Time for Play & Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

sprinkler_tag_02If you’ve spent the winter hibernating, it’s time to get out and play. If you’ve spent the winter on skis or snowshoes, it’s still time to play. Grab your clubs or a racket, a Frisbee or a ball and bat. Find a swing set or a trampoline. Explore the woods behind your house or a neighborhood pond in a kayak. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do it.

How long has it been since you felt the simple joy of a day with nothing to do but play? Let’s hope, you are not one of those grownups. You know the type; they’re much too serious for play. Of course, they make an exception when it’s more business than game. We’ve all heard stories of multi-million dollar deals won on the golf course. Call me a skeptic but I’m guessing most of them are more urban myth than reality.

If it helps, play is actually good for you. It sparks imagination and creativity, improves health and mood and reduces stress. You’ll feel better and think better. If you play with children or grandchildren, they’ll think and feel better too. What’s not to like about that? If for no other reason, consider all the time and money you’ll save on doctors, therapists and prescriptions.

Before you start backpedaling or arguing, don’t bother. I pretty sure I’ve got everything covered!

You say you can’t afford clubs or a racket or a spiffy new kayak. We didn’t need all that stuff when we were kids so we hardly need it now. How about a game of kick-the-can? All you need is an old coffee can to kick around the backyard. It will cost you nothing and both you and the kids will have a grand time. If you don’t have a coffee can lying around, don’t worry. I take after my grandfather and have a bunch in my garage. They’re full of nails and screwdrivers and other junk but I’ll empty one out for you.

Or put together a game of hide and seek or sardines. Grab a piece of chalk and map out a game of hopscotch or find a piece of rope to jump. Think back to the fourth grade and the possibilities become endless.

If you’re having trouble remembering fourth grade, nothing will clear your head better or put a smile on your face faster than a nice walk in the woods. Take a nature hike and discover a new favorite spot. The exercise will do you a world of good. Collect pinecones and other natural treasures while you wander. The fun will continue at home when you assemble those treasures into a fantastic centerpiece or help the kids build fairy houses.

Or you could go fly a kite. Far from sedentary, kite flying requires a fair amount of running. As kids, we ran like crazy to launch our kites. Then, since the wind rarely cooperated, we ran back again to keep them afloat. At some point, a tree would snatch a kite or two. Although the poor kites rarely survived the crash, it didn’t stop us from climbing to their rescue.

Reward yourselves with a tea party. Some might think of baking as work. If you have kids or grandkids around, it can be lots of fun. Think of it as a new adventure and opportunity to share stories about cooking with your mom, nana or auntie. Besides, you’ll be hungry after that rousing game of kick-the-can. Don’t stay inside for too long. Take your just-baked sweets outside for a festive tea party on the back porch. Nothing says delicious like still-warm treats in the sunshine.

Have fun and bon appétit!

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
rhubarb_upside_down_cake_03It’s rhubarb season and if you are like me, you never quite know what to do with it. Why not gather the kids together and whip up this yummy cake? Problem solved. Enjoy!

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons room temperature butter plus more for the pan
3/4 cup brown sugar
6 ounces rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
Grated zest of 1 orange
Garnish: whipped cream or vanilla or ginger ice cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and generously butter the paper.Wrap the pan in two layers of aluminum foil.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and remove from the heat. Add the rhubarb and 1/4 cup brown sugar and toss to combine. Evenly distribute the rhubarb in the bottom of the springform pan and set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and orange zest in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter with the remaining brown sugar and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the sour cream and beat again until well combined.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined.

Carefully spoon the batter over the rhubarb in an even layer. Bake the cake in the middle of the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and continue baking until golden and a cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for about 20 minutes.rhubarb_upside_down_cake_07

Run a thin knife around edge of pan, invert the cake onto a plate and release the collar of the springform pan. Carefully remove the collar and bottom on the pan and parchment paper. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

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One Year Ago – New Potato Salad Dijon
Two Years Ago – Asparagus Crostini with Sunddired Tomato Pesto & Goat Cheese
Three Years Ago – Wheat Berry Salad
Four Years Ago – Not Your Ordinary Burger
Five Years Ago – Strawberry Rhubarb SoupOr Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What’s your favorite summer game? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2014

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4 thoughts on “Time for Play & Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

  1. I am a big fan of your work and your play, I also love things made with citrus zest and this cake is no exception!:) really delicious ! Thanks for all you do-making the world a better place and teaching all to open our eyes to what a beautiful place we live in 🙂 Dee Marshall – Benjamin

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  2. Strawberry-rhubarb crumble is my favorite – but must try your cake, it looks lovely! Thanks for the reminder about the importance of fun. I’ll try to have some instead of adding it to my to-do list!

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