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Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake

Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake Recipe By: Cece Kirkwood 

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Spring has sprung! Which means it is time for all the beautiful citrus flavors to come exploding into our taste buds. 

The Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake is built off my Orange Cupcake Recipe which I am truly obsessed with. While cupcakes are certainly a special occasion dish, I wanted to create a cake that will completely elevate any table it is placed upon. I’ve always loved the look of upside down cakes, so why not make one with the gorgeous orange and yellow colors of citrus!? 

I’ve paired this Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake with a simple vanilla glaze that you can drizzle onto each slice as you devour every last bite. 

Ready to dig in? 

The Process 

Prepare the workspace

Ingredients for Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake

Gather all the ingredients for this recipe, pre-measure and place them into small individual glass bowls. Then, preheat the oven to 350ºF on the convection setting. Next, spray and line an 8 inch cake tin. 

Prep the Citrus “Top” of the Cake 

With the skin still on, thinly slice the oranges and the lemons. Then, using a paring knife, very carefully remove the skin from the citrus slices so that the fruit remains intact. It is important to leave the skin on when slicing otherwise the fruit slices are more likely to come apart. 

Once the citrus is prepared, place the sugar and water in a microwave safe bowl. Place in the microwave for 30 second intervals, whisking in between each, until the sugar is fully dissolved into the water. 

Then pour half of the sugar water into the lined cake pan. Arrange the citrus in the pan so that it fully covers the bottom of the cake pan. Start out with full circle slices, then you can start breaking the slices into smaller pieces and arranging them in between the full slices. 

Finally, pour the rest of the sugar water on top of the citrus slices and set it aside. 

Create the Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake Batter

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Place to the side and grab a large bowl for the wet ingredients. 

In that large bowl, combine the melted butter and superfine sugar. When fully combined, this mixture will look almost like apple sauce. Add in the whole milk and eggs, whisk to combine.

Then, add in your zest and combine. And finally, the orange juice and vanilla – stir to combine.

Now, grab the dry ingredients and gradually add them into the liquid mixture. Combine well using a rubber spatula. 

Final Prep and Bake the Cake! 

Once the cake batter is fully combined, carefully pour it into the cake tin right on top of the Citrus Slices. Then bake the cake for 30 – 40 minutes until the cake is fully set. Hint: See my tip below for how to know when your cake is fully set and baked! 

Allow the cake to fully cool (at least 20-30 minutes) before removing the cake from the tin. Since this is an upside down cake, carefully flip the cake out of the tin onto a cooling rack and allow it to rest there. You may notice some of the citrus juices spill out as you flip the cake over – that is totally okay! 

Prepare the Vanilla Glaze, Slice the Cake, Drizzle & Enjoy! 

All that is left to do is whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. 

Once the glaze is prepped and the cake cooled, slice yourself a piece, drizzle the glaze on top and devour! 

The Tips 

How can I tell when my Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake is done? 

There are two easy ways to tell that your cake is done. 

#1 When the cake “sizzle” dies down.

I learned this trick from the Great British Bake Off a few seasons ago. My favorite way to see if my cake is done is by listening to it. When the cake is still baking, you will hear a very clear sizzle. Once that sizzle begins to quiet, your cake is done! 

#2 Using a Toothpick! 

I then like to take a toothpick and test a few spots in the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done! 

How long does this cake last in the fridge?

If you have any cake leftover after that first presentation, you can wrap this cake tightly and place it into the fridge for up to 3 days. I suggest keeping the glaze separate and only drizzling on when you are ready to eat a slice (or two). The drizzle might be a little stiff when it comes out of the fridge, so simply microwave the glaze for about 30 seconds, whisk it together and it’ll be ready to go! 

Do I have to remove the skin from the Oranges and Lemons?

YES! If you do not remove the skin from the orange and citrus, the cake will be quite bitter. 

What is superfine sugar?

Superfine sugar, or caster sugar, is nothing more than a granulated sugar ground “super” finely. You can find it in most grocery stores near the rest of the sugars in the baking aisle. We use it in this recipe as it dissolves quicker than regular granulated sugar which is perfect for this recipe since we are not creaming the butter and sugar together for the cupcakes.  

