This gorgeous vegan blood orange upside down cake by Hannah Kaminsky is a great way to impress guests. Fancy enough for company, it’s also surprisingly easy to make as an everyday treat. A perfect dessert for the cool-season, this blood orange cake recipe delights the eyes as well as the palate.
Hannah writes: “Blood oranges are such a beautiful, shocking crimson hue when first sliced open; I could hardly waste that beauty by merely extracting the juice and letting it get lost in some cake batter.
Instead, by placing blanched slices of the citrus fruit at the bottom of a cake pan and inverting the whole thing once baked, you get not only a flavorful cake but an aesthetically pleasing one as well.
Any sort of citrus would be a fantastic substitute too, but bear in mind that you’ll need more lemons and fewer grapefruits to cover the surface of the cake.”
About Blood Oranges
Blood oranges are a variety of citrus that feature a slightly less acidic flavor profile than most varieties of orange. The vivid crimson color of the flesh is what gives them their wow factor. The vivid color sometimes reveals itself on the rind as well, giving a hint to what’s inside.
Like other citrus fruits, blood oranges are in season during the colder months. They’re a good source of vitamin C and fiber. What gives them their color is a natural antioxidant. See their complete nutritional profile here.
There are several varieties of blood orange, including Moro, Sanguinello, and Tarocco. Learn more about this lovely citrus fruit and more delightful ways to use blood oranges.
Recipe and photo at top are from Vegan Desserts: Sumptuous Sweets for Every Season by Hannah Kaminsky, ©2013, Skyhorse Publishing, reprinted by permission of the author.Available wherever books are sold.
- 2 medium blood oranges
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- 2/3 dark brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
- ½ cup plain unsweetened plant-based milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup neutral vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup natural granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Thoroughly wash and dry the oranges. Break out your mandoline if you have one, or simply use a very sharp knife to cut the oranges into thin slices, about 1/8 inch (4 mm) thick. Remove any pits.
- Place the orange slices in a medium saucepan and fill it with water so that the slices are covered, being gentle so as not to tear the membrane of the citrus. Bring the water to a boil, and then drain it away. Fill the pot back up with water and repeat this process twice more. (This removes the bitterness from the orange, since the whole thing, peel and all, will be going into the cake.)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and lightly oil a 10-inch round cake pan.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the vegan butter and stir in the brown sugar. Cook until the sugar is dissolved. Pour this mixture into your prepared pan.
- Arrange the oranges slices on the sugar syrup, overlapping so that the bottom of the pan is completely covered, and set aside.
- For the cake batter: Combine the applesauce, plant-base milk, and vinegar in a mixing bowl. stir well; and allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.
- Add in the oil, vanilla, and sugar to the applesauce mixture and stir together until smooth.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt Mix just until the dry goods are incorporated, and not a moment longer. Pour the batter carefully over the oranges, taking care not to disturb them. Smooth out the top of the batter with a baking spatula.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown all over and a toothpick comes out clean—just make sure you don’t poke all the way down to the bottom, because the caramel sauce should stay wet.
- Let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes before inverting the pan, revealing the oranges and caramel. Slice with a very sharp knife to keep the pattern intact.
About Hannah Kaminsky: Hannah has developed an international following for her delicious recipes and mouthwatering food photography at the award-winning blog BitterSweet. She is the author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan à la Mode, Easy as Vegan Pie, and Real Food, Really Fast. Visit Hannah on the web at BittersweetBlog.com.
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