as a new mom it’s been hard to find the time to bake, let alone blog! but here i am with an all new recipe, courtesy of a little thing i’d like to call “napping.” turns out babies will nap if you teach them how to! there’s been a lot of sleep training reading going on around here. pretty exciting stuff…but i digress.
we’ve been getting a produce delivery during our regular CSA’s “off” season. it’s been fun to try and use the random stuff we get from week to week. i’ve actually had to cancel this particular service due to unresolved delivery issues (nothing to do with the actual produce). but in this last box we got a lovely little batch of blood oranges. i immediately knew i had to bake something with them!
i found that a lot of recipes using blood oranges are either made with a curd or a glaze that ends up being a lovely shade of pink. while many of them seemed ap-peel-ing (sorry, i just HAD to) i really wanted to make something that would show off the gorgeous fruit itself. i also wanted to make something that used simple ingredients that i already had in the house. after a lot of thought and research i decided upon the classic (vintage?) dessert: upside-down cake. because who doesn’t love a moist, almost gooey, cake covered in caramelized fruit? plus it’s a simple recipe, elevated with blood orange zest, browned butter & almond flour.
a few notes before i get to the good stuff: you can substitute fine ground cornmeal for the almond meal if you don’t feel like making a special run to the store. i’d recommend using a large plastic or glass cutting board when working with the oranges. the juice will stain wood!
browned butter & blood orange upside-down cake
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 2/3 c brown sugar
- 2 t lemon juice
- 2-3 medium blood oranges (i had 4 very small ones)
- 1 c almond flour (blanched ground almonds)
- 1/2 c all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 1 t sea salt or kosher salt, divided
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 4 room temperature eggs
- 1/3 c sour cream or greek yogurt
- 2 t vanilla extract
- melt butter in a small saucepan. place brown sugar, lemon juice & half the salt into a small, heat-proof bowl. remove 3 T of the hot butter & pour over the brown sugar mixture, stirring until the sugar & butter are completely incorporated. immediately pour the caramel into the bottom of a 9″ cake pan, spreading with a spatula as needed to create an even layer.
- leave the remaining butter on the stove and cook without stirring over medium heat until it bubbles, foams & eventually begins to brown. as soon as you see some dark color in one spot of the butter, turn off the burner and let time take care of the rest. once sufficiently browned, remove from the stove & allow to cool at room temperature while you proceed with the next few steps.
- wash and zest one of the oranges, reserving the zest for later. with a very sharp knife, slice off the ends of each orange and cut away the peel & pith, making sure to remove the pith completely. slice into 1/4 inch rounds, removing any seeds you find. arrange the slices on top of the caramel, starting from the center of the pan. you want them to be packed in very close together. my oranges were very small and didn’t quite make it to the edges of the pan, but if yours do, you can cut them to fit so they are flush with the edge. set aside.
- preheat your oven to 350 degrees f. in a medium bowl, sift together almond flour, a.p. flour, salt & baking soda.
- in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the cooled (but not hardened) browned butter & sugar together until the sugar is fully incorporated with the butter & it is thick & glossy. whisk in one egg at a time, then fold in sour cream & vanilla.
- with a silicone spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, stirring until just incorporated. pour the batter over the oranges & caramel in the cake pan. carefully hit the cake on the counter a few times to burst any air bubbles, set onto a rimmed baking sheet (hot caramel on the bottom of the oven is NO FUN) & onto the center rack of your preheated oven.
- bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown all over and set in the center (the center won’t jiggle when you move it in the oven and a gentle tap of your finger will spring back rather than sink). cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before running a butter knife around the edges of the pan. invert a plate on top of the cake, and in one swift movement, flip the cake out onto the plate, revealing the hot orange & caramel layer. pat yourself on the back when you see the gorgeous, gooey jewel tones of blood oranges soaked in caramel. allow the cake to cool completely on the plate before enjoying a slice — or three.