Jeez, this recipe name is a mouthful. But I wanted to shout this combination from the rooftops it’s so good, but I settled for getting it all into the title. I had a glut of homemade ricotta and it’s rhubarb season, at last. That’s how this dreamy combo was born. Serve it for your next dinner party and save any leftovers, if there are any, for the next morning with a steaming mug of coffee.2
Rhubarb Upside-Down Lemon, Cornmeal, and Ricotta Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut on a sharp diagonal into ½-inch thick slices
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup finely ground cornmeal or polenta
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cups fresh ricotta, at room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350º F with a rack in the center.
Butter a 9-inch cake pan. Combine 1 cup of the sugar and ¼ cup water in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, swirling often, until the sugar comes to a boil. Occasionally wash the sides of the pan down with a pastry brush dipped in cool water. Continue to cook until the caramel turns a deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour the caramel into the prepared pan, tilting it to coat the bottom. (Use a clean, dry dishtowel to hold the pan, it may be hot.)
Arrange the rhubarb on top of the caramel in a decorative pattern or haphazardly, it’s up to you! Top with any extra slices. Set the pan aside while you make the batter.
Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, ricotta, lemon zest, and vanilla to combine. Drizzle in the butter and whisk to combine. Fold in the flour mixture and scrape into the prepared pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 60 to 75 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto a wire rack. Let cool to room temperature before serving. Leftovers will keep tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to 2 days.