the batter completely in the centre in the allotted time. Should I try a larger baking tin? I’ve extended the time by 20 minutes, but wondering if there is another solution.

  8. Can this be made with just rhubarb for those who cannot eat strawberries? Just increase the amount of sugar?

    1. Hi!….my hubby won’t eat cooked strawberries ….so I pair my rhubarb with cherries either fresh when they are season …frozen….or canned…..they taste great together..
      Enjoy!!

    1. I haven’t tried it but I would think it would work. I would suggest thawing and draining the rhubarb first so your dish doesn’t turn out watery.

    1. Only if the outside is really tough. I usually wash it and trim the ends. Once you’ve trimmed the ends, you can try “peeling” the edge like you would celery. If it’s tough it will come right off!