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cornmeal cake | orange cake recipe | orange upside down cake | orange cornmeal cake

Upside Down Orange Cake

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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 9 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 10 hours
  • Yield: 18 servings 1x


This upside down orange cake recipe is a showstopper! It’s a cornmeal cake that stars the classic pairing of orange and fennel.


  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 4 tablespoons, melted, to grease the baking pan
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 blood oranges, unpeeled
  • 1 Valencia orange, unpeeled
  • 2 cups fine cornmeal
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup cup fresh orange juice (any type of orange)


  1. Using a pastry brush, liberally great a 12-inch round cake pan with half the melted butter. Line the pan with a parchment round and brush the paper with the remaining melted butter. Sprinkle the whole fennel seeds and 3 tablespoons of the sugar over the bottom of the pan. Using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice the oranges 1/8 inch thick. Arrange the orange slices over the sugar and fennel seeds, covering as much surface area as you can.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, orange zest, ground fennel, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon butter and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar for 4 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Lower the mixer speed to medium-low and add half the dry ingredients, beating until combined, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Beat in the orange juice, and then the remaining dry ingredients, and beat until well combined and there are no visible streaks of flour. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Cover the surface of the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the cake for 55 to 60 minutes , rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the center is firm, yet spongy, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake, and invert the cake onto a plate. Let cool for another 10 to 12 minutes, then gently tap the bottom of the pan to unmold the cake. Peel off the parchment paper and cool completely. To serve, cut the cake with a sharp, serrated knife.


Reprinted with permission from Season by Nik Sharma. For a decadent treat, top this cornmeal cake with our Homemade Whipped Cream.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American