Recently, my siblings and I were talking about the rhubarb upside-down cake our grandma used to make us as kids.  It was just the right mix of sweet and sour and the mere mention of it brings back sweet summer memories on our grandparents’ farm.  None of us had ever thought to ask her how she made it, but we knew it was not much more complicated than a regular, boxed yellow-cake mix and fresh rhubarb.  After doing some internet searching and a little experimenting, I came up with this fun, couldn’t-be-easier recipe.  Not quite a traditional upside-down cake like Gran’s, it has a perfectly tart, sweet, creamy “sauce” on the bottom, and the top is an almost-crispy, fluffy cake.  It makes about sixteen 260-calorie servings.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 boxed yellow-cake mix (or your favorite homemade cake recipe), prepared according to box/recipe directions
  • 2 lbs. fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/4-1/2-inch pieces
  • About 1 c. sugar
  • About 2 c. fat-free half-and-half (if you’re not watching your diet, you could use regular half and half or heavy whipping cream.)

This starts out just like any other cake recipe.  First, preheat the oven to 350.  Grease a 9×13 pan with cooking/baking spray or butter and flour and pour in your prepared cake mix.

Sprinkle your rhubarb pieces over the top of the cake batter until it is completely covered.  Next, pour the sugar over the rhubarb, just covering it all.  If you prefer more tartness use a little less sugar.  Finally, pour the half-and-half over the whole thing, covering fruit, and sugar all the way to the edges of the pan.  Here’s the cool part: the fruit, sugar, and half-and-half will sink to the bottom, forming the delicious sauce.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until the cake is golden brown and looks crispy around the edges.  A toothpick will come out mostly clean.

Enjoy this on a hot summer afternoon, perhaps with a little vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, and picture yourself—or place yourself—under a big, shady oak tree in the yard.  Your grandma would want you to.

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