Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

Posted on Feb 1, 2018

Wow, it’s February already….seriously how did that happen? Honestly the older I get the quicker time moves. I remember being a kid in school and the Summer holidays took forever to arrive. Now they just seem to fly by, adulthood can suck sometimes! But on the other hand, it is what it is and we just make the most of it. Like when I saw these beautiful blood oranges in the supermarket the other day. Their season is so short which means you have to grab them as soon as you see them. As usual, I bought too many to just eat and I had to find other ways to use them up. Hence why today I am sharing this beautiful Blood Orange Upside Down Cake with you.

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Blood Orange Upside Down Cake - easy to make and packed full of sweet citrus flavour |

Blood Oranges.

I have a feeling they may be known as ruby oranges these days, but as a kid, they were always called blood oranges. And its true what they say, old habits die hard. Whatever you prefer to call them I think we can all agree that their season is too short and they taste amazing! Sweet and juicy and oh so pretty.


Blood Orange Upside Down Cake - easy to make and packed full of sweet citrus flavour |


I was worried about using a raw citrus fruit for this blood orange upside down cake, so I decided to help soften up the rinds a little bit very gently simmering them in a little sugar water for 25 minutes. Once the orange slices were lovely and soft, I reduced the remaining orangy sugar water down by 2/3rds to create this lovely sweet sticky syrup that I used to drizzle over the cake. I didn’t use all the syrup up, just enough to give it an extra flavour boost, a few tablespoons at most. But use as much as you want to, but be careful as this is already a pretty dense cake and you don’t want to make it soggy.

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake - easy to make and packed full of sweet citrus flavour |


I kept the remaining syrup for drizzling over individual slices and I can highly recommend serving with a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt to turn a simple slice of cake into a dessert. And if you want to be a little more indulgent, warm a slice up in the microwave for a minute and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Blood Orange Upside Down Cake - easy to make and packed full of sweet citrus flavour |

The Cake.

I try not to use any ingredients that may be considered a little weird in my bakes, so people can easily make them if they wish to. But I do love an upside-down cake made with creme fraiche. And this blood orange upside down cake is no exception. The creme fraiche adds a lovely richness to the cake. But in a pinch, full-fat Greek yoghurt will make a good substitution. As I mentioned before this is a pretty dense cake, but in a good way. The oranges release their lovely juices as the cake bakes and infuse’s the whole sponge with their flavour. And the extra syrup from the finishing drizzle just sends it over the top. But if you are not into drizzle type cakes then don’t add the final drizzle at the end.


Blood Orange Upside Down Cake - easy to make and packed full of sweet citrus flavour |


Just a side note, this cake does deflate a little after you take it out of the oven. That is perfectly natural because you are letting it rest upside down as such. Well, it is an upside down cake! As well as a snack cake this really does make a fine dessert cake as well. If you are a fan of citrus flavours then the chances are you will like this cake.


Blood Orange Upside Down Cake - easy to make and packed full of sweet citrus flavour |


Don’t worry if you can’t find blood oranges you can easily make this blood orange upside down cake with regular oranges as well. So what delicious delights have you guys been making with this seasons blood oranges?


Blood Orange Upside Down Cake




Yield 10 slices

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake is easy to make and packed full of sweet citrus flavour in every bite. The orange slices are boiled in a sugar syrup first to soften them up so they are perfect for this cake.


For the oranges

  • 3-4 medium-sized blood oranges - sliced thinly
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 240 milliliters water (1 cup)

For the cake

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 150 grams plain / all purpose flour (1 and ¼ cups)
  • ½ teaspoon of both baking soda and baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 200 grams unsalted butter (1 cup)
  • 105 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 90 grams light brown sugar (1/2 cup - lightly packed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 200 grams creme fraiche (3/4 cup)


  1. In a large saucepan over a medium heat, gently warm up the water and 3 tablespoons of light brown sugar.
  2. Slice your oranges into thin slices and add them to the sugary water and allow them to simmer over a low heat for 20-25 minutes. You want the rind to soften and start to go transparent.
  3. Once that happens carefully remove your orange slices from the water and allow them to fully cool down on a plate. Increase the heat and reduce the syrup down until you have about 1/3 of the liquid left.
  4. Once that is all done preheat your oven to 180C / 350F / Gas mark 4 and lightly grease an 8-inch cake pan and place a disk of parchment paper on the bottom and lightly butter the parchment paper.
  5. Sprinkle over your 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar and gently place your cooled cooked orange slices over the disk of parchment until it is fully covered in orange slices.
  6. In a medium-sized mixing bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together, then place to one side.
  7. In a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  8. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla.
  9. On a slow speed gently beat in half of the flour mixture.
  10. Then add the creme fraiche and gently mix it in then add the remaining flour mixture and mix until everything is combined.
  11. Pour the batter over the orange slices and smooth it out with a spatula.
  12. Pop your cake into your hot oven and bake for 45 minutes. Some ovens (like mine) are slower and your cake may require a little more time. To stop your cake from over browning place some foil over the top of the cake and bake for a further 5-10 minutes.
  13. After 45 minutes check your cake for doneness, if a pick comes out clean your cake is baked if not follow the above step.
  14. Leave your cake to cool for 15-20 minutes in the tin before turning it out onto a wire rack and gently remove the parchment paper, if you want to add the extra syrup then do it now while the cake is still warm so it can soak all the way through. If you don't want to then just leave your cake to fully cool down to room temperature before storing this cake in an airtight tin.
  15. This cake will keep well for up to 5 days when kept in a cool environment.

Courses cake

Cuisine British

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 slice (out of 10)

Amount Per Serving

Calories 349

% Daily Value

Total Fat 21.6 g


Saturated Fat 13.2 g


Cholesterol 36.3 mg


Sodium 264 mg


Total Carbohydrates 36.3 g


Dietary Fiber 1.1 g


Sugars 23.3 g

Protein 3.9 g


* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


  1. What a pretty cake! I still call them blood oranges!
    Oh time. The older I get, the more I have an internal struggle of where I should spend my time. I fall into that trap of overthinking it sometimes instead of just being. There is still so much to learn 😉

    Post a Reply
    • Couldn’t agree more Shauna, I’m glad I am not the only one who still calls them blood oranges 😀

      Post a Reply
  2. You truly made something stunning!!! You knocked this cake out of the park – it’s utter perfection!

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  3. february came out of nowhere!!
    i love this cake! i’m a big fan of upside down cakes but haven’t done one with citrus OR creme fraiche. must try!

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks, Grace, citrus works really well in an upside down cake!

      Post a Reply
    • Thank you, John. It worked so well with blood oranges 😀

      Post a Reply
  4. It’s so beautiful, Emma – and I love the dense look of it! Yum!

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  5. Emma this upside down cake is gorgeous. Love your idea of simmering the oranges in a little sugar water before putting them in your upside down cake. Of course the sauce takes this recipe over the top! Pinning! Wishing you a super weekend!

    Post a Reply
    • Simmering the oranges made such a difference! Thank you and I hope you had a great weekend 😀

      Post a Reply
  6. This is absolutely gorgeous! You’re very talented.

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  7. Love upside down cakes with any seasonal fruit! This looks yummilicious!

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