Why is this recipe in grams?

Baking is a science and in science you want things to be exact and precise. The best way to do this is by weighing out your ingredients using a simple scale. Ever baked a cookie using the same recipe, yet somehow it turns out slightly different each time? That is because when measuring by volume, you can’t be as precise. It is vital that your ingredient ratios are accurate for a reliable bake every time. 

The Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake Recipe

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Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake

A close up photo of the Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake

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Spring has sprung with the Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake! Which means it is time for all the beautiful citrus flavors to fill our taste buds.

Tools Needed:

  • 8in cake pan
  • Microplane for zesting
  • Paring knife
  • Author: Cece
  • Prep Time: 45 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 1 hr 25 min
  • Yield: 1 8in Cake 1x

Ingredients

Scale

Citrus Topping: 

  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 100g sugar
  • 60ml of water

Orange Cake Ingredients:

  • 190g flour
  • 33g cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp Morton’s Kosher Salt
  • 115g unsalted butter, melted
  • 150g superfine sugar
  • 60g whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 5 tbsp of orange juice (about the juice of 1 orange)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla Glaze:

  • 115g confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • ½ tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Gather all the ingredients for this recipe Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake, pre-measure and place them into small individual glass bowls. Then, preheat the oven to 350ºF on the convection setting. Next, spray and line an 8 inch cake tin.

Prep the Citrus “Top” of the Cake

  • With the skin still on, thinly slice the oranges and the lemons. Then, using a paring knife, very carefully remove the skin from the citrus slices so that the fruit remains intact. It is important to leave the skin on when slicing otherwise the fruit slices are more likely to come apart.
  • Once the citrus is prepared, place the sugar and water in a microwave safe bowl. Place in the microwave for 30 second intervals, whisking in between each, until the sugar is fully dissolved into the water.
  • Then pour half of the sugar water into the lined cake pan. Arrange the citrus in the pan so that it fully covers the bottom of the cake pan. Start out with full circle slices, then you can start breaking the slices into smaller pieces and arranging them in between the full slices.
  • Finally, pour the rest of the sugar water on top of the citrus slices and set it aside.

Create the Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake Batter

  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Place to the side and grab a large bowl for the wet ingredients.
  • In that large bowl, combine the melted butter and superfine sugar. When fully combined, this mixture will look almost like apple sauce. Add in the whole milk and eggs, whisk to combine. Then, add in your zest and combine. And finally, the orange juice and vanilla – stir to combine.
  • Now, grab the dry ingredients and gradually add them into the liquid mixture. Combine well using a rubber spatula.

Final Prep and Bake the Cake!

  • Once the cake batter is fully combined, carefully pour it into the cake tin right on top of the Citrus Slices. Then bake the cake for 30 – 40 minutes until the cake is fully set. Hint: See my tip below for how to know when your cake is fully set and baked!
  • Allow the cake to fully cool (at least 20-30 minutes) before removing the cake from the tin. Since this is an upside down cake, carefully flip the cake out of the tin onto a cooling rack and allow it to rest there. You may notice some of the citrus juices spill out as you flip the cake over – that is totally okay!

Prepare the Vanilla Glaze, Slice the Cake, Drizzle & Enjoy!

  • All that is left to do is whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Once the glaze is prepped and the cake cooled, slice yourself a piece, drizzle the glaze on top and devour!

Notes

How can I tell when my Upside Down Orange Citrus Cake is done? There are two easy ways to tell that your cake is done.

  • #1 When the cake “sizzle” dies down. I learned this trick from the Great British Bake Off a few seasons ago. My favorite way to see if my cake is done is by listening to it. When the cake is still baking, you will hear a very clear sizzle. Once that sizzle begins to quiet, your cake is done!
  • #2 Using a Toothpick! I then like to take a toothpick and test a few spots in the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done!

Do I have to remove the skin from the Oranges and Lemons? YES! If you do not remove the skin from the orange and citrus, the cake will be quite bitter.

Did you make this recipe?

One of my favorite things is to see you making one of my recipes! Please share a photo on social media by tagging @bakingbycece.

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