Here’s an upside-down cake that works with a variety of fruit, from peaches to apples to plums. Since it’s citrus season, I chose to use thin rounds of orange, which are a nice complement to the almond streusel filling. My original intention was to use blood oranges, but they weren’t available yet, so I settled on Cara Cara oranges, which are a little sweeter than blood oranges and have the added benefit of being seedless, so no need to spend time picking out the pips. Their flesh is a reddish-pink color, which is a little unusual for an orange-flavored cake, but they have a lovely citrus flavor with notes of raspberry, cranberry and blackberry. Not bad for an orange!
Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 8 to 10
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (108 grams) light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) Grand Marnier or dark rum (optional)
- 4 blood oranges or Cara Cara oranges or small Navel oranges
- 2/3 cup (87 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (25 grams) almond flour
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup whole or slivered (30 grams) blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 tablespoons (71 grams) unsalted butter, melted
Orange Chiffon Cake:
- 1 cup (114 grams) cake flour
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large (200 grams) eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (68 grams) neutral vegetable oil (such as safflower or canola oil)
- 2 tablespoons (12 grams) finely grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) freshly squeezed strained lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Make the orange topping:
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch diameter by 3-inch-high round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray (you can use a springform pan if you don’t have a standard cake pan that’s this height). Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, cut to fit. Cut 2 strips of parchment paper, each 3 inches in height, and fit them around the sides of the pan, overlapping them slightly where they meet.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and lemon juice and heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the Grand Marnier or rum. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and set aside.
- Using a chef’s knife, cut the ends off the oranges and then slice off the rind and pith of each orange, following its natural curve. Cut each orange crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Remove any visible seeds (Cara Cara oranges are seedless). Arrange the orange slices over the bottom of the pan, overlapping them slightly.
Make the streusel:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the flours, brown sugar, almonds, cinnamon, ginger and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix at low speed until well combined. While continuing to mix, add the melted butter and mix just until the mixture comes together.
- Transfer the streusel to the baking sheet, breaking it up into small clumps and spreading it into an even layer. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, tossing well after 8 minutes, until it is golden brown. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and allow the streusel to cool while you make the cake batter. Reduce the oven temperature to 325˚F.
Make the cake:
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vegetable oil, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, milk, and vanilla extract at until well blended. Gently whisk in the flour mixture, one-fourth at a time, mixing just until blended.
- Place the egg whites and the cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer and, using the whisk attachment, whip at medium-low speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar; increase the speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, briskly fold about one-quarter of the whites into the cake batter. Gently fold in the remaining whites. Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the streusel, reserving 1/3 cup of it for garnish. Top with the remaining cake batter and smooth the top.
- Bake the cake for 55 to 65 minutes, until it is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan, set on a wire rack, for 25 minutes.
- Carefully invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely.