Baked under the Midnight Sun

Midsummer is almost here in just a week. The nights are quite light and it is so easy to loose track of time since the kids are not in school. It seems perfectly logical to start washing windows at ten o’clock in the evening as the sun is not telling us to go to bed. Even the children who usually are in bed around eight thirty during the winter are having a hard time settling down. As I write, I can hear the older ones organizing their room after the little ones had visited and turned nearly everything upside down. You probably know how it goes. First there is silence as the little ones are in bliss playing with all of the marvelous treasures that girls of ten and thirteen might have in their room. Chapstick is a favorite! Then there is a loud exclamation and a complaint as they are found out. Next of course, the little ones come to Mama for consolation as their own treasures don’t seem half as interesting! Fortunately their disappointment does not last too long.

rhubarb stalksThe other evening we went rumaging in our rhubarb patch. It was the first time that it could actually be called a patch. Last year we planted the seedlings and it had grown nicely but I hardly dared to pick any last summer. The stalks are thin and we had several flowers that I picked off as is recommended and carried the bouquet inside. It was quite pretty in an untraditional way.

rhubarb flower

I ended up making two versions of this Upside-down Rhubarb cake. The first version had rye flour in it. I didn’t quite get the proportions perfect yet and so it turned out drier than what I was looking for. Version two turned out perfect. Since our babysitter is wheat-free I tried making it so that she could also have a piece. The second version is gluten-free and I used a mix of almond flour and gluten-free flour. If you do not need to make a gluten-free version you may substitute the gluten-free flour with regular flour. I think this recipe will go on my favorite gluten-free recipe list.

chopped rhubarbIt seems as if rhubarb and my blog anniversary go hand-in-hand. Two years ago I started my blog. One of my first posts was on a rhubarb tart that had a brown sugar meringue. A year ago, my Grampa Jim shared a family recipe for a rhubarb tart from my Great-Grandma Reeni. It is still one of my favorite recipes to date. The recipe below received its inspiration last Sunday. We were visiting friends and Maija served a very delicious rhubarb tart. As we had coffee she suggested that I make a version that uses maybe some wholegrain types of flour and perhaps chopped nuts for texture and flavor. This is my version.

rhubarb upside down cakeYou might be able to tell from the lighting in the photo that it is well past ten p.m. It is more than likely closer to eleven pm and the house was finally quiet. And so we enjoyed a piece of rhubarb upside down cake with ice cream and tea. The cake is a bit of a plain-jane, but incredibly delicious!


Upside down Rhubarb Cake–Gluten-free

23×23 cm/9″x9″ pan or a round tart pan
50 g butter
1 dl/ 1/2 c/ 85 g brown sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
50 g/2 oz roughly chopped walnuts
5 dl/2 c chopped rhubarb

Place the butter in the tart or cake pan and place in the heated oven for about five minutes or until melted. Remove and mix in the brown sugar, cardamom, rhubarb and walnuts. Set aside for a minute while making the cake batter.

Cake batter

125 g/4.4 oz softened butter
1 dl/ 1/2 c / 90 g sugar
1/2 dl/ 1/4 c / 50 g brown sugar
2 eggs
2 dl /1 c / 90 g almond flour
1 dl/ 1/2 c / 50 g gluten-free flour
pinch salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 dl/ slightly less than 1/2 c milk

Beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. I used my stand mixer with the paddle attachment. An eletric mixer will work just as well. Add in one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix the dry ingredients together. Alternating, fold in the dry ingredients and milk into the batter. Pour the batter over the rhubarb place into the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 170 C/340 F. If using a fan oven, reduce the temperature to 160 C /320 F.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or maybe a little whipped cream.

Today is also Angie’s Fiesta Friday blogging get-together. Often I have not been able to participate as our schedules have not matched up but today it worked out. And so, I am bringing my rhubarb cake baked under the midnight sun. The people of the nordic countries do not sleep during the summer months. Come autumn, the early evenings are quite inviting. Check out her blog, The Novice Gardener, for a collection of recipes.

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  1. That is my kind of cake! Gluten free, but also the style of it. I’m not a layer cake person, I love those homemade style single layer cakes. I was thinking you would be experiencing long days, while here in Australia I am wishing for an extra hour in the day so I can wash my dirty windows!!!

      1. The gluten free flours behave a little differently than wheat flour but once you learn that, it is easier. GF flours require slightly lower cooking temps. Also I have less of a crumbly consistency if I can include some long strands of something to help hold it together…
        shredded carrot or zucchini, or coconut. Also a tiny bit of xanthan gum helps hold things together. When I first had to learn it, over 20 years ago, there was a steep learning curve! I will send you an email with a few recipes and a basic recipe for gluten free flour mixture.

      2. I would love it if you send me an email with a basic recipe for gluten free flour mixtures. I have been doing a little experimenting with mixed results. This rhubarb cake is one of my successes and the next day it tasted even better. I think I could have had the whole tart! 🙂

  2. Happy Fiesta Friday #20, Laila! Thank you for bringing this moist rhubarb cake topped with ice-cream to the party. Baking rhubarb cake is on my list. Until then, I etch the taste of yours in memory. 😛

    1. Thank you Fae for co-hosting! Hope you have a chance soon to make a rhubarb cake. The season slips in almost unnoticed and quietly slips out again amongst all of the fresh produce that is starting to come in.

