When in Doubt…Leave it at 350

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Tuesdays With Dorie: Fresh Rhubarb Upside-Down Baby Cakes May 7, 2013

Filed under: Baking With Julia,Cake,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 6:00 am
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This weeks Tuesdays With Dorie is being hosted by



Once I found out I was hosting I knew that I had to hurry up and bake the cakes because I currently as of Friday, May 3, 2013, I looked like this.


So, in this picture I am 37 weeks and 2 days pregnant, but as of the posting I will be 37 weeks and 6 days. Unless I happen to have this little girl by then, which is very possible since I had Emma at 37 weeks and 5 days. Now you see why I was in a hurry to get on top of this because I have been waiting to host and this baby could come at any moment 🙂

UPDATE The doctor actually said they modified my due date and It was never mentioned to me, so in the picture I am actually 38 weeks and 6 days and as of the posting 39 weeks and 3 days. Still waiting on this little girl. UPDATE

I have been planning on making the recipe a few weeks early, but I was actually unable to find rhubarb until a few days ago. I was thinking about using apples because that is what we had in the house, and then Mike showed up with 3 HUGE stalks of rhubarb and all was not lost. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to make 8 baby cakes because I only had 4 small cake pans, which just happened to be 4-inch pans and they were springform (cheesecake pans). I decided I would make 4 baby cakes and use the rest of the batter and make one 8-inch round cake.

Large Rhubarb Cake Fresh Rhubarb Upside-down Baby Cakes

Source: Baking With Julia, pages 244-246

Makes 8 small cakes

Here’s a tender, soft-crumbed butter cake, a classic of the genre, made as individual upside-down cakes. The baby cake pans, each four inches across (see Sources, page 467), are lined with a mixture of melted butter, brown sugar, and pecans and decorated with slices of rhubarb before the bourbon-boosted butter cake batter is poured in. It is a sassy take on the old pineapple upside-down cake (a cake worthy of revival if made without the once-obligatory maraschino cherry). In fact, there’s nothing sacred about rhubarb; you can vary the fruit as you choose. Try using mangoes, apples or pears, apricots, plums, or bananas, and vary the liqueur or flavoring to match the fruit. (For ideas about making this cake with rose geranium leaves or herbs, turn to page 247.)

If the urge to bake these lovely cakes strikes and you haven’t a set of baby cake pans at hand, make these in muffin tins or custard cups, or make the recipe as one large cake. The batter is perfect for an eleven- or twelve-inch cast-iron skillet or a twelve-inch round cake pan, and turned out, the large cake is impressive.

These baby cakes, as well as the Gingerbread Baby Cakes (page 247), Hazelnut Baby Loaves (page 249), Oven-Roasted Plum Cakes (page 255), Vanilla Pound Cake (page 251), Lemon Loaf Cake (page 252), and the grand and glorious Wedding Cake (page 232), are members of the same large and universally appealing family, the butter cake clan.

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt, preferably kosher or fine sea salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup crème fraîche, homemade (page 447) or store-bought, or sour cream

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (lightly packed) dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon bourbon

2 tablespoons chopped pecans

6 or 7 stalks (12 ounces) fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

Baby Rhubarb CakesMelted butter, for greasing the pans

Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. 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. Whisk or stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together just to blend; reserve. In a separate bowl, stir the vanilla into the crème fraîche and set aside until needed.

Melt the 1/2 stick of butter in a heavy skillet. 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 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 (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 a 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 crème fraîche alternately – 3 additions of dry ingredients, 2 of crème fraîche. You’ll end up with a thick batter.

Baking the Cakes Spoon the batter over the 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 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. (Test a couple of the cakes to be certain.) As soon as the cakes are removed from the over, turn them out of their pans onto a rack.

Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Storing The cakes can be kept wrapped in plastic at room temperature overnight.

