Orange Upside-Down Cake

Orange upside-down cake

Here is a refreshing orange upside-down cake to make at home. The smell of orange will fill up the air as you prepare this cake. The taste of sweet orange shines through and refreshes our palate.

This easy recipe uses a typical creaming method. Simply cream butter and sugar for a couple of minutes, mix in egg one at a time, then mix ingredients in dry-wet-dry sequence. The key is to never overmix a cake batter.

I once wondered why recipe asks for adding dry and wet ingredients alternately in two or three additions. Apparently, it is for good reasons.

Gradually adding dry ingredients prevents the batter from getting too thick and becoming overmixed. Meanwhile, adding little liquid at a time prevents the fatty butter mixture from separating and becoming saturated.

When we mix in the dry and wet ingredients alternately, it should also begin and end with the dry. Gluten happens as soon as we mix liquid into flour and it is something that we want less in a cake.

To hinder gluten formation, we add some of the dry mixture to the creamed butter first to coat the flour with fat. This fat will weaken gluten and thus yield a much tender cake with less gluten development.

If you like orange upside-down cake, you might also enjoy this other fruity cake: strawberry swiss roll cake

Orange Upside-Down Cake

Orange Upside-Down Cake
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Breakfast, Snack
Servings 1 8-inch or 20 cm cake


Orange syrup

  • tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 3 tbsp granulated white sugar


  • 113 g unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 150 g granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 3 tbsp orange zest
  • 195 g all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 90 ml buttermilk *see note for homemade substitute
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice


Orange syrup and topping

  • Heat orange juice and sugar over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
  • Simmer orange slices in the syrup until tender for about 10 minutes.
  • Grease a cake pan with butter or cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Coat the sides with granulated sugar. Arrange orange slices on the bottom of the pan.


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
  • Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add orange zest and one egg. Mix for 10 seconds. Then mix in the second egg for 10 seconds. In between every addition, remember to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula.
  • With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in three additions alternating with the wet ingredients in two additions. Mix each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix as we will lose the tenderness of the cake.
  • Pour and spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean.
  • Cool it on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a spatula or butter knife along the sides of pan to ensure the cake is not sticking. Turn it upside down and peel the paper. Cut and serve.


To make homemade buttermilk: Combine 85 ml milk with 1 tsp lemon juice or distilled white vinegar. Let it sit for 10 minutes before using. The mixture will slightly curd and thicken by itself.