Upside-Down Taste Buds

Rhubarb leaves contain a toxin that can make you really sick.

(This fact always impressed me.)

— Martha Stewart

I’ll leave you to consider the implications of Martha’s youthful poison glee and instead describe the Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake I made from the From My Home to Yours section of the May 2010 issue.

Bleaugh! I mean....rad!

FACTS:

  • Rhubarb is delicious
  • Rhubarb is pretty
  • Rhubarb is satisfying to chop
  • Upside-down cake is one of my favorite things
  • I have stopped eating sugar

Well, I couldn’t help it. Upside-down cake is so easy and satisfying, and the pink rhubarb stripes on the top were irresistible. I decreased the sugar majorly and went about my business. Ten seconds later, I had a delicious cake with a really unique crumb topping/bottom. That is, it would have been delicious six months ago, but after one bite, I had a raging headache and an unfairly bitter attitude.

Cutting out sugar in your diet is an excellent way for you to feel stupendous all the time, trust me! I felt like a different person within two days, and as I am more addicted to feeling good than I am to candy, I bid it adieu.

My tale, however, has an evil ending. I feel that on special occasions, like the Fourth of July or my birthday or the receipt of the May 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living in the mail, I should be able to make my own choice and have a small piece of cake. Not so! My body has readjusted so that the tiniest bit of white sugar brings on a very specific scratchy eye/pounding head/achey sinuses feeling within minutes.  On one hand, the fear of this really quite debilitating consequence prevents any backsliding (nuts, I just realized that I am not unlike a dog being trained), but on the other hand, that hand that enjoys fun things, what the hell am I supposed to do with all of this baking equipment.

The answer, of course, is to pursue other sweeteners that don’t bring on the pain (and are a billion times better for you in general). That is my new mission — since my other alternative was to clumsily take up crafting — and I’ll be reporting back, much to your delight, I’m sure.

In fact, I feel like better sweeteners and even better flours* would have made this cake more interesting, with or without my self-induced sugar intolerance. She had a peach-cornmeal upside-down cake a couple of years ago that was much more exciting, and the apricot-cherry one with marzipan in the batter from her Baking Handbook was to die for. I’d say use the rhubarb method here with another sweetener, and either a cornmeal or marzipan batter. Keep that crumb bottom though, that was awesome.

Crumb top that is soon to be crumb bottom!

*Since this episode, I have cut out white flour as well, and dang, is it boring when you eat it again!

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