Looking for a dessert or sweet coffee accompaniment that includes some of the rhubarb and strawberries so common this time of the year? Here is a cake/coffee cake/English style pudding that, along with some added apple, brings out the best of these spring fruits, with a cake layer that ends up being almost like a shortcake with the fruit baked in.
The cake itself is very basic and quick to stir up but it is quite tender. It is much easier to cut and serve if it is allowed to sit for several hours or overnight. If you do want to enjoy it warm, you may want to serve it in flat bowls, somewhat like a pudding. Ice cream, of course, is a wonderful addition, melting gently into the tender cake. Warm or cold, this will be a great treat for your family or friends.
Rhubarb Apple and Strawberry Upside Down Cake
1/4 c butter
1 c chopped rhubarb
1 1/2 c red skinned apple, cored and chopped but not peeled (2 medium apples)
1 c diced strawberries
2/3 c sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 c butter, softened
1/4 c canola oil
1 1/4 c sugar
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
2 t baking powder
2/3 c milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter for the fruit layer in the bottom of a 9 X 13 (or 1l inch square) pan while the oven is heating.
2. Stir the fruits, sugar, and cinnamon into the melted butter and spread evenly in the pan. Set aside.
3. Beat together the butter, oil, vanilla, and sugar until well creamed. Stir in the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition.
4. Sift the flour and baking powder together and add alternately to the butter and sugar mixture with the milk. Beat until smooth after each addition.
5. Spread the batter evenly over the fruit, making sure it reaches to the edges of the pan.
6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center (only through the cake part, not into the fruit) comes out clean.
7. Remove from oven and let sit in the pan for only 2 to 3 minutes before inverting on the tray or plate on which the cake will be served. Use a silicon scraper to remove any of the topping that has stuck to the pan and spread evenly over the hot cake. (Do this quickly, as the topping begins to harden as it cools, making it harder to spread.)
Have you ever wondered about...
"Adding dry and wet ingredients alternately?"
Many cake and some coffee cake or quick bread recipes may include instructions to add the sifted flour and other dry ingredients "alternately" with milk or whatever liquid is in the recipe. If you see this in the instructions, here is what you need to do:
Sift about a third of the dry ingredients into the batter to this point. Stir and then add about half of the liquid. Repeat with another third of the dry ingredients, then the rest of the liquid and finally the rest of the dry ingredients. Dry, wet, dry, wet, dry. It's a pretty easy process to remember and you don't have to be really exact about doing this. The reason for following this process is to be sure that the mixture is evenly and well mixed without over-beating.
Some added thoughts:
While the fruit layer could be topped with a cake layer made from a white or yellow cake mix, this "made from scratch" recipe is really quite simple to make and is less sweet (and artifically flavored), allowing the fruit flavors to really predominate. However, if that's all you have time for, you can give that a shot instead.
Be warned: The cake as a whole is not a picture perfect layer cake kind of dessert. You could probably take time to cut the fruits in larger pieces and arrange them carefully, like the old-fashioned pineapple upside down cakes many of us grew up with. However, the smaller pieces of fruit allow a much better blending of flavors. Once it is cut and put on plates, it shows off its fruit and cake layers nicely even without that extra picky step.
Cuts into this when served...
(and don't forget the ice cream or whipped topping!)