Bren from Green Bay, WI (2018 Week 1: Cakes)




Green Bay, WI

Baking Challenge

Upside Down Cake

Give your cake a name based on the ingredients and decoration – and tell us about the origin of your recipe.

Rhubarb Cherry Almond Upside Down Delight. The recipe I chose is a modern recipe from Taste of Home online recipes. It was the second cake batter I made. The first recipe I chose was very runny after I mixed the batter, so I baked it without the fruit. In the end it turned out fairly well, however, while I was waiting for it to bake I found the Taste of Home recipe and used that for this cake. I liked the consistency of the batter. It baked slightly heavier and moister than the first cake and complimented the fruit nicely. The addition of nutmeg highlighted the natural flavors of the rhubarb and gave the cake a uniquely pleasant taste.

Tell us about your proudest moment – or humble failure – in this week’s baking challenge.

My proudest moment is sharing this enterprise with my daughter, Em. She is an experienced baker herself and has exceptional attention to detail. As I was mixing the cake batter, she carefully arranged the rhubarb, cherries and almonds in the cake pan choosing pieces of the appropriate size and color for each section of the arrangement. Without her teamwork on this step, my cake wouldn’t be as aesthetically pleasing as it is.

Describe how you added a Wisconsin twist to your creation.

As I was researching the history of the pineapple upside down cake, I found that it became popular in the mid-20th century when canned pineapple became available to American bakers. However, the tradition of putting fruit at the bottom of a cast iron skillet and then adding cake batter is many hundreds of years old. This got me thinking of the possibility of adding different ingredients to the cake, which ultimately led me to consider rhubarb. So, the Wisconsin twist I added to this challenge starts with exceptionally wholesome and fresh Wisconsin butter, milk and eggs though the highlight really comes in with the lowly perennial, rhubarb. Growing voraciously in yards throughout Wisconsin, it is often under-appreciated for its versatility. I nabbed mine from my father-in-law’s garden, as I had already tapped out my supply. It serves as a perfect vegetable for this cake as its tangy flavor provides a contrast to the sweetness of the cake and the aromatic flavor of the nutmeg and almonds.

How did you do?

Absolutely lovely.