Upside Down Rhubarb and Lemon Cake

Rhubarb is currently basking in it’s all it’s seasonal glory and there’s no better time to make the most of it. A couple of weeks ago, I visited the lovely Libby and Will O’Connell who, along with their little girl Ava, have a wonderful country store not far from Clonmel (Old Barracks in Lisronagh). They grow and sell fabulous seasonal produce as well as home baking and you know their vegetables and fruit could not possibly be fresher. Picked from the ground there and then, I got some beautiful pink stalks and began thinking about what I might do with them. I love rhubarb crumble so that was a definite possibility but the more I thought about it I wanted to do something that would retain the gorgeous juices that are sometimes lost at the bottom of the dish. Thinking the gravity factor of the upside down cake would facilitate the infiltration of juices through the sponge, I came up with this recipe. I had some stray lemons and while lemons and rhubarb are both very tart, the two flavours (with a little tinkering with some sugar and bread soda) are wonderful companions*. This would be lovely for afternoon tea or with some fresh custard would make a lovely dessert on Easter Sunday.

* Thank you to my Auntie Pat for the bread soda tip!

Ingredients:
200g butter or margarine
200g sugar
4 eggs
200g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
120mls milk
Zest and juice of one large lemon
6-7 medium stalks of rhubarb, washed and chopped into chunks
2 tablespoons sugar (for the rhubarb, separate to the sugar for the cake mixture)
1 teaspoon breadsoda (sodium bicarbonate)

A 12 inch cake tin with removable bottom, greased and lined with baking paper.

1. In a bowl, place the rhubarb, lemon juice, bread soda and the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. For the cake mixture: in a large bowl using a hand mixer cream the butter/margarine and sugar until pale and fluffy.
3. Add one egg and beat well into the creamed butter and sugar. Repeat with the other 3 eggs making sure each egg is well beaten in before adding the next.
4. Sieve in the flour and baking powder. Add the lemon zest and the milk.
5. Using the hand mixer on a low speed, make sure the mixture is well combined.
6. In the bottom of the lined cake tin, add the rhubarb and juice.
7. Gently tip in the cake mixture on top of the rhubarb. Gently tap the tin on a table to remove any air pockets. Smooth over the top of the cake mixture.
8. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
9. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 to 10 minutes. Place a large plate on top of the tin and quickly turn the tin upside down, allowing the cake to drop onto the plate. Carefully remove the bottom of the tin from the rhubarb end of the cake and carefully peel off the baking paper.
10. Serve warm with custard for a lovely dessert or with tea or coffee.

Happy Easter xxx

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