Suitcase Foodist

Blood Orange Brûlée Upside Down Cake

Blood Orange Brûlée Upside Down Cake

Blood Orange Brûlée Upside Down Cake

Blood Orange Brûlée Upside-down Cake | Suitcase Foodist

Winter is a bit of my nemesis.  My one consolation when the skies get dark and gloomy is citrus season.  A little sunshine packaged neatly with some vitamin c and bright juice is a welcome counterbalance to the cold.

Blood Orange Brûlée Upside-down Cake | Suitcase Foodist
Blood oranges are some of my favorites – they are sweet and colorful with just a touch of exotic.  I’ll eat them by the slice when they show up each winter.

I’ve been in love with Grapefruit Brûlée ever since one of our favorite chefs introduced us at Niche years ago.  A brûlée = anything with burnt sugar caramelized on top – the most famous being creme brûlée.  So, a grapefruit brûlée is a sprinkle of sugar on a halved grapefruit that is torched or broiled until the sugar is caramelized and the grapefruit warm.  The best and simplest of desserts!

Blood Orange Brûlée Upside-down Cake | Suitcase Foodist

I found some beautiful blood oranges at my market this week and couldn’t resist trying to marry a citrus brûlée with an upside down cake. Blood oranges are like stained glass windows of goodness and I wanted to show off the colors.  What better way than an upside down cake?

Blood Orange Brûlée Upside-down Cake | Suitcase Foodist

Olive oil makes the batter extra rich and moist, while Grand Mariner and orange zest add citrus notes to the batter.  Finally, I had some leftover fresh thyme hanging out in my fridge and so into the batter it went for a bit of a floral note.  It is basically a riff on this Rosemary Olive Oil Cake I made for Greg’s birthday.

Blood Orange Brûlée Upside-down Cake | Suitcase Foodist

There is a layer or sugar right on the top of the cake with the blood orange slices – this is what creates the ‘brûlée’ effect.  As the cake bakes, the oranges and sugar will caramelize.  You can also add extra sugar after the cake has cooled and brûlée it yourself with a kitchen torch – just in case you want to play with a little fire (literally).

Blood Orange Brûlée Upside-down Cake | Suitcase Foodist

Another favorite cake of mine is this Easy Chocolate Porter Cake – it comes together in about 10 minutes and is incredibly rich.

I’d love to hear about your favorite citrus-y desert and how you combat the wilds of winter in the comments below.

Lydia, solar powered girl

Blood Orange Brûlée Upside Down Cake


  • 2 medium Blood Oranges - sliced extra thin
  • 2 tablespoons Butter or Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 1/3 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/4 cup Milk (Greg is semi-allergic to milk, so I tend to use alternatives. I used Coconut Milk)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Orange Zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Thyme, leaves removed from the stems & chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup Grand Marnier


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice the blood oranges extra thin - you should be able to see through them when you hold them up to the light.
  3. Butter a 9-inch springform cake pan and line the bottom with parchment. Butter the parchment well and sprinkle evenly with 2 tablespoons or sugar.
  4. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda & baking powder). If you like your cakes sweet, you can up the sugar to 2 cups. In a separate, larger bowl mix all the wet ingredients (olive oil, milk, eggs, liqueur) plus the orange zest and the thyme. Add the dry ingredients and whisk together until just blended - do not over mix.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for around an hour - checking to see if the cake is done around 60 minutes. Mine took around 80 minutes to cook fully. The top will be a lovely golden-y color and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.
  6. Move the cake to the cake rack and let it cool for at least 30 min. Loosen the springform sides and invert the cake over a plate so that the 'bottom' is now the top of the cake.

Eat Seasonal Recipe Round UP - January 2016

This post is a part of The Vintage Mixer‘s Eat Seasonal series.  So many reasons to focus on eating quality in-season produce… to save money, to get the freshest produce, for sustainability but most of all everything just tastes better!

Check out these great posts with great recipes for seasonal eating!  Enjoy!

Oatmeal and Citrus Smoothie by Floating Kitchen
Butternut Squash, Carrot and Orange Detox Soup by Vintage Mixer
Winter Minestrone Soup with Pancetta by Flavor the Moments
Broiled Grapefruit by Bless This Mess
Gluten Free Gingersnaps with Lemon Cream Filling by Cafe Johnsonia
Meyer Lemon Tart by Kitchen Confidante
Potato and Leek Soup with Kale by Mountain Mama Cooks
Grapefruit and Avocado Green Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette by Food for My Family
Creamy Mushroom and Leek Chicken Breasts by Foodie Crush
Blood Orange Brûlée Upside Down Cake by Suitcase Foodist
Maple-Cayenne Sausage, Brussels Sprouts and Potato Sheet Dish by Project Domestication
Pink Grapefruit with Brunt Honey Custard by Letty’s Kitchen
Yogurt Brûlée with Winter Fruit by Completely Delicious
Grapefruit Pound Cake with Ginger Marshmallow Icing by Climbing Grier Mountain

10 thoughts on “Blood Orange Brûlée Upside Down Cake

  1. Becky

    I made a citrus upside down cake last year and it may have been my favorite dish of the season. I love that yours is brûlées and with blood oranges! It’s stunning!!

  2. Elaine

    I just made this for my husband’s birthday. I wasn’t sure if he would like it, as it is very different from my pineapple upside cake. He absolutely loved it! Beautiful to look at plus a nice crunchy edge. I think best eaten warm. Served with whipped cream. Thank you so much for this recipe. A real keeper.

    1. Lydia Post author

      Elaine – I am so thrilled that we got to come to your husband’s birthday in the form of our cake! It is so good served warm, isn’t it? I could barely take the photos before diving in. Thanks for telling us about it – you made our day.

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