This beautiful orange vanilla upside down cake is cooked in a skillet and takes less than an hour and a half to make. Caramelized oranges on top of a delicious vanilla cake made from a combination of all purpose flour and almond flour.
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.
How to make an upside down cake
Just as it sounds, you literally make it upside down and then flip it.
- Start by making the orange topping. Melt sugar with water and a scraped-out vanilla bean in a large non-stick oven-proof skillet. I use 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.
Mix up the batter: eggs, sugar, vanilla, flour, baking powder, salt, butter and almond flour. Pour the batter over oranges and bake for 45 minutes.
- Run a knife around the edge of the pan to be sure the cake won't stick when you flip it. 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!
Here's the recipe for orange vanilla upside down cake. If you make this I hope you'll come back and leave a star rating and a comment. I can't wait to hear what you think. Happy baking!Print
Orange Vanilla Upside Down Cake
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 mins
- Yield: 8-10 1x
A beautiful delicious vanilla cake made with almond flour and caramelized oranges on top. Perfect for holiday entertaining!
- For the Orange topping:
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 2 oranges, very thinly sliced (⅛-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
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 and set it over medium heat. 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.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Australian
Keywords: Upside down cake with oranges and almond flour
Can you substitute almond flour with more regular flour?
Yes you can. Generally regular flour can be substituted for almond flour in a 1:1 ratio.
Such an impressive cake, and so easy to make! There is something really special about using the almond flour! Yummy🍊🍊🍊🍊
Hey Erin - I'm so glad to hear you liked the cake! I agree about the almond flour. It adds a lot of great texture and taste!
Wont the peel taste bitter ?!
It doesn't. True that the white part of orange peel is normally bitter but most of that bitterness disappears when the thinly sliced orange pieces are saturated in vanilla syrup. The flavors are balanced and wonderful.
Hi! This looks delicious, but I have a few questions- can you use vanilla extract and can you use white flour?
allie @ Through Her Looking Glass
GAHHHHH!!!! I am all about this cake Lisa. I love the vanilla syrup that the oranges absorb! Oh my - a feast for the eyes, and the palate! Blue ribbon cake here, cannot wait to try. Perfect with afternoon tea.
You're so funny Allie! I agree - this cake excites! There's something really special about the pairing of orange and vanilla!
I just made this cake today. My family loved it! It was moist and tasted delicious.
I made this for Thanksgiving and will make again for Christmas!!! Delicious and easy--really great!
Have not baked in years!!!
I think I'm going to give this a try for Thanksgiving... The novice here would like to know how far in advance can I prepare this beauty...of course to serve on my Jonathan Adler dishes....
Hi Caren! I've made several of these and have enjoyed them for up to three days after I baked them however the oranges on top harden a bit over time - more like candy. I think the cake is best eaten within 24 hours of baking. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. It will look gorgeous on your Jonathan Adler dishes!
Rachel @ Simple Seasonal
I love this recipe! I recently got a cast iron skillet and have yet to make something sweet in it. A dreamy orange-vanilla combination sounds like a good place to start.
Thanks Rachel! I think this is a great recipe to christen your new cast iron skillet! I hope you enjoy the cake as much as I do!
Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ)
Mmmm - delicious Lisa - had to smile when I saw it was an adaption of a Donna Hay recipe - used to work with Donna very early in her career.
Carol at Wild Goose Mama
What an absolutely GORGEOUS dessert. It doesn't even have to taste good because it looks sooooo
elegant. BUT it does taste good too. A twofer!!!! Lol
This looks so delicious. I LOVE citrus in desserts! So refreshing after a meal! Thank you!!!