I found my holiday dessert. I’ll be making orange vanilla upside down cake this season, probably on multiple occasions. I’ve made three of them so far in the last month and I’m still completely enamored.
I hardly ever bake – that’s my husband Eddie’s domain.
But there’s something about this cake….
There are a very few dessert recipes on Panning The Globe. Once in a blue moon something sweet comes along that finds its way to my heart. This cake has got me! It’s made with half almond flour and half white flour. The almond flour – which is full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats – creates a moist, soft crumb. The oranges on top are a little sticky and caramelized – a wonderful counterpart to the delicate cake. There’s also that delicious vanilla/orange flavor thing going on.
I love the way this cake looks. I keep glancing up from my computer to admire it, sitting on the counter – so pretty. I keep imagining how nice it will be to cut off a little slice and have it with coffee when the afternoon starts to drag.
To make the orange topping you melt sugar with water and a scraped-out vanilla bean in a large non-stick oven-proof skillet. I used my 12-inch cast iron skillet.
Arrange the super-thinly sliced orange rounds over the vanilla syrup. Create a pattern that you want for the top of your cake. Then simmer the oranges in the syrup for 15 minutes, until they soften and soak up the syrup.
Pour the batter on top and bake.
Invert the cake, carefully, onto a cake plate. To invert I turned my cake plate upside down and lay it on top of my skillet. Then, with oven mitts on my hands, I grabbed the edges of the plate and the pan together, flipped everything over, set the plate down, lifted off the skillet, and voila!
This recipe is adapted from Donna Hay Seasons. Donna Hay Australia’s best-selling cookbook author. I have a large and ever-growing collection of her beautiful cookbooks. They’re all filled with simple inspiring recipes and gorgeous food photos.
Here’s the recipe for orange vanilla upside down cake. If you make this I hope you’ll come back and write a review! I can’t wait to hear what you think. Happy baking!
- For the Orange topping:
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 2 oranges, very thinly sliced (1/8-inch slices)
- For the Vanilla Cake:
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1¼ cups almond meal/flour (you can use almond meal made from blanched almonds or raw almonds with skin. I tried it both ways and both are equally good but the blanched gives a whiter cake that shows off the oranges better)
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
- Make the Sticky Orange Topping: Place the sugar, water, scraped vanilla seeds and vanilla pod halves in a large oven-proof non-stick or cast iron skillet. A 12-inch cast iron skillet is perfect. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat.
- Remove the vanilla pod halves. Arrange the oranges in the pan. Create a design that you want for the top of your cake. If the oranges overlap a little bit, that's fine but don't make multiple layers because you want all the oranges to get saturated. If you have extra orange slices, leave them off. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, until the oranges are softened. Realign any oranges that moved around. Remove pan from the heat.
- Make the Cake Batter: Melt the butter in a small pan and set aside. Place eggs, sugar and vanilla a medium sized bowl and use an electric mixer to whisk for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is thick and pale and has increased in volume.
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle flour mixture over the egg mixture and fold through. Next fold in the butter and almond meal.
- Pour the mixture over the oranges and bake for 40-45 minutes. Cake is done when a skewer is inserted and comes out clean.
- Run a knife around the edge of the cake to make sure it's not sticking to the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto a plate and serve.
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