Caramelized Rhubarb Apple Cake (gluten-free, citrus-free, nut-free)

I have a confession to make, I love this cake… a lot.  It is quite possible I love this cake too much.  That is to say I ate this cake at breakfast, lunch and dinner yesterday – that’s no less than half a cake in one day.  And it was oh so worth every, last, bite!  It’s crumb is divinely buttery and moist, it’s ribbons of carmelized apples soaked in rhubarb juice are the perfect marriage of tart and sweet, and it all melts in my mouth one luscious bite after another.  Sigh, with a cake like this, who needs wheat?

This addictive little number is a variation on my Upside Down Caramelized Cranberry Cake from last winter – but a good enough variation to warrant it’s own recipe.  It’s slightly less sweet and I used frozen rhubarb (you could use fresh),  defrosted and drained: delicious, but not so pretty.  After it defrosts it’s kind of a mushy, pink, mess.  So to dress it up, I used half a tart apple (found nestled in the grass under a neighborhood apple tree) arranged in a pretty pattern to cover up the rhubarb’s homely face.


Caramel Glaze
2/3 cup of packed brown sugar
3 T. butter (if not salted, add a small dash of salt)
1 1/2 – 2 T. rhubarb juice or water
2 1/2 cup thinly sliced rhubarb
1/2 a tart apple, thinly sliced

2/3 cup of softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup of sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup of sour cream, whole milk yogurt/soy yogurt, or hemp milk
1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 T. rhubarb juice (or substitute lemon juice, or 2 pinches of citric acid mixed with water)
1 1/2 cups gluten-free baking flour mix* (I use: 2/3 c. white sorghum flour, 1/4 c chickpea flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 2 T. potato starch, 3-4 T. cup cornstarch**)
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

* The mix you use will determine what kind of crumb your cake has – I don’t recommend Arrowhead’s GF baking mix, have heard good things about Bob’s, but prefer to make my own.

**A note – if you’re on a diet or have allergies that require you to avoid certain gluten-free flours, do be careful of substitution.  If you’re new to gluten-free baking, it’s important to get the right ratio of various flours as each flour provide a different and crucial element to the recipe.  Tapioca flour helps with binding, corn starch adds lightness and a fine crumb, chickpea adds body and flavor, sorghum is a nice wholesome base.  You can substitute sorghum for finely ground white rice (although it may come out grainier) or millet, but be careful about adding too much tapioca flour.  You can substitute quinoa, soy or teff flour for chickpea flour.  If you have to leave out corn, try subbing white rice or potato flour/starch.


Preheat the oven to 350°

1. Grease a 9 inch cake pan with butter.  Add a 9 inch round of parchment paper and place it inside the buttered pan, butter the top of the parchment paper.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the 3 T butter and then stir in brown sugar, molasses and water. Bring to a simmer and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Pour into cake pan.

3.Spread apples in a pretty design over caramel, add rhubarb on top of apples.

4. In a standing mixer or with a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time. Add sugar, and mix till smooth

5. In medium-sized bowl mix the sour cream or yogurt, vanilla, and rhubarb juice until smooth.

6.  In another medium-sized bowl, mix together the gluten-free baking mix, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

7. Alternately add the gluten-free baking mix with the wet mixture, stirring in between additions.  Mix until just smooth.

8. Pour batter over rhubarb and smooth in pan.  Bake about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out fairly clean.

9. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the outside edge of the pan.  Take a large plate/platter and place it upside down over the cake, then holding the plate over the pan carefully flip/invert the pan.  The cake should fall out easily.  Gently remove the parchment and serve warm on its own or with dollops of cinnamon whipped cream.

10. Try and fail to exercise self-restraint 🙂


Hello world!