I have penned my love for oranges and citrus fruits countless times before. I call them the sunshine fruit and I think it perfectly sums up this lovely fruit. Whether it is the sweet Valencia or navel oranges, cute little clementines or the slightly tart tangerines, I love them all.
When oranges and other citrus fruit are in season, a soft and spongy orange cake dripping with freshly made sweet and sticky orange syrup is our go-to dessert. I love how just a little bit of orange juice and a whole lot of zest perks up a simple vanilla cake batter and creates something even more irresistible.
This time I went a step further and made a delightful upside-down orange cake dripping with golden caramel sauce. Oh yes, I did!
Any kind of sweet oranges can be used to make this cake. I used slices of navel oranges to line the bottom of the pan and used the juice and zest of sweet clementines in the batter. The decision to leave the peel on or not is a personal one. If you do decide to leave the peel on, cook the orange slices in a simple syrup to tame the bitterness slightly. I decided to peel the fruit this time.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to line the bottom of the pan with a gooey caramel sauce first. When baked and flipped over, this caramel sauce is what gives the cake its characteristic sheen. Of course, it goes without saying that it makes the cake sinfully delicious too.
Upside-down cake may sound too complicated or difficult, but it is absolutely not the case. I have found that lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper always gives you a smooth and beautiful cake. The caramel and fruit make a decadent topping to the sponge cake beneath, almost like a self-saucing pudding.
If you do not want to bake a large cake, feel free to divide the batter among individual ramekins. They make these cute mini upside-down cakes.
- Sugar - ¾ cup
- Water - 6 tbsp
- Vanilla extract - ½ tsp
- Orange juice - 2 tbsp
- Butter - 4 tbsp, softened
- Oranges - 2 large, peeled and sliced thinly
- All purpose flour - 2 cups
- Baking powder - 1½ tsp
- Baking soda - ½ tsp
- Salt - ½ tsp
- Butter - ½ cup, softened
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Eggs - 3, large
- Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
- Orange zest - 1 tbsp
- Orange juice - ¼ cup
- Buttermilk - ¾ cup
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 deg.F. Grease and flour a 9" round cake pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Make caramel sauce first. Take water and sugar in a saucepan. Cook on medium heat till sugar melts. Keep cooking on medium-low heat till it caramelizes and turns a golden-amber color. This can take anywhere between 8-12 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add vanilla extract and orange juice. Whisk in butter till melted. Sauce will be thick now. Pour this caramel sauce into the prepared cake pan.
- Place the thinly sliced oranges on top in any pattern you wish. You may need 1-2 large oranges for this. Set aside while you prepare the batter next.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set side.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy, around 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat till well combined.
- Add vanilla extract, zest, orange juice and buttermilk and mix well to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix till just combined. Do not over-mix.
- Pour this batter carefully over the caramel and orange slices in the pan. Smooth the top with a spatula and bake for 40 minutes or till the cake passes the toothpick test.
- Remove cake from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges of the cake with a knife or thin spatula. Invert the cake onto a cake stand or serving platter. Cool slightly and serve cake warm or at room temperature.
- Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge. Cake can be reheated lightly in the microwave before serving.
2. You can divide the caramel sauce, orange slices and batter among 6-oz ramekins to make mini cakes.You may need to reduce the baking time to 20-25 minutes.
Don’t forget to scoop up every large drop of warm caramel sauce left in the pan. And do not skimp on the oranges either. The caramel and oranges pair well so together to make the best topping ever to an already delicious cake.
This cake is an absolute show-stopper and makes for a beautiful dessert while entertaining.
Have you tried upside-down cakes? What is your favorite? Do try this orange upside-down cake and let me know how it goes.
Here are more orange cake recipes.
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