citrus and sunshine March 8, 2010


Last week was another long shoot week. I had several long days and a nasty bug that hit at the end of the week…so not much happened in the way of beautiful cooking. Also, the weather has been so cold and dismal here that it's been a bit tough to get inspired, I have to admit.

Thankfully, today provided a much needed break in the dreary, rainy days we've been enduring here in Atlanta. The sun has been blissfully shining and it's nice enough to have the windows open. It's been nice spending the afternoon in some quiet sunbeams & doing some baking. I've had these incredible blood oranges sitting around since I posted the salad I incorporated them in. Fearing they'd go to waste, I made this simple blood orange upside down cake today.

I have to say – it's stunning. The blood oranges look like fireworks or flowers on top of the cake. The cake part comes together really quickly using ordinary pantry ingredients. If you want your cake to be less sweet, like I do, use grapefruit juice in your batter. If you want to amp the sugar up, use orange juice. I like the bitterness of the grapefruit juice with the blood oranges. A little powdered sugar or not-too-sweet whipped cream would be the perfect compliment to this cake.

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake – serves 8

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit or orange juice
  • 1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 medium blood oranges, peeled and cut into wheels about 1/4" thick and large seeds removed 

– Preheat oven to 375 F. In to a medium size bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder & baking soda.
– In another small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and sugar in small bowl. You're trying to eliminate any large chunks of brown sugar and have an even mix of sugars.
– In a separate bowl combine the egg, grapefruit/orange juice, vanilla extract, olive oil and add 1/2 cup of the combined sugar mixture. Stir in the dry ingredients in small batches until batter is well mixed but not overworked.
– In a buttered & floured 8-inch spring-form cake pan, sprinkle the rest of the remaining 1/2 cup of combined sugar in the bottom of the pan. Arrange the blood orange slices in bottom of the prepared pan.
Pour the batter over the oranges and place in the oven.
– Bake in oven for 45 minutes until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool for 30 minutes before inverting the pan on a large plate or cake stand. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar, lightly sweetened whipped cream or ice cream.


The Teacher Cooks Mar 8, 2010 05:03 pm

This cake is absolutely gorgeous!!! I have never made an upside down cake with citrus. You have inspired me.

The Frugal Hostess Mar 8, 2010 05:03 pm

Dude, that is beautiful. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Melissa Libby Mar 8, 2010 05:03 pm

that is the most beautiful cake i have ever seen. seriously.

Jenny Mar 8, 2010 05:03 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a prettier cake. I wonder how it would be with lemons? Probably not as pretty, but I think it might be quite good!

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Mar 8, 2010 05:03 pm

I was trying to put together the words to describe this cake, and then read your similie of firecrackers. They do look like firecrackers and dried flowers. This is a beautiful cake!

chris Mar 8, 2010 05:03 pm

*Swoon* Looks amazing…

Maria Mar 8, 2010 05:03 pm

I am in love! What a gorgeous cake!

Jason Mar 8, 2010 06:03 pm

Wow. You seriously hit this one out of the park. That wonderful citrus winter taste with the spring image…

Sean Mar 8, 2010 07:03 pm

Such a beautiful cake t! The blood oranges really do look like fireworks :)
Hope you’re feeling better now!!

my spatula Mar 8, 2010 09:03 pm

what a pick-me-up for your rainy days! beautiful.

tamih Mar 9, 2010 04:03 am

I’ve also seen upside down cakes done with clementines, which also looked really delish.

tamih Mar 9, 2010 04:03 am

ML – Thank you! Very flattered :)

tamih Mar 9, 2010 04:03 am

Probably not as visually pretty but still darned tasty. I mentioned to someone in another comment that I’ve seen this cake done with clementines where they sliced them really thin and left the rind on. Really visually stunning, also.

tamih Mar 9, 2010 04:03 am

Sean- I am feeling much better. Thanks! :)

len Mar 9, 2010 06:03 am

Thank you for this wonderful recipe, il looks like a multitude of autumnly sugarly, flowers. It has warmed my day :)

Rose Mar 9, 2010 09:03 am

Just beautiful! I love the firecrackery look of the oranges. Such a simple & elegant presentation.

Kat Mar 9, 2010 02:03 pm

Wow, that’s really cool! My birthday is later this week, so maybe I’ll drop the hint to my friends that I want this cake… :)

David Mar 9, 2010 03:03 pm

Simply gorgeous!
I have at least five different blood orange recipes I’ve been wanting to try. And now this … I think I will have to rob a market or something ;)

renaissance costume Mar 11, 2010 08:03 am

I love cakes.. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe..
I’m drooling right now.. hope i can find a vacant time and try that beauty.. :)

Michele Mar 14, 2010 08:03 pm

WOW! I can’t stop looking at that photo. The cake looks amazing!

Shari Mar 17, 2010 06:03 am

Beautiful symmetry and wonderful, rich coloring! Not to mention the taste which, I’m sure was wonderful!

Amy May 3, 2010 11:05 am

By looking at the picture, i feel like to find time to bake…
Thanks for sharing. It’s so beautiful!

indiandairy May 5, 2010 01:05 am

By looking at the picture…

[…] were to makeĀ  The Rio Star Upside-Down Cake again, I would use the oranges instead, similar to what Tami did with Blood Oranges. I felt that the grapefruit became a little on the bitter side. Also, I would also section the […]

Becca Feb 16, 2012 06:02 pm

This looks absolutely beautiful, we have 5kg of blood oranges to get through so this may well be getting made!