Upside down Rhubarb, Spice and Orange Cake.

Rhubarb and Orange upsidedown cake (14)

One day recently, my lovely neighbour from down the road left some of her own hen’s eggs on my gate post. Now I know a really good present when I see it, so I knew that I had to use these eggs for something special. Or, you know, boil them and have them with toast soldiers – ‘cos that’s special too..

The very next day I spotted this recipe – it’s from a lady called Cherie who is originally from Northern Ireland, but now lives across the water and makes her living doing cooking demonstrations and writing recipes. Give her a look – ‘Cherie Denham cooks’ – her site is lovely. And this is her cake! I think it’s special enough for these eggs! :)


  • A large square or oblong cake tin, or Lasagne dish – that’s what I use – well buttered and base lined with baking parchment. It really helps with the turning out if you can have the baking parchment going up the sides of the dish a little – see picture –
Rhubarb and Orange upsidedown cake (2)

Note lining paper up the sides of the dish..

  • Electric Mixer set, or a bowl and a hand mixer. You’ll need a fairly large bowl for this recipe.


For the Topping: do this first!

  • Zest of an orange
  • 75g of Golden Syrup
  • 400g fresh uncooked Rhubarb, washed and cut into 1cm pieces

For the Cake:                                                                                Rhubarb and Orange upsidedown cake (6)

  • 225g soft Butter
  • 225g soft brown sugar – I used Golden Caster
  • 275g Self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons of Baking Powder (not Baking Soda)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Cinnamon and mixed spice, or sieved Ras el Hanout – see NOTES
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract.


  • Heat the oven to 160 Fan, then check with your oven book which shelf is best – I used the bottom shelf in mine.
  • Sprinkle the orange zest evenly over the well-buttered and lined dish – I used a spatula to make this easier – then drizzle over the Golden syrup
  • Top off with the rhubarb pieces in an even layer.
  • Put all the ingredients for the sponge into your mixer bowl and beat together for a few minutes or until combined.
  • Pour the mixture evenly over the Rhubarb, etc.Pop into the oven for 50 minutes – check after 40 minutes, and cover the dish if the cake is browning too much.
Rhubarb and Orange upsidedown cake (8)

A little over-browned, perhaps?

  • Test to make sure the Rhubarb is cooked. Your tester should go straight through with no resistance.
  • Allow the cake to sit for 10 minutes before turning out onto a large serving dish. See NOTES
  • The Orange-flavoured Rhubarb and its sticky sauce will be on top.

Rhubarb and Orange upsidedown cake (10)

  • Serve warm, with a dollop of lightly whipped cream, or a scoop of Ice cream.


  • The pieces of Rhubarb should be no more than 1cm thick to be able to cook quickly.
  • Ras el Hanout – a lovely warm spice from Northern Africa that literally means ‘The King of the Shop’ – although when I first started using it I read somewhere that it meant ‘the back of the shop’ – meaning I suppose, that it was a mixture of whatever was lying around the shop at the end of the day! It can have up to 40 different spices and herbs, so if you’re using it for this cake, make sure that yours doesn’t have any garlic or onion in it! Mine was a mixture of solids pieces and powder today – so I sieved it in..
Rhubarb and Orange upsidedown cake (5)

Ras el Hanout

  • Turning out: Ok, so even for an old hand like me – this was a bit nerve-wracking. If you have lined the dish carefully – with the baking parchment coming slightly up the sides of the dish, this will help a lot. As it is, the cake itself is fairly robust, so tip the baking dish onto its side, at the end of the board. Then, with one (clean) hand on the sponge, and the other holding the end of the dish, just upend it onto the board in one movement (Mr Sat Night was watching me as I did this, and raised his eyebrows in surprise when it all happened beautifully.. that’ll show him!) Peel off the lining paper, and say thanks!
  • The next day – if there’s any left – heat a slice in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds – it reheats very well :)

Rhubarb and Orange upsidedown cake (11) Rhubarb and Orange upsidedown cake (14)


I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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