May 13th, 2012
Happy belated Mother’s Day!! Have a piece of cake—upside down strawberry rhubarb cake, to be exact. You deserve a slice, even if you have to make it yourself in order to get one. Hell, you deserve the whole damn thing, especially if you have to make it yourself. I promise it’s a worthy treat.
I’m in Spain right now. Without the hungry boys. The hungry papa and I are here to celebrate his big 4-0 in style. But today—Mother’s Day—was about me. As I drifted into napland earlier this afternoon (naps are essential on Mother’s Day), I was thinking about the hungry boys back home. This isn’t the first time that we’ve left them for several days, but it’s the farthest we’ve been from them and, somehow, that makes me miss them more. That may sounds silly to some of you—after all, we’re only gone for 6 days—but leaving them is still hard for me after all these years. Regardless, I’m here—in Barcelona!—allowing naps, cava and jamon to wash away lingering anxiety and longing. This is a big deal. I’ve come a long way in my 5 years of motherhood. I’m proud.
And not just of myself. I’m also proud of my mama friends. I’m proud of all the different decisions we’re making, the winding paths we’re taking. I’m proud that we’re learning from and supporting each other.
I’m proud that while I was here on Mother’s Day, my sons were back in Brooklyn making two grandmothers happy.
And, grandmas.You have been on the job for a long ass time. I’m proud and in awe of you ladies, too.
I guess what I’m saying, all jet lagged and clumsy, is that moms are awesome. And being one is even more awesome. But it’s hard. It’s taken me five years to go abroad alone with my husband again. Maybe that makes me nuts, but it’s also major progress for someone who didn’t leave her first born’s side until he was 4-months-old. (Sadly, that’s not a joke.) And for that, I deserve this trip to Spain. And whatever else makes me happy.
Like cake. We should all eat more cake. We deserve it.
This cake is perfect for the season, covered in fresh strawberries and rhubarb that get all gooey and brown sugar slicked while cooking underneath the batter.
I like it best when I’m sharing it with my hungry boys, who love this early summer treat as much as I do. But you should eat it however you like—with your kids, alone, just one slice or the whole thing.
It’s your cake, mama. Eat. Enjoy. Be proud.
Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
makes one 9″ cakes, serves 8-10
(can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 cups hulled & quartered fresh strawberries
1 cup 1/4″ diced fresh rhubarb
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a 9″ cake pan set on the stovetop over low heat. (Leave the other 8 tablespoons on the counter to come to room temperature.) Add brown sugar and heat until dissolved and bubbling, at which point the sugar should easily spread to cover the entire bottom of the cake pan. Set aside and when fully cooled, cover the sugar with berries and rhubarb. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom, if using. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing the first egg in completely before adding the second, and vanilla. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Mix in milk, then add remaining flour mixture.
4. Spread batter evenly over the fruit. Place in oven and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Don’t stress if the top of the cake turns a deep golden brown in spots—this is actually the bottom of your cake and it’s fine so long as it’s not burning. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Gently run a knife around the edges of your pan and invert onto a serving plate. Serve warm!
*Note: While there is nothing in this cake that is unsafe for early eaters, I recommend it for kids 12+ months due to the high sugar content. However old your eaters, be sure to serve age appropriate portions. A little of this cake goes a long way with wee nibblers!