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Rhubarb Strawberry
Upside Down Cake


Posted by Denise on July 19, 2011

rhubarb strawberry upside down cake on plate 1

 This Rhubarb Strawberry Upside Down Cake is as delicious as it is beautiful.

Rhubarb is one of those foods that people either love or hate. Glenn and I grew up in the Midwest and had rhubarb a lot growing up. There were times where rhubarb seemed as abundant as zucchini when it is in season in the summer months. People come up with yummy ways to use rhubarb to keep from being overrun with the sour, juicy stems.

Rhubarb grows in a clump of red stems and large leaves. Imagine celery stalks that are red instead of green, supporting large, somewhat triangular, dark green leaves on top. Rhubarb is a perennial, withering to the ground after the first frost and pushing back out again from underground  rhizomes in Spring. The rhizomes take a couple of years to develop into a large enough mass to have enough stalks to harvest. Once harvested, the ruby stems lend a tart, clean flavor to many dishes including pies, crumbles, cakes, and sauces. Rhubarb pairs well with other fruit flavors, especially strawberry and peach.

The recipe today is for a cake made with rhubarb and strawberry (strawberry Jello to be exact). Rhubarb has quite a bit of liquid in it, so the cake turns out extremely moist. I chose this recipe because we wanted something sweet with rhubarb in it, but I was tired and didn’t have much time. This recipe is so easy that I was able to make it in about 10 minutes and relax (Yeah, right, I really did about 8 other things, I’m a mom, wife, and work full time. J) while it baked up. You can tell by the photo that it rose better on the sides and sank a little in the middle, but it sure tasted great and looked really pretty when we served it!

Wash the rhubarb before cutting it, then cut the two ends off. Some parts of the plant, such as the leaves, are toxic and should not be used in cooking. The red stem is completely edible. Dice it into small pieces for this recipe.

By the way, rhubarb doesn’t do well in Florida. It must be too hot in the spring or not cold long enough in the winter for it to rest properly or a combination of things, but we tried to grow it and it just doesn’t work here. So when we recently made a quick trip to Iowa, we made sure to pick some up. Most of the local rhubarb wasn’t ready to be picked yet, so we settled for some we found in the supermarket. We were just happy to have found it. We sure enjoyed this cake and hope that you do, too.



Rhubarb Strawberry Upside Down Cake

Makes 8-12 servings


rhubarb strawberry upside down cake ingredients 




4      cups rhubarb, diced into small chunks

1      small box strawberry Jello

1      cup sugar (or a little less if the rhubarb is not very tart)

4      cups miniature  marshmallows

1      yellow cake mix, prepared according to box directions (you will likely
        need 2 to 3 eggs, some water and oil to complete the cake mix)




1.    Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.    In a lightly greased 9” x 11” cake pan, spread the diced rhubarb on the bottom. Pour the sugar evenly over the rhubarb.

slicing rhubarb           4 cups of rhubarb slices

 rhubarb and sugar in cake pan


3.    Layer the strawberry Jello over the sugar, then spread the marshmellows evenly over it.

strawberry Jello over rhubarb and sugar

adding marshmellows to rhubarb layers


4.    Prepare the yellow cake mix, then pour the cake mix evenly over everything in the pan, making sure to get the mix into the corners, too.

cake mix over rhubarb layers 


5.    Place into the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the cake is golden brown on top and a toothpick poked into the middle of the cake comes out clean. If the cake is not done, the toothpick will come out with batter on it instead of crumbs. Don’t be fooled by the fact that the center of the cake shakes like it is still liquid when you move the cake. Remember it has Jello in it and Jello wiggles! If the toothpick comes out clean with no batter coating it, the cake is done.

baked rhubarb strawberry upside down cake 


6.    Let the cake cool briefly. If you try to cut it and flip it right away, you will end up with a broken mess. Once the cake has cooled some, cut it into pieces. Carefully ease a spatula under the first slice and lift it out of the pan. Using the plate you want the cake to be eaten from, place the plate on top of the slice and flip the plate and cake over using the spatula to hold it in place during the flip. Viola! You have just made a beautiful, delish upside down cake. Dig in and enjoy!

 rhubarb strawberry upside down cake on pink plate 1



rhubarb strawberry upside down cake on blue plate




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