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  • Writer's picturedeborahreinhardt

Orange Upside Down Cake

Seasonal oranges simmer in a pomegranate and molasses syrup to dress up a yellow cake and create a show-stopper dessert for your winter table.


glazed orange slices top a yellow round cake/canva
Orange Upside Down Cake

We’re closing our salute to winter citrus with a beautiful dessert, Orange Upside Down Cake. It’s a delicious and uncomplicated dessert that’s pretty enough for company. When I made it, I gave the second cake to a friend for her family dinner, and it received rave reviews!

 

Oranges are gorgeous this time of year, and I encourage you to look beyond the typical navel orange for this cake. Cara cara oranges have a beautiful pink color inside and are a little less acidic. Blood orange flesh is a stunning ruby color, almost like a pomegranate seed. If you can’t find these in your grocery store, navel oranges certainly would work in this recipe.

 

An upside down cake is one of my favorite desserts to make because it packs a “wow” with very little effort on my part. I also love its timeless appeal. Many of you probably remember Pineapple Upside Down Cake from your childhood; it’s been around since the 1920s. While those yellow rings with the cherry center are pleasing, swapping citrus for pineapple in my Orange Upside Down Cake is a nice switch, and I think makes for a more sophisticated presentation. So, let’s get to baking!

 

To make Orange Upside Down Cake, which yields four servings, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 2 navel oranges (cara cara or blood oranges)

  • ¼ pomegranate juice

  • ¼ molasses or dark corn syrup

  • 1/3 cup orange juice

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 yellow cake mix

  • 1 cup milk

  • ½ cup vegetable oil

  • 4 eggs

  • 2 tablespoons orange zest

  • 1 teaspoon orange extract

 

Directions for Orange Upside Down Cake

Zest one of the navel oranges (about 2 tablespoons). Thinly slice both oranges, leaving skin on fruit.

 

In a medium saucepan, add pomegranate juice, molasses, orange juice, and butter. When it starts to bubble, add orange slices and turn heat down to low. Simmer fruit for 3 minutes, stir to turn over slices in pan and simmer another 3 minutes.

 

Prepare a 10-inch round cake pan by lightly buttering bottom and sides. Line bottom with parchment and lightly coat with cooking spray.

 

When oranges have softened, arrange slices in the pan. Continuing to cook liquid for about 5 minutes more until a light syrup consistency is achieved. Pour syrup over fruit. Transfer pan to freezer so syrup will set up, about 15 minutes. Do not allow it to freeze.

 

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, add cake mix, milk, oil, eggs, orange zest and orange extract. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes and pour into pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

 

Cool cake on a rack for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the pan’s edge and invert onto a serving plate. Remove parchment and allow to cool an additional half hour before serving.

 

Notes for your kitchen

Boxed mixes will yield 2 cake rounds. You can go two routes with the extra batter:

1.     Bake a dozen cupcakes with leftover batter and freeze for later.

2.     Make a second Orange Upside Down Cake, which is what I did. If you choose to do this, simply slice an extra orange. Bump up the bump up the pomegranate juice and syrup by 1 tablespoon and orange juice by 2 tablespoons.

 

Here’s another tip. If you don’t have molasses or dark corn syrup in the pantry, use brown sugar (preferably dark brown sugar); same ¼ cup.


 

Notes for your kitchen

Boxed mixes will yield 2 cake rounds. You can go two routes with the extra batter:

1.     Bake a dozen cupcakes with leftover batter and freeze for later.

2.     Make a second Orange Upside Down Cake, which is what I did. If you choose to do this, simply slice an extra orange. Bump up the bump up the pomegranate juice and syrup by 1 tablespoon and orange juice by 2 tablespoons.

 

Here’s another tip. If you don’t have molasses or dark corn syrup in the pantry, use brown sugar (preferably dark brown sugar); same ¼ cup.


About the blog

Three Women in the Kitchen is an award-winning food blog offering today’s home cooks comforting, hearty recipes with a personal touch. The website also pays tribute to Deborah’s mother, Katie Reinhardt, and paternal grandmother, Dorothy Reinhardt (the “three women” in the kitchen). Whether you’re an experienced or a novice cook, you’ll find inspiration here to feed your families and warm your heart. Subscribe today so you won’t miss a single delicious detail.


author sips a mug of coffee in a composite image that lists her bio and social handles @threewomeninthekitchen

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