This easy Vegan Blood Orange Upside Down Cake celebrates oranges galore. Impressive & delicious, moist, not overly sweet and with lovely citrussy tang, this cake is perfect with a nice cup of tea!
Upside down cakes are beautiful, delicious and super easy to make vegan!
On this occasion I made my orange upside down cake using last of the season blood oranges but any oranges will do.
Made with vegan yogurt, the sponge itself is beautifully moist and fluffy without any eggs or dairy in sight.
Caramelised oranges provide that sweet hint of citrus as well as nice and sticky contrast to the soft texture of the sponge. Just yum!
📝 Ingredients and substitutions
Here's what you will need to make my Vegan Blood Orange Upside Down Cake:
Oranges - You can use your favourite oranges here. I usually go for blood oranges when in season with navel oranges being my go to at other times of the year. You will use both zest and juice, although if you don't have enough oranges for the juice simply use some from the carton.
Plain (All-Purpose) Flour - I wouldn't suggest any flour substitutions here although you could try swapping some of the flour for ground almonds for that orange-almond flavour combo that works so well.
Demerara Sugar - I like to use it as a topping for my cake as it adds almost caramel like flavour to oranges. You could substitute it with regular granulated sugar though.
Caster Sugar - Use it in your cake batter. Golden caster sugar could be used here as well.
Baking Powder & Baking Soda - Our raising agents.
Vegan Yogurt - Any plain vegan yogurt will do here. I like to use Alpro Greek Style Yogurt (UK) for its thickness but if your yogurt is slightly runny it will be fine as well.
Neutral Tasting Oil - I like to use light olive oil or cold-pressed rapeseed oil in my baking. Sunflower oil is another one that would work here.
🔪 How to make vegan blood orange upside down cake
Ingredient quantities & detailed instructions to be found in recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and prepare round cake tin by greasing it and lining the bottom with some baking paper.
Peel and thinly slice two oranges (you might need to use 3 depending on their sizes and how close together you'd like to arrange them in a tin).
Sprinkle demerara sugar evenly on the bottom of the cake tin and arrange orange slices on top (they can overlap slightly). Make sure you put orange slices "neat cut" down as they will be visible once cake is turned upside down.
Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and give them a whisk. Alternatively, sift them through a sieve.
Zest one orange and add it too. Whisk it in so that it's combined with all the dry ingredients.
In a large jug mix together oil, yogurt and orange juice until combined.
Add wet ingredients into the bowl with dry ones and mix gently until just combined (try not to overmix it). Your cake batter will be pretty stiff and lumpy which is as it should be.
Pour cake batter on top of your orange slices (make sure you do it gently not to mess up your neatly arranged fruit). Spread it out nice and even.
Bake your cake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until nice and golden and skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.
Take the cake out of the oven and let it stand for 5-10 minutes before turning it out upside down onto a plate or cooling rack and gently peeling off the layer of baking paper.
Let it cool and serve!
I would highly recommend using 26cm/10inch round springform tin with spillproof edge to prevent any juices from leaking out.
This cake is best eaten within 2 days of baking and can be stored well covered at room temperature.
If you need to store it for longer, it's best to keep refrigerated.
Not suitable for freezing.
💭 Pro tips
Zest one orange before peeling it. As you need a zest of one whole orange in this cake you might want to zest one before peeling it and then proceed with removing the remains of the peel and pith as per instructions in the FAQs below.
Make sure you check your orange slices for any seeds that are trying to hide. You wouldn't like to bite into one of those!
Put baking sheet underneath your cake tin to catch any leaks if not using a tin with spillproof edge as there might be a little leakage once the orange slices release their juices (not much mind you).
Feel free to fit your orange slices as tight or as loose as you like. Depending on the size you will need between 2 to 3 oranges.
Always put your orange slices with the nicely looking side down as this will be the side visible once the cake is upside down (or right side up).
Take care not to overmix the cake batter. It needs very little mixing, only until all the ingredients are incorporated and there is no visible flour. The cake mixture will be stiff and lumpy which is as it should be.
