Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake


Strawberry picking has long been a tradition in my family — from the time I was a little girl. And it’s something that I’ve carried on with my kids.

Paige Will Berries

Recently, I came across a photo of my daughter Paige standing in a strawberry field, staring up at the camera. In it, at a little more than 18-months-old, her smiling face wore sticky red juices — evidence of all the berries she’d been eating while we were berry picking that year. Behind her, my son Will, then almost 4-years-old, was busy picking berries — and probably eating them too.

Now 7-years-old, Paige still loves berries of all kinds.

When my kids were very little, we went strawberry picking every June with friends. Some years, the fields were muddy. Others, the bright sun beat down on us. Regardless of the weather though, it was always worth it for the smiles, laughs and heaping containers of berries we’d leave with.

Many of those berries would find their way into our bellies. We’d snack on them for days, at meals and in between too. But some would also go into batches of strawberry jam that I’d can for the winter months. Others would get frozen. And a select few would be pureed and cooked down into strawberry sauce.

However, none of them during those years ever got paired with rhubarb. In fact, until a few weeks ago, I’d never even had rhubarb. In fact, until I started testing this recipe, my kids hadn’t had rhubarb either.

Yes, I’m serious.

That all changed when I tried Wild Cow Creamery‘s Strawberry Rhubarb ice cream. The ice cream truck, which is parked on the Bangor Waterfront for the summer, has quickly become a favorite stop for my kids and I. That sweet-tart combination is too good to pass up.

With strawberry season about to begin in Maine, now’s the perfect time to experiment with the classic (but new to me!) combination of strawberry rhubarb.

Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

This recipe combines a favorite, light, moist cake recipe — it’s vanilla-scented and so easy to whip up using just one bowl — with a buttery, sweet strawberry-rhubarb layer on the bottom of the cake.

It’s great hot from the oven, when the golden exterior forms a crisp crust that hides the tender inside. Cut slices and flip them over to reveal the strawberry rhubarb underbelly. But it’s also great cooled, if you prefer.

However you enjoy it — hot or cooled — the combination of sweet-tart, buttery, vanilla-y goodness is always a winner.
Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake recipe

Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1½ cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup quartered strawberries
  • 1 cup chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour the melted butter into a 9x13-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ cup sugar. Add the strawberries and rhubarb, sprinkling them all over the pan to evenly distribute them.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir vigorously to combine, about 2 minutes (until smooth). Pour the batter into the pan, evenly distributing it over the fruit.
  3. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out cleanly. Enjoy hot from the oven or cool, if desired. Cut into squares to serve.


Sarah Walker Caron

About Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is editor of Bangor Metro magazine and senior features editor for the Bangor Daily News. She is the author of "The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook," (Sept. 2018, Rockridge Press) and the co-author of "Grains as Mains: Modern Recipes Using Ancient Grains" (March 2015, DK). Her recipes have appeared in the BDN, Betty Crocker publications, and more. She also writes about food at