Fresh Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

"I adopted this delicious recipe from the Zaar database a few years ago. Who wouldn't love a Julia recipe? :) Recipe can be made in a large cast iron pan or smaller individual cake pans. Source: "Baking with Julia""
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  • Recipe will fit a cast Iron pan 12 inches across at the top.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350oF.
  • Brush the insides of 8 mini-or baby cake pans, each 4 inches across and 1 inch deep, with a light coating of melted butter, dust with flour, and tap out the excess (skip this step if using a large cast iron pan).
  • Whisk or stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together just to blend; reserve.
  • In a separate bowl, stir the vanilla into the creme fraiche and set aside until needed.
  • Melt the 1/2 stick of butter in a heavy skillet (or use the cast iron pan).
  • Add the brown sugar and bourbon and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the sugar melts.
  • Stir in the pecans to coat with the caramel and turn off the heat.
  • Divide the caramel evenly among the pans, working quickly to get it to the edges of the pans before it sets- step unnecessary if using a large cast iron pan (cooked sugar cools rapidly).
  • Arrange the rhubarb in circles over the sugar, and set aside while you make the batter.
  • Put the remaining stick of butter and the granulated sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or use a hand-held mixer, and beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  • The butter and sugar must be beaten until they are light, fluffy, and pale, so don't rush it- the process can take 3 to 4 minutes with a heavy-duty mixer and 6 to 8 minutes with a hand-held mixer.
  • Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Working with a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the dry ingredients and the creme fraiche alternately- 3 additions of dry ingredients, 2 of creme fraiche.
  • You'll end up with a thick batter.
  • Spoon the batter over rhubarb and smooth the tops by rotating the pans while you run a rubber spatula over the batter.
  • Put the pans on a jelly-roll pan and bake for 20 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean (test a couple of the cakes to be certain).
  • As soon as the cakes are removed from the oven, turn them out of their pans onto a rack.
  • Storing the Cake- The cakes can be kept wrapped in plastic at room temperature overnight.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I agree with Astrid! We LOVED this cake, which I found easy to make. I used a 12 inch skillet, more rhubarb(probably around 16 oz.) and more pecans. It unmolded easily, but some of the caramel remained in the pan and I scraped it and dabbed around the top of the cake. Definitely a winner!
  2. Wonderful cake! Very nice balance between tartness /sourness of the rhubarb and the sweetness of the cake. The creme fraiche gives a very nice flavor and texture to the cake. I used more rhubarb than stated in the recipe, also the 4 stalks I used ended up weighing almost 16oz.


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