It’s still winter. And the only reason I’m not sad about it is because citrus season continues! Up until now you’ve heard about my unconditional love for lemons and limes, but blood oranges aren’t far behind.
What I love about this cake is that it’s simple but not boring. Like many of Jessica Koslow’s recipes from Everything I want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking, this cake is not overly complicated but there is something Sqirl-ly about it. Each recipe has around two or three more steps than the simplest version–and the two or three extra steps are usually something the home cook or baker might not think of. It’s pretty genius. And making this cake is totally worth it.
I do have a few notes on this recipe. The first time I made the cake, it turned out dry. I think it was because my eggs were cold. Make sure your eggs are room temperature, even if that means cracking them into a bowl and letting them warm up on top of the pre-heating oven.
Second, do not use a springform pan for this cake. I do not have a circular non springform pan, so I’d imagine if I’d used a regular 9 inch cake pan the top of my cake would have more gooey (and delicious). Because I used a spring form, the caramel topping leaked out of the sides of my pan, sticking to my sheet tray twice. What can I say, I’m a stubborn baker.
Third, I added 1/4 cup more buttermilk than the recipe called for. It made my cake a lot more moist and the second version was less dense than my first.
And lastly, try to buy blood oranges with different skin colors as this usually indicates what the orange flesh will look like on the inside. Buy some oranges with more dark red in the skin and others with no red at all. The key to making the top of this cake look radiant is by alternating more yellow/orange slices with darker red ones.
Oh, and have fun while making this one! Next I’d like to try it with plums, rhubarb, berries and more. This recipe will definitely be a go-to as winter fades and spring/summer fruit begins to come into season.
Blood Orange Upside Down Cake
(Adapted from Jessica Koslow’s Everything I want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking )
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature (I leave mine out overnight)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs (room temperature)
1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have milk, add 1 tbsp white vinegar to regular milk)
zest of 1 blood orange
4 blood oranges, peeled and sliced in thin rounds
Preheat the oven to 350.
Butter a 10-inch cake pan (not a spring-form cake pan). Line the bottom with a round of parchment and butter the parchment. Don’t try to use a smaller pan, the cake will overflow in the oven as it rises if you do.
In a small pot set over low heat add the stick of butter, salt and brown sugar. Once the butter melts, whisk to combine the sugar. Pour this into the bottom of the pan and set the pan in the freezer.
In a small bowl add flour, baking powder and baking soda.
In the stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add room temperature butter with sugar. Cream on medium speed until light and fluffy for 5 minutes. Add the orange zest, vanilla and salt. While the mixer is running, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, then add half the buttermilk, then the second 1/3 of flour, then the rest of the buttermilk, and the last 1/3 of flour. Make sure you end on adding the dry ingredients.
Remove the pan from the freezer and arrange the oranges in one layer across the bottom. If there are any gaps, fill with triangles of orange. Because each blood orange differs in color, try to artistically arrange the lighter colored slices next to the darker ones.
Pour the batter over the oranges gently and spread out with a spatula so the batter is even.
Bake for around 55 minutes, but check it at 50 because every oven is different.
Let cool in the pan then run a knife around the edge and invert onto a plate. Stare at it for a minute, then cut into it and relish in this masterpiece of a cake.