Upside Down Blood Orange Cake with Cardamom

Let them eat upside down cake!  There is something oddly satisfying about baking a cake with it's bottom up in the air, and only seeing the end result when it's done.  You don't know if you've got a total disaster or a work of art on your hands.  Since it's blood orange season (Jan-April), I can think of no better way to put those slices of dark red citrus to use then to make an upside down blood orange cake.  A hint of cardamom will offset the cake's tartness.

My best friend Kat (co-founder of The Wandering Chew) once served this cake up when we were roommates in Montreal, and I've been wanting to recreate it ever since.  Just one bite brings me back to a time in my life when I was living in a basement apartment in the Mile End area of MTL,  spending my weekends with my roomie drinking coffee on rue St-Viateur, browsing specialty food stores and combing through countless thrift shops.  We were surrounded by a hotbed of creativity, and yet all we ever wanted to do was eat.  Not much has changed.

Here's the recipe for this most splendid little cake.  Serve it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
If you have a cast iron skillet you can actually bake the entire cake in it like I did, although I imagine a cake pan would work just as well.

Upside Down Blood Orange Cake with Cardamom
Adapted from Alice. Q Foodie Blog

Preheat your oven to 350, or 325 in your oven is as hot as mine! Make sure rack is in the center and place a cookie sheet under your skillet in case of drips.


For Topping-

3 tbsp. salted butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar, packed
5 blood oranges, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

For Batter-

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cardamom
9 tbsp. of unsalted butter, soft
1 cup granulated sugar 
2 eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 blood orange, grated zest only


1-In a large cast iron skillet, melt your butter, brown sugar and cardamom on medium-low heat until smooth.  Take the skillet off the element and let cool.

2-Take your sliced oranges and lay them on top of your brown sugar mixture in neat circles on the skillet. This will be the top of your cake.

3-In a small bowl, mix your dry ingredients together-flour, baking powder and cardamom.  Set aside.

4-Take a measuring cup and combine your milk, vanilla extract and orange zest.

5-In a bigger bowl, cream your 9 tbsp of butter with your granulated sugar until smooth.  Add in your eggs, one by one, and blend until smooth.  Stir in half your dry ingredients, then add your milk mixture.  Blend until smooth then add the rest of your dry ingredients.

6-Pour the batter gently over the top of the cake, making sure not to disturb the orange slices. Even your batter with a rubber spatula.  Bake cake for 40 minutes.  When it comes out the bottom should be golden like the below picture.  Not much to look at, eh?  Wait until it cools for 15 minutes and then carefully flip it over to reveal its true beauty. Since this is a wide cake,  you can always slice into smaller pieces if you are looking to transport it anywhere.

I hope that you love it! I brought this cake to my other bestie Steph's birthday party, and it held its own amongst a platter of decadent cupcakes and some seriously impressive guacamole.

ps. This cake tastes as good for breakfast as it does for dessert so indulge day and night.