Monday, May 5, 2014

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake Spiced with Mexican Canela

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!

Some of you miighht be wondering what this freaky sounding cinnamon is exactly. I was recently introduced to this spice by an old friend from culinary school who mailed me some from Nebraska (of all places). This cinnamon is slightly less potent than typical American cinnamon, it also has a slight fruity note and pairs well with sweet OR savory dishes. When finely grated, it has a strong sweet spicy smell, sort of like Red Hots which is awesome! This particular cake is sort of scone-like in texture, making it perfect for the breakfast or afternoon coffee break times.

You can order this spice online HERE or you can use regular cinnamon if you must.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake Spiced with Mexican Canela

Serves 6-8


¾ lb. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1 ½" pieces on an angle
1 ½ cups sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus 6 tbsp. cut into ½" cubes and chilled
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp Mexican Canela
½ cup vegetable shortening
⅓ cup milk
2 eggs
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving (optional)


1. Heat oven to 375°. Combine rhubarb, 1 cup sugar, 4 tbsp. butter, lemon juice, vanilla, and ¼ tsp. salt in a 9" cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is melted and rhubarb is tender and slightly caramelized, 8-10 minutes, there will be a substantial amount of juice left.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together remaining sugar and salt, plus flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add remaining butter and the shortening and, using your fingers, rub into flour mixture to form coarse pea-size pieces. Add milk and eggs and stir until a soft, sticky dough forms.

3.Place spoonfuls of dough over rhubarb mixture and smooth with a nonstick spatula. Bake until the crust is golden and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Warning: you might want to put the skillet on a baking sheet to catch any excess juices.

4.Remove skillet from oven; place a large flat serving platter on top of the skillet and invert quickly and carefully. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream, if you like.

Recipe adapted from Saveur Magazine

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