  3. I have a rhubarb plant that I have a hard time harvesting from. It’s so pretty! And I let the flower stalks grow, not having the heart to cut them off. I know, I’m not only a novice gardener, I’m a weird one, too! I think I should plant more so I can have some to look at, some to eat.

    The recipe sounds amazingly delicious. Made my mouth water, really, reading it. 🙂 Happy Blogiversary! ❤

    1. Yes, I think that is a good idea! Expand the rhubarb patch and then you will be able to enjoy the flowers inside and out 🙂 Thank you for hosting the event, I really appreciate it!

  4. Happy blogiversary, Laila! With rhubarb recipes three years running, you are apparently a seasonal cook. How wonderful..there’s nothing like fresh home grown produce! The rhubarb flowers are surprising beautiful…and the cake sounds delicious and simple to make…my favorite kind!

    1. Thank you Nancy…I guess I am a seasonal cook 🙂 I have been touring the garden waiting maybe a bit impatiently for the flowers and lettuce, kale and spinach to come up and grow! I’m still a rather inexperienced garderner but it is certainly quite exciting!

  5. Sounds yummy…wish we had rhubarb! Careful how much you harvest this first year though, or so I’ve always been warned:) Wonder if Grampa will make one! It will take more than midnight sun to motivate washing windows at 10 pm, I’m sure! Lovely as usual…

    1. Maybe you will have to plant some rhubarb in some little corner 🙂 Okay, I’ll have to try not harvest it all! I usually don’t plan to wash windows at ten pm…but then you never can know what will happen once I get started! Suprising things happen 😉

  6. I love rhubarb. Unfortunately my rhubarb plants have thin, spindly stalks (and I end up buying rhubarb at the store). I think that they are planted in a too shady area.

    1. My stalks are fairly thin at this point…I’m guessing it’s because we just planted it last year. Maybe you will have to try moving them to different place. I would think it would work since they are a fairly easy-to-care for plant. 🙂

  7. Happy Blogoversary! You have a wonderful theme going with the rhubarb – it is my Pete’s favourite from childhood and I have tried growing it for him but sadly have not been very successful to date and it is not always readily available here – it seems he is always away at the time I can find it.
    Have a beautiful weekend and enjoy your lovely long summer evenings. Ours have turned cold and dark early.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    1. I think this tart would work well with frozen rhubard as well…just sprinkle a bit of cornstarch on the rhubarb to soak up some of the juice. I usually chop up my extras into the freezer and make a compote in the dead of winter as a reminder of summer. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by Mandy!

  8. Happy anniversary Laila, from me in Sydney.

    I too had a flower stalk come on my rhubarb. At first I was intrigued not realising rhubarb gets flowers ( of course all things flower yet it didn’t register) but a day or so later I was near the garden and wondered what that vile smell was…it was the opened rhubarb flower. Needless to say I cut mine off…now after the first crop of thick stalks I am getting a second crop.

    You learn something new every day 🙂

    Enjoy your light filled days and holidays. We have it cold here now but nothing like your cold.


    1. Thank you Alexa! I will be watching my patch to see if I can get a second crop…wouldn’t that be nice! We are enjoying the light and warmth. Hope your cool weather doesn’t get too cold!

  9. Happy blog anniversary, Laila! This cake looks quite scrumptious and all those rhubarb stalks have me so jealous! I can’t grow them at my house, but am lucky enough to find them fresh at the farmers market. And that picture, near 11 pm? There is still so much light!

    1. Thank you! Glad you can find some at the farmer’s market…and if you buy extra you can chop it up and freeze it for later use if you need a rhubarb fix all of a sudden! 🙂

    1. I’m still exploring my way through the ropes of gluten-free baking. This recipe was great in that the cake stored really quite well and tasted just as good the day after if not better! Thank you for stopping by!

  10. I have never seen a rhubarb flower, how interesting! I love the idea of Midsummer, it’s something that we don’t get in Australia. I bet all of those extra hours of light are wonderful for photography!

    1. Aren’t they quite pretty in their own way? I hated the thought of the blooming rotting away in the composte pile before we could even enjoy it…and so inside it came! Yes, you are right, the extra light is wonderful. Especially since the early morning and evening light is quite soft.

  11. Rhubarb is one of those things I don’t think I’ve ever tried because I’ve convinced myself I don’t like. I shouldn’t definitely give it a go, especially with how good this looks! I do like those rhubarb and custard candies so that’s gotta be a good sign right? haha

    1. Thank you Suzanne…and sorry for the late reply! I’ve been a bit under the weather this week and so my replies have taken a little longer! Hope you have a chance to try it out sometime. Thanks for co-hosting. 🙂

    1. I can just imagine, I always wait for summer as well! If it brings you any comfort we did get sleet on Tuesday and northern Finland even had some snow! We are hoping for the warm weather to return. But I suppose that this is natural since our past winter was so mild! 🙂

    1. I love that about you, too–you’r ability to find beauty in unexpected places.

      I’m going to share this with a friend of mine (on Facebook) who has celiac’s disease. She’ll love it!

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