Orange Upside Down Cake

Bright yet dark : best way to describe this cake! It is a dark caramel on the top, with oozy, bright citrus in each bite, balanced with a soft vanilla crumb. Delightful indeed! 🧡🧡

I first baked this cake for a friend’s birthday and everyone loved it! I’ve also made it for A’s family, a Christmas party and for my house help as a little Christmas gift 🙂 Hits all around! So you know it is a good one!

While the base of the cake is a regular recipe, it’s the caramel that can get a little tricky. The first two times I made this, it came out perfectly, but the next wasn’t as dark and beautiful. So the caramel is where you really need to focus and have patience. It is a wet caramel, so takes more time and you need to let it become dark, without burning, and reduce it till it is fairly thick so that it doesn’t become very liquidy once you add the butter.

That’s how thick it should be, even after butter is added. Then you transfer it to the pan and top with thinly sliced oranges.

Then add the batter, bake till done. Once ready, take it out and flip immediately so that the caramel doesn’t harden.

You have to let it cool fully before you can slice it. But once you do slice, this will get over quick!

The cake is soft and light with dark, caramelly oranges on top. Keeping the rind on the orange is essential since it adds both texture and flavour, while balancing sweetness.

Try this soon, while those gorgeous oranges or tangerines are in season! You’ll love it 🧡

Orange Upside Down Cake

  • Servings: 10-12 slices
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print



  • 2 oranges
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 2 cups (240g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100g butter – room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange juice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar


  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 42g butter – room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Slice the oranges into thin rounds, around 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Remove seeds. Keep the slices aside on a plate. Keep 1 tsp of orange juice aside as well for the cake
  2. Grease a 9 inch pan with butter
  3. In a saucepan, add the water and sugar for the caramel and bring to a boil on medium heat. Swirl every minute or so, to prevent sticking. Don’t stir it
  4. Once it is boiling, swirl more frequently, and let it reduce for 10-15 minutes till it becomes dark and thick, but not burnt
  5. Once it is at that stage, take it off the heat, add soft butter and take it back on the heat and whisk to combine. It should be a thick caramel, not a liquidy sauce
  6. Mix in salt and pour this onto the base of the greased pan. Swirl so it spreads evenly
  7. Place the oranges on top so that all the caramel is covered, you might not need to use all the slices
  8. Pre heat the oven to 175C
  9. In a medium sized bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add in the orange zest
  10. In a cup, add the milk and vinegar and mix. Let it sit for 5 minutes
  11. In the meantime, in a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar for 2 minutes till light and fluffy
  12. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition
  13. Mix in the vanilla extract and orange juice
  14. Add the flour mix and milk mix alternately, starting and ending with flour, combining gently after each addition
  15. Transfer the batter to the pan, on top of the oranges and spread evenly
  16. Bake at 175C for 45-50 minutes till the cake is done, a tester comes out cleanly and the top is golden brown
  17. Take the cake out of the oven, run a knife along the edges to loosen it a bit and place a plate on top of the pan
  18. Flip the pan and plate and get the cake out of the pan. Careful , the caramel is hot
  19. Let the cake cool to room temperature, slice and serve!

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A baker, a dancer, a marketeer. Sometimes lazy. Always up to try new food, read interesting books and meet amazing people :)

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