Upside Down Winter Citrus Cake

Cakes & Cupcakes
January 9, 2017
Cakes & Cupcakes
January 9, 2017

Upside Down Winter Citrus Cake

When I was little, my sister Rebe and I were obsessed with orange soda. You know, that artificially bright orange-colored

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Upside Down Winter Citrus Cake

citrus cake

When I was little, my sister Rebe and I were obsessed with orange soda. You know, that artificially bright orange-colored soda that was super popular in the ’90s. We’d order it every time we went out to eat, and when we were lucky enough, we got one of those giant 3-liter soda bottles from the grocery store.

In the summer, Rebe and I would drink orange soda like other kids drank water. Rebe even drank so much of it that her upper lip turned orange. Just imagine this tiny little kid with a purple and green one-piece bathing suit, jelly shoes, and an orange-stained upper lip. 

Of course, now I’m into normal oranges, not just orange soda. And I think it’s safe to say Rebe is, too. And contrary to our orange-soda-laced summers, fresh orange season’s peak is January through March.

This dessert uses all the best winter citrus fruits in a beautiful upside-down citrus cake. I just love how it looks like art. And it’s SO easy to make. If you can place oranges down in a cake pan, you can make this cake.

citrus cake on a plate

Tips for making this citrus cake

Seriously, guys. Don’t freak if you’ve never made an upside down cake before. They look super fancy, but they’re basically a dump cake. Some things to keep in mind when making this winter citrus cake are:

Slice the citrus fruit with the skin on—Instead of peeling the citrus and then slicing it, slice it with the skin on and use the tip of your knife to cut off the outer layer of skin. This will ensure that the citrus fruit slices properly and doesn’t fall apart and/or lose its juice when you slice it.

Use whatever citrus you have—Grapefruits, pomelos, tangerines, oranges, etc would all work for this citrus cake recipe. I like using a blend of sweet and tart citrus fruits, but follow your heart on this one!

slice of citrus cake on a plate

Fill in the gaps with small fruit pieces—Because you’re using circular citrus slices to top this cake, you’re bound to have gaps in the topping. You can fill in those gaps with small slices of fruit—it’ll still look nice, I promise. Don’t believe me? Take a closer look at my recipe photos and you’ll see I filled in the gaps too!

Let cake cool completely before inverting—If you try and flip this cake while it’s still warm, the citrus topping is likely to fall apart. Let the cake cool to room temperature before attempting to flip it to avoid making a mess.

Buy organic, if possible—At least one of your oranges should be organic, if possible, because you’ll be zesting it. Think of it this way: would you want to zest the pesticide residue of a regular orange straight into your cake? Uh-uh. So organic is best here. If you can’t find organic oranges, give your fruit a good wash under hot water before zesting it.

citrus cake with slice being removed

Happy Monday, loves. Hope your week is off to a fantastic start!


Upside Down Winter Citrus Cake

4.4 from 5 reviews


  • 2 blood oranges
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 1 tangelo, small grapefruit, or other citrus of choice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (from any type of orange)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (same)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup plain non- or low-fat yogurt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 inch cake pan pan with parchment paper so that it covers the bottom and goes up the sides of the pan. Fold parchment paper so that it hugs the sides of the pan, like an upside down hat. Spray with non-stick spray.
  2. With the skin still on, slice citrus 1/2 inch thick. Use a paring knife to carefully remove the skin from the citrus slices (like cutting off the outer ring). Doing it this way will ensure your oranges citrus stays intact and does not break apart when you slice it.
  3. Microwave the sugar and water together until the sugar dissolves completely, about 45 seconds. Pour half of the sugar-water into the bottom of the prepared cake pan, then line the bottom with prepared citrus fruits. Once arranged, pour the remaining sugar-water over the citrus. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, whisking to combine. Slowly alternate folding in the flour mixture and the yogurt into the wet ingredients until everything is combined. Mixture will be thick.
  6. Pour the batter over the prepared citrus slices, spreading it evenly to the edges.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes, then allow to cool completely before inverting onto a serving tray.

More easy cake recipes from Broma Bakery:

Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake

German Chocolate Bundt Cake

Best Blackout Cake Ever

Cinnamon Bun Bundt Cake


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  1. Great recipe! This is probably the fourth time I’ve made it. In my case I have to cook it for 50 minutes, or else it’s still raw in the middle. For other cooks: cut the citrus thick, pack them in tightly, and only create one layer of citrus (not multiple layers; or it will be a sloppy mess!) So tasty though; I love it!

  2. This came out perfect. I’m not a very good baker at all but this was so easy to follow along with and it made the loveliest tangy-sweet cake. I will absolutely be making this again. Thank you so much.

  3. I tried this Orange cake yesterday, the oranges turned out similar as yours but the middle of the cake was still wet even though I’ve baked for 45 minutes, but overall I’m happy with this Orange cake, looks nice in picture 🙂

    • I had the same problem as Helena. I love the look and flavor of this cake, but despite adding more time, both attempts has super claggy (as they would say in the Great British Bake Off) texture that feels like it’s under baked. I went all the way up to 45 minutes bake time my 2nd attempt and the cake just doesn’t dry out. Still tasty, but more like a pudding than a cake. Is that because it’s too much sugar syrup in the fruit? Is there any way to fix it?

  4. Hi Sarah,

    I made the cake today and the cake batter pushed through the citrus layer so when I turned it out once cool it didn’t look as clean and beautiful as yours.
    Any tips? The little gaps where I put smaller pieces of citrus disappeared into the cake.
    When the thick batter went into the cake tin a lot of sugar syrup liquid seemed to surround the batter… to much sugar syrup maybe ?

    • Hi Melissa! Bummer! You want to really pack the fruit in because it does tend to shrivel a little. It also might help to cut the fruit a smidge thicker to prevent it from disintegrating into the cake!

  5. This was so so good! Will definitely be making again! I used Cara Cara Oranges, Tangelos and Grapefruit. Delicious!