Large Upside-down Cake

Make the caramel in a heavy 11- or 12-inch skillet that can go into the oven- cast-iron is ideal for this. Arrange the rhubarb over the caramel, spoon in the batter, and bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes. If you do not have a skillet, butter and flour a 12-inch cake pan, pour in the caramel, top with the rhubarb and batter, and bake. If, when you turn out the cake, some of the caramel and fruit sticks to the bottom of the pan, scrape it onto the top of the cake, smoothing the top with a blunt knife.

Rose Geranium Upside-down Cake

By varying the batter slightly, you can produce upside-down cakes with a very different look and taste. For making the rose geranium cake, a sage cake (which appears in the photograph on page 219), or any other kind of herb cake, choose plants that have not been sprayed. Butter and flour the cake pans, but do not make the caramel. To prepare the batter, substitute 2 teaspoons of rose water for the vanilla. Arrange a few geranium leaves on the bottom of each pan, spoon in the batter, and bake. The rose geranium or any other baby cakes can be made as a large cake; just use a 12-inch round cake pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.


25 Responses to “Tuesdays With Dorie: Fresh Rhubarb Upside-Down Baby Cakes”

  1. SO glad you got these made before your new baby arrived! Thanks for hosting and best wishes for an easy delivery and a healthy baby 🙂

  2. bakewithamy Says:

    you look great! and so do your cakes!

  3. Cathleen Says:

    Those must have been HUGE stalks of rhubarb! At first glance I thought you had used apple slices. Glad you enjoyed it – I did!
    Congratulations on your upcoming delivery! Hope she comes soon for you.

  4. You look fabulous! I noticed that about the bourbon too. Thank you for hosting!

  5. […] This recipe is hosted by Erin at Pasty Brush. […]

  6. […] Try this recipe! It’s a good one. You can find it here. […]

  7. […] Rhubarb baby cakes are little upside-down cakes featuring a rich almost-shortbread-like cake with a topping of tart rhubarb, sweet caramel and toasty pecans. The recipe is from Baking With Julia, pages 244-246, and can also be found on Erin’s blog, When in Doubt…Leave it at 350. […]

  8. Oh my gosh–all the best to you! Thanks for hosting…this one was tasty. And I agree that it would be good with more summer fruit, too.

  9. Dawn Says:

    Erin, you look adorable!! Best wishes with baby’s arrival!

    Thanks for hosting today!

  10. SandraM Says:

    Looks great! Lucky you having rhubarb. Still a little early here for rhubarb, so I used mango. It is a good cake recipe, will be making it again.
    Thanks for hosting!

  11. Cakelaw Says:

    Your cakes look superb. Best wishes for the borth of your bub.

  12. smarkies Says:

    Best wishes on the baby’s arrival. Thanks for hosting this recipe!

  13. galettista Says:

    Your cakes look delicious. The powdered sugar on the edges is a nice touch. I hope you have an easy delivery and healthy baby. Congratulations!

  14. Such yummy cakes Erin, and such a huge baby bump! Good luck with your new baby girl, and thanks for hosting today!

  15. Thanks for hosting and best wishes for an easy delivery and healthy baby! 🙂

  16. Thanks so much for hosting this week, Erin. Your cake looks fabulous. We loved this recipe a lot. Wishing you all the best for a safe delivery.

  17. […] like eat cake for breakfast. It’s a thing. If you want to try your hand at this one, visit Erin’s blog for the […]

  18. Cher Says:

    Wow – thank you for hosting this week. You are a trooper!
    Hoping all goes well with your delivery and that you get to meet your new little lady very soon!

  19. Teresa Says:

    Thanks for hosting, even though you are so close to your due date. Hope you have an easy time of it! All your cakes look beautiful. This recipe was a keeper for us

  20. Sunshinex2 Says:

    I am so impressed you did this! And congratulations as I see your most recent post! Take care!

  21. spike Says:

    love this recipe. Thanks for hosting despite the other (more important) things you have going on!

  22. […] al revés. Para la receta, consulte Cocinando con Julia  por Dorie Greenspan o lectura Erin Cuando en duda … Déjelo en 350 . Es también aquí . No te olvides de revisar el resto de la TWD […]

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