Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake

Blood orange season is back- I have always meant to do something awesome and wonderful with them, but I blink and it seems that the season has ended and I have to wait a whole year before I can enjoy these sweet multicolor globes again.

I was determined that it was not going to happen this year.

Blood oranges might very well qualify as a superfruit, having a high vitamin C content and the pigment anthocyanin, a flavonoid primarily responsible for the pigmentation and nutrient density in blueberries, purple kale, elderberries, etc.

Besides the amazing health benefits, these oranges are wonderfully sweet, with noticeable hints of raspberry. They grow best where the days are warm and the nights are cool (we’re looking at you, Mediterranean area).

I enjoy most upside down cakes, and I added a teaspoon of cassia, so you’ll see them in the photos, but please do use the ground – I happened to have some on hand, from making elderberry syrup earlier in the year.

I have used blood orange slices in salads, combining them with red kale, walnuts, goat cheese, and making a dressing from olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. But, my almost-4-year-old has put his food down, so, for today, cake it is.

What’s your favorite way to have blood oranges?

Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake

Serves 8-10

3 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
3 blood oranges, 1 tbsp. zested, then sliced thinly and ends reserved for juicing
2 tbsp. fresh blood orange juice, set aside
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp cinnamon (or cassia chips, info above)
1 1/2 c. buttermilk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lightly coat a 10″ springform cake pan with oil, then line with parchment or waxed paper. Coat the pan and paper with butter. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in the bottom of the pan, then drizzle the molasses over the top. Add the vanilla. Arrange the orange slices over the sugar mixture. Overlap is OK.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt). Whisk to mix thoroughly. Stir the milk and orange juice together.

In a mixing bowl, add the butter and 3/4 cup of sugar. Mix with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to incorporate fully after each addition. Mix in the cinnamon and orange zest.

Add the flour in three additions (beginning and ending with flour), and in between, add the milk and orange juice in two additions.

Add the cake batter on top of the oranges and use the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Bake in the over for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake has started to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Let the cake rest on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Remove the baking paper. Allow to cool before slicing.