A recipe for rhubarb and star anise upside down cake by claire thompson

Food and making things with my hands is still very much getting me through lockdown - and so, I'm sharing another recipe from one of my favourite cooks and authors.

My dear friend kindly left a bundle of rhubarb from her garden on our doorstep and it was destined for cake! A while ago I had earmarked a recipe by Claire Thomson (aka the 5'oclock apron) for an upside-down rhubarb cake and upon baking, it was simple, foolproof and absolutely delicious I feel compelled to share!

Just a note on Claire, while I'm writing - she is a fantastic cook, clearly with a natural ability for flavours and technique. Her food is often using up leftovers, or ingredients you'll find in your cupboard with a focus on family meals (she has three girls), but delicious ones, without compromise. Her books are the ones I have found myself turning to over and over throughout these last few weeks while we try to use everything we can and limit shopping trips, it's opened my mind to a new way of cooking. I've discovered recipes I will treasure and use in some form or another for years to come no doubt. She has a number of cookery books, but you can follow her on Instagram where she is generous with her recipes, sharing something most days - if she isn't on your radar already, she should be! 

Here's the recipe...

recipe for rhubarb upside down cake

Rhubarb and star anise upside down cake

Ingredients ~ serves 6 - 8

80g diced unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing
140g soft brown sugar
3 whole star anise
250g (2-3 stalks) rhubarb, cut into 5cm pieces
150g caster sugar
175g plain flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
150ml sunflower oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten


    ~ Grease a 24cm springform cake tin with a little butter and line with greaseproof paper.

    ~ Preheat the oven to 180C

    ~ Scatter the brown sugar and butter over the bottom of the lined tin and put in the oven for 5 minutes.

    ~ Remove from the oven and press the raw rhubarb and star anise into the melted butter and sugar in the tin.

    ~ Mix the sugar, flour, baking powder and ground ginger in a large bowl, then beat in the oil and eggs. Pour the batter over the rhubarb in the tin and return the cake tin to the oven for about 55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

    ~ Allow the cake to cool a bit before turning upside down onto a plate.

    Claire Thomson has kindly given permission for me to reproduce and share this recipe.

    recipe for rhubarb upside down cake

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    June 17, 2020 — Alice Paling