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Kumquat Upside Down Cake

Don’t let the simplicity of this kumquat upside down cake fool you. The candied kumquats nestled into the cake creates incredibly moist and delicious dessert. Find more olive oil cake recipes here.

Overhead shot of kumquat upside down cake on a white marble background by FamilySpice.com

I adore fruits. Maybe it’s my Persian heritage, but fruits are a HUGE part of our diet. It’s no wonder that a fruit bowl is always present in the Persian household. They are nutritious and so incredibly full wonderous flavors and textures.

So it’s not a surprise that I love featuring my favorite fruits in my desserts. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate, but pass me a fruit pie or fruit cake any day of the week. And my current fruit obsession? The kumquat!

Do you eat the skin of a kumquat?

Kumquats seem to confuse people. They look like oranges in their bright orange peels, but are the size of a large olive. Whenever I introduce kumquats to friends, they look at it sitting in their hands and ask how to eat it?

Do I peel it? Aren’t they bad? They are too sour! Kumquats stand out in the citrus family because the entire fruit, skin and all, is edible. The kumquat skin is deliciously sweet while the fruit and juice inside is tart. It makes an incredible combination in your mouth!

Kumquats do have seeds and they are edible. But, I personally, do not like the large seeds and do not eat them. When cooking or baking with kumquats, I usually remove all seeds first.

Overhead shot of kumquats in a blue cardboard box by FamilySpice.com

What are kumquats used for?

So if you are new to the wonderful world of the kumquat, you are probably wondering what other ways you can enjoy this beautiful fruit. I have made kumquat marmalade, cardamom kumquat bars and even kumquat margaritas.

If you can think of a recipe using oranges or lemons, then you can easily follow the same recipe using kumquats. Since I love upside down cakes, especially my Valencia orange upside down cake, it was only natural for me to make a kumquat upside down cake.

Closeup of overhead shot of kumquat upside down cake by FamilySpice.com

How to make a kumquat upside down cake

My favorite pan to bake my upside down cakes is the cast iron skillet. Since you need to melt the butter and caramelize the brown sugar, the cast iron pan is perfect for stove top cooking and baking. I like to make a nice syrup before adding the fruit on the bottom of the pan.

For the kumquats, I halve each kumquat, cutting the large ones in thirds and then arranging them along the bottom of the pan with the buttery brown syrup. For my 9-inch skillet, I used 20 kumquats. You could totally squeeze in more.

Kumquat halves lined on the bottom of a cast iron pan to make kumquat upside down cake by FamilySpice.com

I also finely chopped kumquats and added them to the cake batter, continuing the delicious citrus flavor throughout the cake. Once the kumquats are lining the bottom of your skillet, gently pour in the batter and bake it in the oven for about 30 minutes.

I let the cake cool for about 10-15 minutes before I flip the cake out of the pan. You need to invert the cake after it’s baked while it’s still warm. If the cake is completely cooled when you flip it over, the kumquats will stick to the pan.

Overhead shot of kumquat upside down cake garnished with flowers by FamilySpice.com

More kumquat desserts and recipes

Cardamom Kumquat Bars

Kumquat Marmalade with Orange Blossom Water

Kumquat Margarita

Yield: serves 8-10

Kumquat Upside Down Cake

Overhead shot of kumquat upside down cake on a white marble background by FamilySpice.com

Don't let the simplicity of this kumquat upside down cake fool you. The candied kumquats nestled into the cake creates incredibly moist and delicious dessert.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes


  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 2 TBS brown sugar, packed
  • 26 kumquats
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup thick plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Using a 9-inch cast iron skillet, heat over medium-high heat and melt butter.
  3. When butter is bubbling and just starts to brown, stir in brown sugar.
  4. Cook until sugar has dissolved into the butter and starts to melt, then remove from heat. Spread sugar mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan.
  5. Cut 20 kumquats in half, cutting the larger kumquats in thirds. Discard seeds.
  6. Arrange kumquat slices over the brown sugar into desired pattern and set aside.
  7. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  8. In a large bowl, mix together sugar and olive oil until combined and sugar is dissolved.
  9. Mix in yogurt, water and eggs until fluffy and combined.
  10. Remove the seeds from the remaining 6 kumquats and finely chop. Mix the kumquat pieces into the cake batter.
  11. In batches, mix flour mixture into yogurt mixture and stir until combined
  12. Gently pour cake batter evenly over the kumquat slices in your cast iron pan.
  13. Place cake in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  14. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
  15. Run a knife blade along the sides of the cake to insure a clean removal.
  16. Place serving plate over the cast iron skillet and carefully invert the cake. Keep the skillet on the plate until the cake falls into the plate.
  17. Remove skillet and allow cake to cool to room temperature, about 30 more minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 314Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 133mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 4gSugar: 22gProtein: 6g