Winter citrus, a cure for the winter blues

In the region of the country where Vic and I reside, winter is normally a laughable experience.  In fact, we rarely have to get out the heavy winter coats, and our two sometimes cantankerous corgis are often disappointed by the lack of snow.


This year however, has made all members of my small family, not including me, very happy.  We had 9 inches of snow in December (not normal) and arctic temperatures for a few weeks.  While the corgis and Vic were overjoyed by this change of heart via Mother Nature, I sat in my house, layered and cursing the world


In an effort to shake off some of the winter blues, I wanted to make something that made me happy, something that was bright. Luckily for me, less so for my waistline, this just so happened to coincide with my dad’s birthday.  So, this cake, one might argue, is capable of providing someone with double the amount of happiness.

Between the tart bite from the blood oranges, and the sweetness of the dense cake supporting said citrus, this cake does not disappoint. In fact, it’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the tastebuds.


Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

Recipe from: Sweet Peas Meals

I was so thankful that in my weekly Sweet Peas Meals Planning Guide there was a recipe for this Blood Orange Upside Down Cake (I will do a post about my meal planning and how the ladies from Sweet Peas have done an excellent job with their company at a later date).

non-stick cooking spray

1c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature and divided

1/3 c brown sugar

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon. divided

3 blood oranges, thinly sliced with rind removed

2 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 c granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract (I used paste because I like the flavor better)

1 whole vanilla bean, pods removed (I skipped this step because I was using paste)

For the blood orange syrup:

3 blood oranges, juiced, about 1/3 c juice

1/3 c granulated sugar

For the vanilla whipped cream:

2 c heavy whipping cream (cold)

3 tsp vanilla extract ( I used 2 of paste)

2 tbs. powdered sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray and set aside. Make sure it’s well coated.

2. Make the quick caramel: Heat 1⁄4 cup (1⁄2 stick) of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and once melted, whisk in the brown sugar and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the cinnamon until it starts to bubble. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture in the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Arrange the sliced blood orange over top, covering the bottom of the pan completely in 1 uniform layer. This will end up being the top of the cake (once it’s flipped), so take care to make it look nice! Set aside.
3. Mix the dry ingredients: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Set aside.
4. Mix the wet ingredients: Place the remaining 3⁄4 cup (1 1⁄2 sticks) of butter in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until creamy. Beat in the granulated sugar and gradually increase the speed to high, beating until fluffy and scraping down the sides if necessary, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Beat in the vanilla extract and scraped beans from the vanilla pod.
5. Mix the cake batter: With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and stir until the batter just comes together – be careful not to overmix! Place dollops of the batter all over the oranges in the cake pan from Step 2 and gently spread the batter evenly to cover the oranges.

6. Bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and set. Remove from the oven and allow for it to cool for about 5 minutes, just so the fruit settles and stops bubbling. After 5 minutes (no longer!), run a knife along the edges of the cake and place a cake plate over top, then gently flip the cake to remove it from the pan. Here, you can fix any fruit than has slid off or rearrange it if desired. Let the cake cool completely.

7. Make the blood orange syrup: Meanwhile, as the cake bakes, make the blood orange syrup. Heat the blood orange juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to bubble. Allow to cool completely to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

8. Make the vanilla whipped cream: Meanwhile, as the cake bakes, make the vanilla whipped cream: Place the cold cream and vanilla in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until peaks form. Beat in the powdered sugar and serve immediately.
9. To serve the cake, top it with the blood orange syrup. Slice into wedges and top with dollops of the homemade whipped cream.

Whew…I know there are a lot of steps, but believe me when I say this cake is entirely worth it.  The flavors match up evenly and work harmoniously. Plus, the moment you flip the cake out of the pan, and experience that mixture of relief and sheer joy, it makes all of those steps seem like, well, a piece of cake…




2 Comments Add yours

  1. Cathryn says:

    It looks so pretty.


    1. Thank you so much!!! I truly appreciate it! You should give it a try for sure.


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