Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake

blood orange cake slices

Have your cake and eat it too! This thin upside-down cake is made in an ovenproof skillet. When the cake is inverted, slices of carmelized blood oranges are exposed on top. I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit magazine a few years ago. The original recipe was very good, but not quite sweet enough, in my opinion. My adaptation below uses a bit more sugar. The original recipe also calls for 2 eggs, but I use 3 eggs for a richer cake. Go bake!

Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 16
  • 8 tablespoons sugar, divided, plus 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, room temperature, divided
  • 3 unpeeled small blood oranges
  • ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
  2. Remove both rounded ends of each orange so that ends are flat. Cut oranges as thin as possible. Remove any seeds.
  3. Combine 6 tablespoons sugar and 3 tablespoons water in 10-inch diameter ovenproof skillet. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is golden amber (not dark amber), occasionally brush down sides with a wet pastry brush while swirling skillet, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and whisk 2 tablespoons butter into the mixture. Swirl skillet again. Arrange orange slices, overlapping slightly, in circles on top of the syrup. Oranges will sizzle.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat 1 cup sugar, remaining 6 tablespoons butter, and vanilla until fluffy. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions, beating batter just until combined.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat egg whiles until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Fold ⅓ egg whites into batter to fluff, then fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions. Drop (do not pour) batter by large spoonfuls on top of orange slices, then carefully spread evenly with a spatula.
  7. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cake in skillet 10 minutes. Run knife between cake and pan to loosen. Place platter on top of skillet. Using oven mitts, hold platter and skillet firmly together and invert. Allow cake to settle onto platter. Rearrange any orange slices that may have shifted. Cool cake completely at room temperature.
  8. Beat chilled whipping cream, 1 tablespoon sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl until mixture thickens. Cut cake into wedges and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
Since you eat the peel, use organic oranges for this recipe.

upside down cake in pan






blood orange cake slices

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