Citrus Upside-Down Cake

Citrus Upside-Down Cake recipe
Photo: Paola + Murray
Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 20 mins
1 8-Inch Cake

This spectacular cake is practically foolproof to make. You slice a variety of peeled oranges into rounds, nestle them in a butter-rum glaze in a square pan, spread the batter over them, bake, and flip. To achieve the effect of stained-glass windows, we combined blood oranges, Cara Caras, and mandarins.



  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan

  • 1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (we use Diamond Crystal)

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely grated tangerine or orange zest

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ½ cup sour cream, room temperature


  • 3 to 4 tangerines or oranges, such as blood oranges, Cara Cara, or mandarins, or a combination

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon dark rum, such as Myers's (optional)


  1. Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush an 8-inch square pan with 2-inch-high sides with butter. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

  2. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter with sugar and zest on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and sour cream, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture.

  3. Topping: With a sharp knife, slice ends off each citrus. Following curve of fruit, cut away peel, removing as much white pith as possible. Slice fruit crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, and remove any seeds. In a small bowl, stir together butter, sugar, and rum. Spread mixture over bottom of prepared pan. Arrange sliced citrus over it in a snug, slightly overlapping even layer (cut some to fit into corners).

  4. Spread batter over citrus. Bake until cake is golden and puffed and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool 30 minutes. Invert onto a cake plate; serve the same day, warm or room temperature.

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