Turn the cake out and upside down onto the plate or cooling rack whilst it's still warm (5-10 minutes after you take it out of the oven). This way it won't stick to the bottom of the tin.
It really is up to you!
You could simply slice the orange thinly as is, leaving the peel intact or you could do what I did and peel the orange prior to slicing it.
The peel might give you a slightly bitter taste and as this cake isn't overly sweet I've opted for removing it (although from the visual point of view unpeeled orange slices look a bit nicer).
If you'd rather keep the peel for visual effect, increase the sugar in your topping to counteract the bitterness.
Peeling an orange is quite easy and my step-by-step photo tutorial should help you further.
1. Cut both ends of your orange and stand it flat on one of them.
2. Using a small serrated blade knife take the peel off your orange by running the knife gently from the top of the cut end to the bottom. This way you take off the strips of the peel as you move down the side of the orange.
3. Peeling the orange this way already removes most of the white and bitter pith but once you've taken the peel off make sure you tidy the orange nicely by gently cutting what's left of it.
4. Once peeled, slice the orange nice and thin removing any seeds that might be lurking in there.
This orange upside down cake is perfect on its own but would also go nicely with some vegan ice cream, dollop of thick plant based yogurt and even custard.
Have you tried my Vegan Blood Orange Upside Down Cake?
Please consider giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in recipe card below and share your views or tips in the comments.
😋 More orange & citrus recipes you might enjoy
Vegan Blood Orange Upside Down Cake
- 2-3 blood oranges Depending on the size and how close together you want to arrange them.
- zest of one orange see notes
- 85 g demerara sugar
- 400 g plain (all-purpose) flour
- 160 g caster or golden caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 370 g plant based (vegan) yogurt I use Alpro Greek Style Plain yogurt
- 140 ml neutral tasting oil light olive oil, cold-pressed rapeseed oil, sunflower oil
- 2 tablespoon fresh orange juice or from the carton
- a little oil for greasing the tin
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and prepare round cake tin by greasing it and lining the bottom with some parchment paper.
- Peel and thinly slice two or three oranges (depending on their sizes).
- Sprinkle demerara sugar evenly on the bottom of the cake tin and arrange orange slices on top (they can overlap slightly). Make sure you put orange slices "neat cut" down as they will be visible once the cake is turned upside down.
- Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and give them a whisk. Alternatively, sift them through a sieve.
- Zest one orange and add it too. Whisk it in so that it's combined with all the dry ingredients.
- In a large jug mix together oil, yogurt and orange juice until combined.
- Add wet ingredients into the bowl with dry ones and mix gently until just combined (try not to overmix it). Your cake batter will be pretty stiff and lumpy which is as it should be.
- Pour cake batter on top of your orange slices (make sure you do it gently not to mess up your neatly arranged fruit). Spread it out nice and even.
- Bake your cake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until nice and golden and skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.
- Take the cake out of the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before turning it out upside down onto a plate or cooling rack and gently peeling off the layer of baking paper.
- Let it cool and serve!
- Nutritional information is approximate, per slice based on 10 slices and should be treated as a rough guideline only.
- As you need zest from one whole orange, make sure to zest it before peeling one of them.
- Store in the airtight container on the counter for up to 2 days. If storing any longer, keep in the fridge.
- Not suitable for freezing.
- Zest one orange before peeling it.
- Make sure you check your orange slices for any seeds.
- Put baking sheet underneath your cake tin to catch any leaks if not using a tin with spillproof edge.
- Feel free to fit your orange slices as close together as you like.
- Always put your orange slices with the nicely looking side down.
- Take care not to overmix the cake batter.
- Turn the cake out and upside down onto the plate or cooling rack whilst it's still warm to prevent it from sticking to the tin.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Couldn't get blood oranges. Used ordinary ones. Turned out scrumptious.
As an afterthought a tsp of vanilla extract may help develop the orange flavor by suppressing the "smell" of the eggs. will try it the next time which will be soon.
