Baking/ Cakes & Gateaux/ Recipes

Orange Upside Down Cake – Winter Citrus Cake

Orange Upside Down Cake

The season’s best cake – an upside down winter citrus zesty orange cake is here to entice you. Full of citrusy flavours, soft, moist, buttery with melt in mouth texture and oh so delicious. The zesty fragrance of tangerines, with the nutty cinnamon and cloves , the richness of butter and the house smells so good and festive.

Oranges are typically winter fruit in India. An orange a day is must for skin, health and improving our immunity during the season. The lovely orange flavour is so enchanting that I keep adding the oranges and its candied peels in baked goods and Indian sweets and desserts.

The end result is always charming.

You might also like our Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

orange upside down cake


What is an upside down cake ?

An upside down cake is a variation of famous French Tarte Tartin (an upside down apple tart). An upside down pineapple cake had become quite popular in America, when canned pineapples began to available there.

And since then we have all kinds of upside down cake. From banana, oranges, pears to even pecans and nuts, an upside down cake is no doubt a delightful variation of the original.

The fruit caramelizes on its own from the heat in the oven and it lends and heightens the flavour in the cake.

The texture of such cakes remains soft, buttery like the original which perfectly matches the caramelized fruits on top.

orange upside down cake

How To Prepare The Oranges For Upside Down Orange Cake ?

You can prepare the oranges for orange upside down cake – three ways.

One, where you can simply slice the oranges and arrange them in the bottom of the pan. You can sprinkle powdered sugar also over it. Which helps to caramelize the oranges faster, retaining the moisture also.

Second, you can caramel the freshly squeezed orange juice (do not use the store bought orange juice) with spices and pour over the orange slices. This the same way we do with creme caramel pudding.

Third, where you slice the oranges and put them in the pan with sugar and spices. You can add little freshly squeezed orange juice too. And then stew it till orange slices are slightly candied and the liquid takes the golden sunset color hue.

This is the way I prepare the oranges for this upside down orange cake, inspired from Donna Hay’s famous upside down orange cake.

You might also like our French Orange Yogurt Cake.

Ingredients for Orange Upside Down Cake

Oranges – any variety will do (but not Indian Nagpur oranges). Choose the oranges / tangerines / mandarines that have thin skin. You should be able to zest the skin of the orange too. I have used tangerines for the recipe as the citrus flavour, the tartness is quite sharp. And when zested, the hands , the house smells of amazing citrus flavours.

Flour – this recipe particularly calls for soft flour, like cake flour. So substituting it with whole wheat or any other flour will alter the taste and texture of the cake.

Eggs – are not just acts as a binder here. Eggs acts as an emulsifier too. It makes this cake more soft, fluffier and helps to rise the cake. In general eggs can be replaced with yogurt or flax eggs or condensed milk in baking. But that makes the cake quite dense. So if you still want to make this cake without eggs, try using vinegar and baking soda combination. But still the taste and texture will not be the same.

Butter – need to be softened at room temperature. Do not try softening or melting it in microwave. Instead measure and take out the butter from the fridge, well in advance. A perfectly softened butter can be whipped to soft peaks with granulated sugar.

I have also used pure orange extract (different from regular orange essence) and orange marmalade in the recipe for extra flavour enhancement. Because I had these two at that moment. If you do not have, just skip it.


orange cake

How To Make Sticky Orange Syrup For Orange Cake ?

The sticky orange cake that you will made for this cake lends an absolute delightful touch to this upside down orange cake. The candied orange slices taste heavenly against the soft and buttery cake.

Choose a ripe tangerine and cut thinly into slices. Mix it very well with powdered sugar. Bring a pan with water and sugar to boil with cinnamon and cloves throw in. Slide the sugar dusted orange slices , few spoonful orange marmalade jam and reduce everything till the orange slices are soft and partially candied. And the liquid turns into sticky golden sunshine orange .

Orange Upside Down Cake Recipe

Delicious soft and buttery orange upside down cake with sticky orange syrup
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Course: Cakes And Pastries
Cuisine: Australian
Keyword: orange cake, orange upside down cake
Servings: 8
Author: Sukanya Ghosh


For Sticky Orange Syrup

  • ½ Cup Water
  • ½ Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2-3 Cloves and Cinnamon
  • 2 Tangerines, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp Orange Marmalade Jam

For Orange Cake

  • 1 ¾ Cup All Purpose Flour / Cake Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2-3 tbsp Orange Zest
  • 80 gm Butter, Salted
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ Cup Caster Sugar White
  • 1 tsp Pure Orange Extract
  • ½ Cup Orange Juice


For Sticky Orange Syrup

  • Bring to boil 1/2 cup water / orange juice and powdered sugar.
  • Dust the thinly sliced orange slices with powdered sugar.
  • Once the sugar is melted, add the cloves, cinnamon, orange jam and sugar dusted orange slices into the pan.
  • Add lil warm water if requires. Reduce the syrup on low flame till it becomes sticky and caramelized into golden sunshine color.
    The orange slices should be soft by now and should look slightly candied.
    Keep this aside and let it cool for few minutes.

How To Make The Orange Cake

  • Pre heat the oven to 180 C
  • Stir the orange zest with little bit of caster sugar and keep it aside. This step heightens the flavour of orange in the cake.
  • For creaming the butter- butter should be softened and eggs should be at room temperature.
    So take the butter and eggs out of the fridge well in advance.
  • Whip the softened butter and brown sugar with the help of hand mixer till light and pale.
    Add the caster sugar and whip till the butter looks light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs at room temperature till fluffy and creamy.
    Add the orange extract and the orange zest. Fold it with a spatula.
  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour with baking powder. I use salted butter so I do not use extra salt in the recipe
  • Add flour in batches to the egg-butter-sugar mixture. Fold it well after each addition.
    Do it with very light hand. Do not mix it vigorously.
  • Add orange juice and blend it very well with the help of a balloon whisk.
  • Batter should be thick, smooth, lump free and slightly pouring type.

Prepare The Pan

  • I have used a round 7 *2.5 inch baking pan.
  • In a pan pour the syrup first.
    Then arrange the orange slices in circular fashion.
  • Pour the batter. Spread it evenly.
  • Bake the cake at 180 C for 50 minute or until the tester comes out clean.

Un Molding The Upside Down Cake

  • Cool the cake in the pan for full 10 minute.
  • Run the spatula around the cake to loosen it. This step is very important. Make sure that the cake dose not stick to the sides or bottom of the pan.
  • Once you are sure that the cake is not sticking to any part of the pan, then put a flat tray or plate and flip the pan upside down carefully.
    Tap the bottom (which is now at the top)of the pan two three times and carefully lift the pan.
  • Upside down orange cake is ready to serve .


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