Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake

Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake | Bread in 5

One of the best indicators that spring is finally here to stay is when my rhubarb plant finally pops above the ground. It is incredibly faithful; no matter how cold the winter was, it never fails to grow again each May. Right now it is out-of-control, as the towering green leaves threaten to take over my entire garden. I’ve been looking for new ways to cook and bake with it, and was intrigued by several rhubarb upside-down cakes I spotted on Pinterest. However, I had a bucket of brioche in my fridge, so instead of mixing up cake batter I simply rolled out my dough and placed it over hot rhubarb and sugar. It was a success: a sweet-tart treat perfect for breakfast, or afternoon snacking.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake | Bread in 5

Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake
We test our recipes with Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour, and for yeast we’ve been using the new Platinum product from Red Star with great results.

1 1/2 pound brioche dough (page 300 of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day) or whole wheat brioche dough
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
a good pinch of salt
(about) 1 pound rhubarb, cut into long pieces, or 1-inch pieces (see below picture for details)

Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake | Bread in 5

Preheat your oven to 375.

Size your rhubarb: If using longer pieces of rhubarb to cover the top of the cake, you may want to piece them to fit the pan (instead of using a specific weight measurement) as shown in the picture above. I used about 6 stalks of rhubarb for this cake. If you’d prefer to use small pieces scattered over the top, use a pound of rhubarb, and cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake | Bread in 5

Melt the butter and sugar together in a 9-10 inch cast iron pan. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and pinch of salt, and stir to combine. Carefully layer the rhubarb over the melted sugar mixture, and let cook until the rhubarb is tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake | Bread in 5

While the rhubarb is cooking, flatten the dough with your hands or a rolling pin, and roll out the brioche into a 9-10 inch circle (you want it to snuggly fit the pan you are using).

Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake | Bread in 5

When the rhubarb is tender, very carefully (the pan is hot!) place the circle of brioche over the top of the cooked rhubarb. Make sure the dough is touching the sides of the pan. Place in the oven and cook for 25-35 minutes, until the brioche is golden brown.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake | Bread in 5

Move the pan to a wire rack, and let the cake sit for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, carefully flip the cake onto a serving platter.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake | Bread in 5

Let the cake cool slightly, and then serve. This cake is best eaten the day it is made.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake | Bread in 5

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8 thoughts on “Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake

  1. It does look perfect for afternoon snacking. I have a pot of rhubharb compote in the pantry that would be perfect for this. Thanks Sarah!

  2. Yum, yum, yum! We’re having a rhubarb bumper crop year this year in Nebraska so this will be on our table this week! Thank you for continually providing new recipes!

  3. Thank you for your reply to my request for help saving my brioche . Without your comments I might have pitched the dough. Although I did have to handle the dough more by incorporating the yeast after it still turned out a nice bread. I used it to make cinnamon swirl bread on day 4 and the brioche texture was good. Perhaps with enough sugar and cinnamon anything can be saved!!

    Lesson learned – careful when multitasking!!

  4. I just made my first batch of brioche, and it came out amazing, but I was wondering if you have any advice for using sugar instead of honey, as I don’t always want that sweet honey flavor. I wasn’t sure how to adjust the recipe for changing a liquid to a solid.

    Also, just wanna say I love your book, it’s amazing. We just started using it about 2 weeks ago, and we’ve had fresh bread every day since, we’re in bread heaven thanks to you two. Kudos for running such a great website too!

    • In most recipes, you can get away with a one-to-one swap by volume, but if I want to be persnickety, I consult Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “The Bread Bible,” where she notes that honey’s behaves as though it were 12.9% water in bread dough. So you’d slightly decrease the sugar and add a little more liquid. I think we’re just talking about a tablespoon or two.

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