A cast iron skillet makes this Upside Down Orange Cake super easy to whip together and caramelizes the Valencia orange slices, peel and all! Find more olive oil cake recipes here.
I love summer time. I love the sunshine. I do not enjoy winter time or the very short days we have. When it gets dark at 4pm, my body seems to think it’s time to crawl into bed at 7pm.
The one thing that takes these winter blues away is the knowledge that it is citrus season. The family fruit bowl is filled to the brim with oranges, tangerines and grapefruits. Those happy fruits put a smile on my face and brighten our short days.
Why this recipe is so awesome
I have a weakness for desserts, especially cakes and cookies. I totally go ga-ga for fruity desserts (although chocolate isn’t too far behind). I am still plowing through my endless supply of Valencia oranges from our visit to an orange grove, and an upside down orange cake was calling my name.
This cake is really, REALLY simple. It’s easy to mix together and assemble. The cake batter uses extra virgin olive oil – don’t let that scare you. I share why I love to bake with olive oil here.
By using thin-skinned Valencia oranges, you don’t have to remove the peel. The result is some delicious orange caramelizing goodness on the bottom of the cast-iron skillet.
There is orange flavor all throughout the cake and not just with the fruit on the bottom. I use orange juice and orange zest in the cake batter. The result is a fluffy and moist orange cake topped (once inverted) with caramelized orange slices.
Ingredients you need
- Oranges: Orange slices line the bottom of the pan. If you use Valencia oranges you can leave the peel on as it has very little pith (white part), which tastes bitter. If you are using a thick skinned orange, remove the skin and pith from your rounds. The batter also uses orange juice and orange zest, so bring on the oranges!
- Extra virgin olive oil: You should also taste your olive oil alone to make sure it isn’t rancid. Olive oils come in a range of flavor profiles, from pungent to mild. I suggest choosing a mild or buttery olive oil for this cake.
- Butter: The cake is baked with olive oil, but I use butter for the bottom of the pan to caramelize the brown sugar and orange slices.
- Greek yogurt: I love baking with yogurt because it makes my cakes so fluffy and moist. You can also use sour cream instead.
- Pantry staples: brown sugar (light or dark, granulated sugar, all purpose flour, baking powder, salt
1. Using a 9-inch cast iron skillet, heat over medium-high heat and melt butter. When butter is bubbling and just starts to brown, stir in brown sugar. 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.
2. Remove pan from heat. Arrange thinly sliced oranges over the brown sugar into desired pattern and set aside.
3. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
4. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, yogurt, orange juice, orange zest, olive oil and eggs until combined.
5. In batches, mix flour mixture into yogurt mixture and stir until combined.
6. Pour cake batter evenly over the orange slices in your cast iron pan.
7. Place cake in the oven and bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
8. Run a knife blade along the sides of the cake to insure a clean removal. 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. Remove skillet and allow cake to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour before serving.
Recipe tips and FAQs
Upside down cakes are a great way to showcase fresh fruit in season. I have made many different varieties of upside down cakes, which you can see below. All are easy to whip up and bursting with fruit flavor.
This is the trickiest part of baking. You want to start the inverting process about 10 minutes after removing the cake from the oven. The cake should still be warm. Run a knife along the edges of your cake and then flip it over onto a serving dish. Let it sit with the cake pan (or cast iron pan) still attached and do not remove it until the cake falls onto the plate. This can take up to 10 minutes. Tap along the bottom of the pan using a knife handle to help detach the cake.
I personally do not line my cakes pans when baking an upside down cake. I want the butter and brown sugar to caramelized first, which adds color and flavor to the fruit lining the pan. By adding the right proportion of sugar and butter as well as inverting the cake while it is warm helps prevents the cake and fruit from sticking to the pan.
- 2 TBS unsalted butter
- 2 TBS light brown sugar, packed
- 2 Valencia oranges
- 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup thick plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 TBS orange zest
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Using a 9-inch cast iron skillet, heat over medium-high heat and melt butter. When butter is bubbling and just starts to brown, stir in brown sugar.
- 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.
- Remove pan from heat.
- Thinly slice oranges and arrange orange slices over the brown sugar into desired pattern and set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a large bowl, mix together sugar, yogurt, orange juice, orange zest, olive oil and eggs until combined.
- In batches, mix flour mixture into yogurt mixture and stir until combined.
- Pour cake batter evenly over the orange slices in your cast iron pan.
- Place cake in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
- Run a knife blade along the sides of the cake to insure a clean removal.
- 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.
- Remove skillet and allow cake to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour before serving.
Cooking Tips: Thick Greek yogurt, like the Fage brand, is used in this recipe. If you do can not find thick yogurt, drain your regular yogurt with a cheese cloth or coffee filter until it becomes thick like sour cream.
Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 297Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 128mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 5g
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