Who doesn’t love the gooey, buttery decadence of salted caramel? Set it against the citrusy brightness of fresh oranges, and you have a match made in heaven. We love this cake because it’s just substantial enough to stand up to the juiciness of the oranges and caramel without being dense.
Caramel can seem daunting, but this quick sauce is nothing to be afraid of. It comes together quickly, so keep an eye on it, but all you need to do is stand by to swirl the pan while it works its own magic. Stirring is more trouble than it’s worth because all that sugary goodness will want to stick to the spoon! When you remove it from the heat, a metal spoon works well to stir in the butter, and before you know it you’ll have the most delectable cake topping you can imagine.
We love to serve this cake when company comes over. It’s pretty as can be, but you don’t have to go to all the work of frosting a cake. It’s moist and delicious and just sweet enough. It can be served warm or at room temperature, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top never hurts. This is one recipe your friends will beg you for.
Orange Upside-Down Cake
- 2 oranges, thinly sliced with seeds removed
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a 10-inch round cake pan with butter or non-stick spray.
- For the caramel:
- Have your caramel ingredients ready to go, because the caramel cooks quickly! Over medium-high heat in a medium pot, cook the 3/4 cup sugar with 6 tablespoons of water.
- Bring to a boil while swirling the pan around occasionally. Cook until it turns a medium-golden color, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the butter and salt until combined. Pour the caramel mixture into the greased cake pan.
- Place the orange slices on top of the caramel, starting in the center and working your way out. Overlapping a bit is okay. Set aside while you make cake batter.
- For the cake:
- In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, cream the stick of butter and remaining sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Add eggs, beating after each addition. When combined, add the orange zest and vanilla.
- Add a third of the flour mixture, mixing just to combine, followed by a third of the buttermilk, again mixing just to combine. Repeat, alternating dry ingredients and buttermilk, until gone.
- Spoon the batter carefully over the orange slices so you do not displace them. Smooth the top of the batter.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, rotating the pan halfway through.
- Run a butter knife along the edges of the pan to loosen any parts that are sticking to the sides.
- Let cool for 5 minutes before turning cake over onto a plate. Pan should still be hot; if you wait until it’s cool, the oranges will stick.
- Let cool until warm, divide into slices, and serve.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.