Header shot of a single slice of strawberry rhubarb polenta upside down cake.

Strawberry Rhubarb Polenta Upside Down Cake

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I love an upside down cake situation. Maybe it’s because cake decorating is not my forte. But they’re just so effortlessly beautiful. Last year I made a fig and caramel upside down cake that was to die for. I knew that my next one would feature strawberry and rhubarb. They’re visually striking and have such a beautiful flavor profile. So when I saw rhubarb at the market last week, I immediately grabbed it for this strawberry rhubarb polenta upside down cake! I loved the idea of pairing strawberry and rhubarb with a buttery corn base. It felt like the ultimate celebration of spring and summer produce. And I’m happy to report that it worked out as well as I hoped it would!

Do I need any special gear for this recipe?

This recipe is really easy to make. I didn’t even use my stand mixer! That said, you will need a good spring form pan. Mine is a 9″ round and that worked perfectly. You’ll also need some parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan. You can buy parchment rounds that are perfectly fitted to you pans. Some of them even have handles that come up the sides. I’m not that fancy. I just cut parchment paper into a circle roughly the size of my pan and called it a day. Apart from that, all the usual baking suspects will do the trick.

Nervous about making this cake? Don’t be. Here’s a video:


Help! I can’t find polenta!

Oh no! While polenta is sold at most major grocery stores (at least in my area), if you’re having trouble finding it you can use coarse grind cornmeal. Alternately, you can buy polenta online.

Can I use frozen strawberries and rhubarb for this?

I wouldn’t recommend using frozen in this recipe. That’s because you won’t have any control over the shape of your fruit. This recipe calls for both diced and sliced fruit. (Diced goes in to the batter while sliced lines the bottom.) If you buy frozen, you’re basically stuck with either the shape it comes in or mush once it melts. So fresh is really the way to go here.

A note on measuring flour:

When measuring flour, you’ll want to gently spoon it into a measuring cup and then level it off with a knife rather than dunking the cup into the flour and filling it up that way. Ideally, you should weigh your flour. That’ll get you the most precise amount. But since many American home cooks don’t keep a scale in their kitchen I’ve formulated this recipe with cups in mind.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Polenta Upside Down Cake

Servings 8


  • 1 9" round springform pan



  • 1/3 cup Light brown sugar 71g
  • 1 stalk Rhubarb (Sliced)
  • 3-6 Strawberries (Sliced)


  • 1 cup Granulated sugar 198g
  • 8 oz Unsalted butter (Softened)
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 tbsp Lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup Polenta 82g
  • 1 1/4 cup s All purpose flour 150g
  • 2 tsp Baking powder 8g
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Strawberries (Diced)
  • 1/2 cup Rhubarb (Diced)


  • Preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit and prepare your spring form pan. To do this, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the whole thing with either cooking spray or butter.
  • Sprinkle the brown sugar into your pan. Then cover the entire bottom with sliced strawberries and rhubarb. Get creative and use whatever pattern you'd like!
  • Add all purpose flour, polenta, salt and baking powder to a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine. Then set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together granulated sugar and butter until light and smooth. Then add your eggs and lemon zest and mix again. Now add the dry mixture and mix until combined. Add the milk and mix. Finally, add the diced strawberries and rhubarb and mix once more.
  • Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Smooth out the top using a spatula. then place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick in it and it emerges clean.
  • Once it's done baking, place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Slide a knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it. Then release the springform pan, and place a platter or cake stand face down atop the cake. Carefully flip the cake (use a towel or oven mitts if it still feels hot). Peel off the parchment paper, and enjoy!


Cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for a few days.

If you make this strawberry rhubarb polenta upside down cake, I truly hope you love it. I’m pretty taken with it myself. As always, if you do end up making it, let me know how you like it in the comments or on Instagram! Bonus points if you send a picture. It makes my day when I get to see your creations.

Looking for more spring and summer treats? Try my raspberry lilac hindbærsnitters or my malted chocolate chip cookies! Or if you’re looking for something cold, give my passion fruit and jasmine sorbet a go.

Oh, and if you’ve made it this far, I just wanted to thank you for being here! Leisure Fan Club was recently named one of the 60 best Los Angeles lifestyle blogs by FeedSpot. It’s such an honor to be included and I couldn’t have done it without you!

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