Monday, February 2, 2015

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

Snow and freezing rain are in the forecast here in New Jersey for today -- not exactly the warm beaches of the Caribbean or the shores of the Mediterranean. But if you buy a bunch of these blood oranges while they're still in season, you can bring a little bit of Florida or Sicily into your home with this beautiful and delicious upside down cake. Just looking at these jewel-like slices brings a smile to my face. 

The recipe comes from Coffee and Crumpets, but I first saw this cake posted on my friend Stacey's blog and I knew right away it had to be in my future. I made it in a cast iron skillet, but the recipe calls for a traditional cake tin. Use whichever you like. The brown sugar and butter go in first, then the slices. Overlap them a bit, since they tend to shrink somewhat. Make sure you spread a little butter along the sides of the pan too.

Then spread the thick batter evenly over the slices.

Bake it in the oven for the allotted time. 

Then flip it over and stare at your beautiful plate of sunshine.

But not for too long. Dig in (with a serrated knife so you can cut through the caramelized orange slices) and enjoy. My favorite way to eat it is while it's still warm from the oven. It may not be Capri or even Miami, but it will be a welcome treat from shoveling snow.

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

The Cake Part

1½ cups/225g all purpose/plain flour

¾ cup/110g cornmeal, organic

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup/200g cane sugar

1½ sticks/170g butter, softened

¼ cup/60ml oil, neutral flavor

½ cup/120ml blood orange juice

3 eggs, large and organic

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. The "Upside Down" Part

  2. 1 or 2 blood oranges, scrubbed and dried, sliced thinly with peel (I used three)

  3. ⅓ cup/70g brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup brown sugar)

  4. 4 tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C

  2. In a 10" round cake tin preferably, place the butter and sugar.

  3. Place in the oven to allow the butter to melt, about 5-10 minutes.

  4. Remove from the oven and arrange the sliced oranges into the melted butter and sugar.

  5. The orange slices will shrink so you can slightly overlap them to get better coverage on top of the cake. I only used one orange so mine are spaced out quite a bit.

  6. Keep aside and make the cake batter.

  7. Mix the flour, corn meal, salt and baking powder together in a bowl and keep aside.

  8. In a mixer bowl or with a hand mixer, beat the butter, oil and sugar together until light and fluffy.

  9. Add the orange zest and vanilla.

  10. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.

  11. Add half the flour mixture and mix gently.

  12. Add the blood orange juice.

  13. Add the remaining flour and mix until well incorporated.

  14. Spread the batter into the cake pan, carefully.

  15. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean and the cake is golden and puffy.

  16. Check the cake at 45 minutes and leave a bit longer if still wet in the centre.

  17. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

  18. Run a knife around the sides of the cake if necessary.

  19. Unmold the cake while still warm onto a cake plate and allow to cool completely.

  20. Serve as is, or with a dollop of sweetened cream.


  1. Make sure to cut the orange slices quite thinly without tearing the insides. The thin slices candy nicely and become soft and sweet and accompany the cake perfectly.

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