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Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

yield: 1 (9-inch) pan


  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 sticks unsalted butter, separated at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 large blood oranges
  • 1 cup fine-ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350 (F). Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter and spray with cooking spray.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter. Add 2/3 cup brown sugar and 2 teaspoons lemon juice, stirring until the sugar melts (about 2-3 minutes). Scrape the mixture into the bottom of the prepared cake pan.
  • Grate 1/2 teaspoon zest from one of the oranges, then slice off the tops and bottoms of 2 blood oranges. Peel the oranges so that the rind and pith no longer remain. Slice each orange crosswise into 1/4-inch thick wheels, discarding any seeds. Arrange orange wheels on top of the brown sugar mixture in a single, tight layer.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 1 cup cornmeal, 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together 2 sticks unsalted butter with 1 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On a low speed, beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, only adding an egg after the previous egg has been fully incorporated. Once all the eggs have been incorporated, beat in 1/3 cup sour cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla until just incorporated
  • Sprinkle in the mixture of dry ingredients (from the fourth step) over the mixture of wet ingredients (from the fifth step) and use a rubber spatula to fold the dry mixture into the wet ingredients by hand. DO NOT OVERMIX.
  • Scrape the batter into the cakepan over the orange slices in the cake pan. Transfer to the oven and bake until the cake is golden brown and a tooth pick inserted in the center emerges clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife along pan's edges to loosen it and invert onto a platter. Cool completely before serving.


Adapted fromĀ the New York Times