Upside-Down Blood Orange Cake

Upside-Down Blood Orange Cake

In the cold days of a long winter, our tables are brightened by citrus season, and nothing has more flair than a blood orange. Here is a one-pan cake of cornmeal and flour that lets the orange’s ruby flesh shine. It takes just a little time to assemble and less than an hour to bake. The result is a festive fruit dessert! We used Sicilian Blood Orange “Mammarancia“.


  • 270 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons), at room temperature
  • 130 grams light brown sugar (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 medium-sized blood oranges
  • 122 grams fine cornmeal (about 1 cup)
  • 65 grams all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
  • 8 grams baking powder (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 2 grams fine sea salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 200 grams granulated sugar (about 1 cup)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Step 1

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

Step 2

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons (45 grams) butter. Add the brown sugar and lemon juice; stir until sugar melts, about 3 minutes. Scrape mixture into bottom of prepared pan.

Step 3

Grate 1/2 teaspoon zest from one of the oranges, then slice off the tops and bottoms of both oranges. Place oranges on a clean, flat surface, and slice away the rind and pith, top to bottom, following the curve of the fruit. Slice each orange crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick wheels; discard any seeds. Arrange orange wheels on top of brown sugar mixture in a single, tight layer.

Step 4

In a large bowl, whisk together orange zest, cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together remaining 2 sticks (225 grams) butter with granulated sugar. Beat in eggs, one a time, then beat in sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the dry mixture by hand.

Step 5

Scrape batter into pan over oranges. Transfer to oven and bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes, then run a knife along pan’s edges to loosen it; invert onto a platter and cool completely before serving.

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