rhubarb anise upside-down cake


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Servs: 8

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  • add   2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • add   <B>For topping</B>
  • add   1/2 teaspoon salt
  • add   2 large eggs
  • add   1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • add   1 1/2 pounds trimmed rhubarb<B>For cake</B>
  • add   1 teaspoon anise seeds
  • add   1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • add   1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • add   1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • add   1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • add   1/4 cup milk
  • add   1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • add   1 teaspoon baking soda
  • add   3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar


  1. Make topping:
  2. In a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet melt butter over moderate heat until foam subsides and reduce heat to low. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly onto bottom of skillet and heat, undisturbed, 3 minutes (not all brown sugar will be melted). Remove skillet from heat. Cut enough rhubarb crosswise into 1-inch pieces to measure 3 cups and decoratively arrange, rounded sides down, in one layer over brown sugar.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Make cake:
  5. With a mortar and pestle or in an electric coffee/spice grinder finely grind anise seeds. Into a bowl sift together anise, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy and beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low speed add flour mixture alternately in batches with buttermilk and milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating until just combined (do not overbeat).|
  6. Spoon batter over rhubarb in skillet, spreading evenly (be careful not to disturb rhubarb), and bake cake in middle of oven until golden, about 45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool cake in skillet on a rack 15 minutes.
  7. Run a thin knife around edge of skillet and invert a plate over skillet. Keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together, invert cake onto plate. Carefully remove skillet and serve cake warm or at room temperature.