This is the sort of cake you should bring to a new neighbor or serve after a casual meal with friends. Not too elaborate, not too big but impressively delicious.

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is how it connects me with friends and acquaintances creating additional interaction outside of phone calls and gatherings. We are in a busy stage of life juggling work and little kids as are many of my friends. Without having to orchestrate calendars, blogs create interaction on both the writers and readers terms. Some say that online “socializing” makes people more lonely and less personable. For me, it creates a level of connection that I would not otherwise find time for.

After reading my recent Strawberry Rhubarb Compote post, my friend Marla emailed me this recipe for rhubarb upside-down cake. A co-worker of hers brought it to their office and it disappeared in short order. Because Marla also had two little kids and works full time, we don’t see each other often. I was warmed to know she had been reading Whipped and was tickled that she forwarded the recipe along with a positive review.

The concept of an upside-down cake appeals to me. My last bag of frozen rhubarb was just enough to sprinkle around the bottom of the pan.  Tart, chopped rhubarb mingling with butter and sugar under a bed of batter forming a sweet, tart topping to the cake? Almost romantic.

Separating the eggs and whipping the whites was a little fussy. Because I used whole wheat flour, the cake was still somewhat dense but I loved the nutty flavor and crumb of the cake. Though the cake was best warm, it also went down easy the next day alongside a cup of coffee. If you really want to treat yourself, add a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Rhubarb Upside-down Cake
Adapted from Taste of Home
Serves 8-10

2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
4 teaspoons sugar

6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Whipped cream for serving, optional

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and melted butter. Spread into a greased 9 inch round baking pan. Layer with rhubarb; sprinkle with sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Separate eggs and beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.

In a small, clean bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold into creamed mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time. Gently spoon batter over rhubarb.

Bake at 325° for 50-60 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm with whipped cream if desired.

Note about frozen rhubarb: If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander over a bowl, but do not press liquid out. You can reserve liquid that drained to make rhubarb simple syrup for use in cocktails!