The Vibrant Delight: Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake


 The Vibrant Delight: Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake


In the cold and dreary days of winter, there's nothing like the vibrant burst of citrus to brighten our tables. Among the citrus fruits, blood oranges stand out with their striking ruby flesh and unique flavor. One delightful way to showcase the beauty of blood oranges is through a mouthwatering blood orange upside-down cake. This one-pan cake, made with a combination of cornmeal and flour, is a simple yet elegant dessert that captures the essence of this seasonal fruit. Not only is it visually stunning, but it also offers a delightful burst of citrusy goodness in every bite.

The Allure of Blood Oranges

Blood oranges have long been celebrated for their distinctive taste and stunning appearance. These citrus fruits are a natural mutation of the traditional orange, characterized by their deep red or maroon-colored flesh. Their flavor profile is a delightful blend of sweet citrus with hints of raspberry and berry undertones. This unique combination of flavors makes blood oranges a versatile ingredient that can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.

Exploring the Ingredients

To create the perfect blood orange upside-down cake, you'll need a handful of simple yet flavorful ingredients. Let's take a closer look at each component:

1. Blood Oranges

The star of the show, blood oranges, will be the centerpiece of this delightful cake. Choose medium-sized blood oranges that are firm and have a vibrant red hue. The oranges will be sliced into thin wheels and arranged in a single layer at the bottom of the cake pan, creating a stunning visual display.

2. Cornmeal and Flour

A combination of fine cornmeal and all-purpose flour provides the cake with a unique texture and flavor. The cornmeal adds a subtle crunch and a hint of nuttiness, while the all-purpose flour ensures a light and fluffy crumb.

3. Butter and Sugar

Unsalted butter and light brown sugar come together to create a rich and caramelized base for the cake. When melted together, they form a luscious syrup that infuses the blood oranges with sweetness and enhances their natural flavors.

4. Baking Powder and Salt

Baking powder and fine sea salt are essential ingredients to ensure the cake rises beautifully and has a balanced flavor. The baking powder provides the necessary leavening agent, while the salt enhances the overall taste of the cake.

5. Eggs, Sour Cream, and Vanilla Extract

Eggs play a crucial role in providing structure and moisture to the cake. Along with sour cream, they contribute to a tender and velvety texture. A touch of vanilla extract adds a warm and aromatic note that complements the citrus flavors.

Preparing the Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake

Now that we have a good understanding of the ingredients, let's dive into the step-by-step process of creating this delightful blood orange upside-down cake.

Step 1: Preparing the Oven and Pan

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan to ensure the cake doesn't stick to the sides.

Step 2: Creating the Caramelized Base

In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the light brown sugar and fresh lemon juice to the melted butter, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. This mixture will form the caramelized base for the cake.

Step 3: Arranging the Blood Oranges

Grate half a teaspoon of zest from one of the blood oranges. Slice off the tops and bottoms of both oranges, then remove the rind and pith by following the curve of the fruit. Slice the oranges crosswise into thin wheels, approximately ¼-inch thick, and discard any seeds. Arrange the blood orange wheels in a single, tight layer on top of the brown sugar mixture in the prepared cake pan.

Step 4: Mixing the Dry and Wet Ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together the orange zest, fine cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and fine sea salt. In a separate bowl, cream together 2 sticks (225 grams) of unsalted butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the sour cream and vanilla extract. Gradually fold in the dry mixture by hand until just combined.

Step 5: Baking and Serving

Carefully scrape the batter into the cake pan, covering the arranged blood oranges. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife along the edges to loosen it. Invert the cake onto a platter and let it cool completely before serving.

Nutritional Information

While a blood orange upside-down cake is undeniably delicious, it's also essential to be mindful of its nutritional composition. Here's a general overview of the nutritional analysis per serving:

  • Calories: 558
  • Fat: 32 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 19 grams
  • Trans Fat: 1 gram
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 9 grams
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 63 grams
  • Dietary Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugars: 41 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Sodium: 262 milligrams

Please note that these values are approximate and may vary based on specific ingredients and preparation methods.


Embrace the vibrant allure of blood oranges with a delightful blood orange upside-down cake. This visually stunning dessert showcases the beauty and unique flavor of blood oranges, providing a burst of citrusy goodness in every bite. With a simple preparation process and a handful of flavorful ingredients, this cake is sure to impress both your eyes and taste buds. So, gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to indulge in this delightful winter treat.

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