For me, citrus season heralds in the start of the beginnings of Spring. I know, I know, it's still freezing & frosty outside, but the snowdrops are starting to peep out & as the zing of fresh citrus hits the market or tumbles into our veg boxes, I start to dream of warmer weather. This utterly delicious Lemon & Blood Orange Upside Down Cake is a vegan celebration of the citrus season!
You can use any kind of citrus in this cake, so don't worry if you don't have blood oranges around. In fact, the lemons I used in the photo weren't 'lemons' but a close relative called Citron Beldi, which I got from my Veg box scheme (I use Abel & Cole). The point is, you want a lovely sharp & tangy citrus flavour, which is then turned into an almost glacé effect once the sugar syrup is poured over & the cake baked on top of it. So use your favourite or get experimental with a local or different variety!
The almond flour in the recipe is mostly to add a little extra depth & moistness to mix, however you could leave it out if you can't eat nuts, or substitute it for some polenta or another nut flour. If you do leave it out, be sure to add the same weight back in of flour.
For ease of getting the cake out of the tin & keeping it looking beautiful once turned out, I really do suggest using a spring form tin ; the kind you clip the sides on in a sort of clunk, clack way. Be sure to line it well with baking paper. The best way is to make a circle a little bigger than the base of the tin, then snip your way around the extra & settle it into the tin so the extra bits sit up the edges. This means that the whole of the base is covered. (Take a look at the photo below to see the citrus all arranged over the baking paper in the bottom of the tin)
I also suggest putting the tin on a baking sheet, as because it has sides that clip on, it might leak a little when the sugar syrup is poured over the citrus on the base of the cake. (Plus the cake batter is quite liquid- Don't panic! It comes out beautifully once cooked!)
When your lovely Vegan Lemon & Blood Orange Upside down cake is finally cooked, leave it in the tin to cool, then unclip the edges, before turning it out on the plate you want to serve it on!. The base of the cake ends up on top of the cake & becomes the lovely stained glass-a-like citrus decoration! Gorgeous!
Vegan Blood Orange & Lemon Upside Down Cake
- 9" (22cm) spring form cake tin
For the Orange & Lemon Upside Down Top
- 2-3 citrus fruits of choice eg: lemons, blood orange, grapefruit, orange Make sure the fruit is unwaxed and has a thin pith.
- 100 g caster sugar
- 60 ml cup water
For the Cake Batter
- 65 g almond flour
- 300 g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 300 g caster sugar or any other sugar
- 140 ml sunflower oil
- 400 ml water
- 100 ml fresh citrus juice (approx the juice of 2 lemons, or 1.5 oranges)
- Grated zest of 1 unwaxed orange or lemon
- To arrange the fruit
- Preheat oven to 180 C/ Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a round cake tin (ideally 9 inches/22cm) with baking paper. Make sure the lining goes around the sides of the cake tin. Once lined, grease the exposed baking paper with a little vegetable oil / vegan butter.
- Slice the citrus fruit into 1cm pieces.
- Next, heat the 100g of sugar with the 60ml of water on a medium heat until all the sugar is totally dissolved.
- Put the tin onto a oven tray. (this prevents leaking into your oven!)
- Pour half the dissolved sugar and water mix into the bottom of the lined cake tin. Next, arrange the slices of citrus at the bottom of the cake tin. Fit in as many whole slices as you can, overlapping them or making pretty patterns.
- Once you are happy with your arrangement, pour the rest of the sugar-water mix over the slices. Set aside while you make the cake mixture.
- To make the cake
- In a large mixing bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Then add the almond flour and the caster sugar.
- In another bowl mix the oil, water, citrus juice and orange rind. Then add this to the bowl of other ingredients. Mix well.
- Very carefully and slowly, pour the mixture into the cake tin over the prepared citrus fruit.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Once baked, allow the cake to fully cool in the tin. Once cool very carefully turn this out on to a plate or serving tray. Easiest method is to place a plate on top of the cake tin, then grip the cake tin and plate together and flip it over so it can drop on to the plate. Remove the tin and peel off baking paper.