Loved the glazed look of the oranges
So pleased you liked it! 🙂
Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie says
What a great idea! I love it 😀 I've always been a big fan of pineapple upside down cake, but I've never tried an orange one before. I love orange in cakes, so I am sure I'd love this! Eb x
Thanks Eb! 🙂 I love upside down cakes too and this one is by far my favourite one now but I might be a bit biased lol x
This is so stunningly beautiful! I've never had blood oranges before, but using them in a cake? Delicious!
Thank you! 🙂 Blood oranges are by far my favourite ones and work so well in all sort of bakes!
This is beautiful! My partner doesn't like blood oranges but I love them so I'm totally going to make it and then eat the whole thing myself!
That's the spirit! 🙂 Thank you so much Hannah! Please come back and let me know what you thought if you get to make it 🙂 x
Jacqui Bellefontaine says
I love an upside down cake in fact I have made one just now Mine was the classic pineapple but I love the sound of this blood orange cake
Thanks Jacqui! 🙂 Pineapple one sounds really nice to, can't beat the classic!
Kat (The Baking Explorer) says
What a gorgeous looking cake!
Thank you so much Kat! 🙂
Cat | Curly's Cooking says
Such a pretty cake that I'm sure is absolutely delicious.
Thank you Cat! 🙂
Anna | Once Upon A Food Blog says
This looks gorgeous Jo. I love citrussy desserts and simple bakes so I think you've got a real winner here. I'd like it with a dollop of yogurt for breakfast.
Thank you Anna! 🙂 Woman after my own heart - cake for breakfast! To be honest a dollop of yogurt would go really nicely here and as the cake is not overly sweet and there is citrus involved I say let's go for it! 🙂
jenny walters says
Gosh Jo what a beautiful cake! I adore fruity bakes and this one is making me drool! I can just imagine it warm with a puddle of cream.....lick that spoon. Thank you for your brilliant hosting and sharing it on #CookBlogShare
Thanks Jen! Puddle of cream or vanilla ice cream works for me too and this cake goes lovely with both! 🙂
Rebecca - Glutarama says
I adore oranges in baking but admit to have never used blood oranges before, this cake looks divine and has tickled my taste buds so much that I'm going to adapt it so that both my daughter and I can eat it too.
Gorgeous reddish hue is the only difference, they just look so pretty I love baking with them. I hope you enjoy your gluten-free version of it and please let me know how it went once you've done it!
Alina | Cooking Journey Blog says
Perfect work on peeling oranges! Looks lovely, citrus cakes are sweet, tart, fresh and juicy.
Thank you Alina! 😉 Citrus bakes are all those things for sure!
Jenny paulin says
thank you for sharing with #Bakeoftheweek Jo x
Pleasure! Thanks for hosting! 🙂 x
Jenny Paulin says
Jo this looks so pretty. I have never tried eating or baking with blood oranges, but they always make bales look so tempting. x
Thank you Jenny! 🙂 I am absolutely obsessed with them and it is only the second year since I've discovered them through my organic veg box. The best citrus fruit ever! lol 🙂 x
Monika Dabrowski says
Lovely looking cake, I like how it has caramelised around the edges. Thank you for bringing your cake recipe to #CookBlogShare
Thank you Monika! 🙂
Helen at Casa Costello says
I love how in depth this post is - even down to advice on chopping the blood oranges. Brilliant. I will now be searching out Blood Oranges around us! Thanks for joining in with #BakeoftheWeek x
Thanks Helen! 🙂 I'm trying to never assume that readers know how to do things hence all the detailed info. I'm glad you like it. 🙂 Thanks for hosting! 🙂 x
Corina Blum says
I love any kind of citrus cake and this one sounds delicious! I do think blood orange recipes look so pretty.
Thank you! ? Citrus cakes are really high on my list too! ? I find (second year in a row now) that blood oranges look “bloodier” and prettier the the closer to the end of season we get.
Even I am a citrus cake fan and this one is a must try!