Monday, 3 September 2012

Upside-down Blood Orange Cake

I am not a huge fan of oranges; all that pith in a glass of juice or if eating it whole I invariably buy that one sour orange on offer. However, blood oranges are a completely different story. I find they are usually quite tart which makes them perfect for cooking as you can add a bit of sugar for balance.

Having some friends over for a weeknight dinner, and as always, my best laid plans of preparing everything the day before had not been realised so I was scouring my cookbooks for a stunning, yet straightforward recipe. I came across Donna Hay's sticky orange and vanilla upside-down cake in her Seasons book. Having made a variant of the cake before, I knew it would work, but without Donna's fantastic team of food stylists there was no chance of my vanilla bean looking that artful. Instead I decided to distract my guests with the novelty of a deep rosy, blood orange topping.


Orange Topping
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (I substituted vanilla extract)
  • 2 large or 4 small oranges, thinly sliced
    •  Donna Hay says to leave the skin on as it does help the orange retain its shape whilst being poached, however I don't like the taste so removed it from all but 1 of my oranges. Decide which you prefer depending on how neat you want your orange layer to look.
Cake Batter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup SR flour
  • 150g melted butter
  • 1 cup almond meal

  1. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees and line a 20cm pan. I would recommend an oven-proof frypan with high side or a silicon pan so that your syrup does not leak out the bottom.
For the Orange Topping
  1. Put the sugar, water, and vanilla into a saucepan over low heat and Stir until the sugar is dissolved. 
  2. Gently add the orange slices and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the orange is soft. Be careful not to stir and damage the orange slices
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside.
For the Cake Batter
  1. Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is thick, pale and tripled in volume. This is the perfect time to use a Kitchen Aid if you have it!
  2. Sift in the flour and fold through until combined.
  3. Fold through the melted butter and almond meal. 
Cake Assembly
  1. Using tongs, layer your orange slices in the bottom of your lined pan, then pour the syrup over. I kept about half a cup to pour over once the baking was finished.
  2. Pour the cake batter over the orange and syrup and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  3. Leave to cool in pan for a few minutes, then while still warm flip onto a plate.
  4. Serve with cream or ice cream and top with some of the reserved syrup.


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