Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

I’m going to be completely honest. I’ve lost a bit of my cooking mojo. That’s not to say that I am leaving my poor family to starve but I definitely have been doing some soul searching and wondering what direction I should be taking in terms of this blog. Up until this weekend I had a couple of ideas but nothing really outstanding.

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake   

On the weekend we brought the family to the Crossroads Farmer’s Market to have a light lunch after church. I wandered the aisles of Chongo’s food market eyeing all the fall fruits still available. They had some lovely British Columbia apples and pears. And that is about where the ‘locally’ grown produce ended. Chongo’s is a year round fruits and veg market which means that during the long cold winter months they import fresh produce from warmer countries where it is in season. It is odd, but sometimes going to a market and selecting beets, kale, potatoes, and carrots for months on end gets severely depressing. At Chongo’s I found some really amazing Blood Oranges. Plump, juicy, and full of vitamin C (sunshine!) these blood oranges were coming home with me! I bought a huge bag full knowing that if I didn’t I wouldn’t get a chance to bake with them before the family gobbled them all up.


Sometimes when I’m searching for a recipe online for a specific ingredient I just type that ingredient and search for images. If one particular image grabs me I’ll see if there is an associated recipe. In this case the Spectacular Upside Down Blood Orange Cake from Not Quite Nigella really grabbed my attention. It is a beautiful way to showcase this unique citrus fruit. 

The Upside Down Blood Orange Cake began with thinly sliced blood oranges being cooked in a simple syrup until the pith was slightly translucent. oranges1I then cooled them off a bit and layered them inside a parchment paper lined spring form pan. I made the cake batter and spread it carefully in the orange lined pan so as not to disturb the placement of the oranges. oranges2After an hour in the oven and a bit of cooling, the cake was ready.


Yield: 8 servings

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

(taken from Not Quite Nigella)

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes



  • 2-3 blood oranges; sliced thinly using a mandoline or knife
  • 1 cup caster or superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


  • 200g unsalted butter 
  • 200g raw castor sugar (spin some brown sugar in the food processor)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200g/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup natural yogurt



  1. Preheat oven to 320F. Line 25cm cake pan (I use springform) with baking paper in one piece folding down the sides to fit.
  2. In a saucepan, place the water and sugar and stir on low to medium heat until dissolved.
  3. Turn up the heat to medium high heat and add the blood orange slices.
  4. Once boiling, simmer for 10-15 minutes (mine took a bit longer) until the peels become semi translucent.
  5. Remove the orange slices with a slotted spoon and boil the syrup so that it becomes slightly thicker.
  6. Cool the oranges until they are fine to handle with hands.
  7. Lay the cooled orange slices in the pan starting with the sides (making sure they curve inward at the corner) and working your way into the centre of the pan. Use some syrup to stick them to the paper if you need to. You can overlap them too. Reserve the syrup to brush over cake once baked.


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add eggs one at a time.  
  3. Stir in almond meal, flour and yogurt and mix until just combined (do not overwork).
  4. Spoon into the prepared tin making sure not to dislodge the orange slices.
  5. Bake for 60 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes. The longer you cool it the sturdier the cake will be.
  7. Upturn carefully onto the serving plate and remove the parchment paper.
  8. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the reserved glaze.
  9. Serve with double cream or thick yogurt.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:Calories: 625Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 163mgCarbohydrates: 70gFiber: 5gSugar: 57gProtein: 11g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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  1. Transplanted Cook

    I make the boiled/puréed orange cake frequently – always a favorite with family and friends. And, easy to do + fills the kitchen with a lovely citrus perfume. My recipe originally cam from Diana Henry’s wonderful cookbook, Crazy Water Pickled Lemons, but I’ve since learned it is a common Middle Eastern method. I much prefer it to the sweeter upside down cake.


    1. dishnthekitchen

      I think if you like marmalade you will like this cake.It’s not bitter to the point of no return but there are many who don’t like a strong citrus flavour. I thought it was great!

  2. Dale

    I can so totally relate to a temporary loss of kitchen mojo. I just go with it and acknowledge that somedays (or weeks) will be eaten from the freezer while I recharge by throwing myself into something else in life …which gets the juices going again. But I have to say, these cakes are inspiring and doesn’t look like you’ve lost your touch.


    1. dishnthekitchen

      Thanks so much Dale. Of course it was the Blood Oranges that inspired me.
      I have a freezer just waiting to be plundered as well…

  3. nepaliaustralian

    I love this kind of cake, not too heavy. 🙂


    1. dishnthekitchen

      yes, it had a great texture and once in a while it is nice to get away from flour based cakes.

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