Sunday, June 5, 2011

May Cake: Orange-Almond-Caramel Upside-Down Cake

I took this cake over to a friends to have after a delicious dinner. The overwhelming response to the cake...."Meh".

I have to agree. "Meh" was my initial thought too. It was good, not great. The texture and the topping were the shining stars of the cake. Saucy Hubby thought the orange zest was a little strong. Amazingly the cake got better after a few days. Almost like it needed time to let the flavors blend.

This turned out to be a great cake, and that almond caramel topping is a keeper. Here is the recipe in case you want to give it a whirl.


1 cup sliced almonds
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cups light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch round nonstick cake pan and dust with flour (THIS IS SO IMPORTANT). Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper (ALSO IMPORTANT)and grease and flour the paper.

Directions for the topping:
1. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Whisk in the brown sugar, turn the heat to low, and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Drizzle with the honey. Scatter the toasted almonds over the honey. Set aside.

Directions for the cake:
1. Comine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Comine the sour cream, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla in a different bowl and lightly beat.

2. Comine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in the orange zest.

3. With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour the egg mixture into the bowl in a slow stream, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides.

4. Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture a 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. After the last addition, mix for 30 seconds on medium speed.

5. Pour the batter over the almonds, gently spreading it into an even layer.

6. Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 - 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand for 5 minutes.

7. Holding the pan and a plate together, immediately invert the hot cake onto the plate. Peel away the parchment paper. Let the cake cool for at least 20 minutes.


  1. Your topping looks wonderful - certainly I think it is the best looking one I have seen so far!

  2. Yours look wonderful!

    Mine was not intact but nonetheless finished in two winks!