Upside Down Clementine Cake


This easy upside down clementine cake recipe is moist and flavorful. The simple secret to making this delicious upside down cake recipe is the homemade caramel and orange zest buttercream frosting.

This easy upside down cake recipe is simple to make and best of all the messy step of inverting the pan is done for you! This recipe makes a delicious, moist pineapple dessert that’s given new life when the pineapple and juice are cooked down into a cake.

Clementine upside-down cake with marmalade

Clementine upside-down cake with marmalade
  • Effort iconEASY
  • JANUARY 2017

Test kitchen approved

  • Serves iconSERVES 8-10
  • Time iconHANDS-ON TIME 40 MIN, OVEN TIME 65-70 MIN

You can do more with marmalade than simply spread it on toast. We’ve used it to add an extra hit of orange flavour and sweetness to this upside-down cake.




  • Vegetable oil for greasing
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 medium free-range eggs, beaten
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • Finely grated zest 1 lemon
  • 8 clementines, 3 finely zested,
  • all peeled and sliced horizontally into thirds
  • 4 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 3 tbsp clementine and bay marmalade or orange marmalade

You’ll also need…

  • 20cm non-stick round cake tin


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°Cfan/gas 4. Grease and line the base of the tin with non-stick baking paper. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and 250g caster sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, then add the beaten egg a little at a time until fully incorporated.
  2. Add the ground almonds, flour and zests, then gently mix together.
  3. Sprinkle the 4 tbsp sugar over the base of the prepared tin, then top with the clementine slices, cut-side down, overlapping them to cover any gaps. Dollop over the cake mixture, smooth the top, then bake for 65-70 minutes until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean.
  4. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool, clementines face-up. When the cake is nearly cool, warm the marmalade in a pan, then brush over to serve.

delicious. tips

  1. If you only have springform or loose-bottomed cake tins, put a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper underneath in the oven to catch any marmalade that may seep out.


This clementine upside down cake recipe is a light, citrusy dessert that is sure to impress. Crowned in paper-thin slices of glazed clementine, it is stunning yet deceptively easy to make. Make this clementine cake while these jewels are in season and enjoy this cake all week.

Upside down cakes are a favorite of mine. There is something so satisfying about turning it over and watching the reveal of the beautiful top. One of my favorite fall versions is a cranberry upside down cake. Both of these are great to have around for snacking during the holidays.

Clementine upside down cake on white platter with slice of cake on a small square plate on teal napkin in the background.

You can also find a gluten free clementine cake using almond flour.

Clementine upside down cake


This is a cake that I make almost every Christmas. It looks like it took all day, when in fact, it did not.

Made with buttermilk to give it a little tang, this cake is just barely sweet. It goes really well with a cup of coffee or tea as a breakfast treat or a dessert.

Upside down clementine cake on large white platter.


A version of a clementine cake made an appearance in the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” a few years back and apparently, it became all the rage. I’ve been making this cake since 2001, who knew that versions of this cake would pop up everywhere? 

Because it is so delicious, I guess it shouldn’t be a big surprise.


You’ll need to use your deepest cake pan. Meaning, the one with the tallest sides. I like to bake this cake in a 9 x 3 cake pan. It will work in a standard 9 x 2 cake pan, but I suggest placing the pan on a baking sheet, just in case it bubbles over.

If you have a 9 x 3 cake pan, this is the time to use it. Those high sides will give your cake nice, straight sides and you won’t have to obsessively look through the oven glass to make sure it isn’t spilling over.


First, we’ll boil the thin slices of clementine for a few minutes to soften them. Then the butter and clementine juice go into the pan and the clementine slices are arranged in a circular pattern.

Step by step photo instructions for clementine cake.

Mix up the simple buttermilk batter and gently scoop on top, then bake. You can see the top of the cake flecked with vanilla – the combination of orange and vanilla is so good.

Cool the cake slightly before inverting, cool completely before cutting and serving.


  • Small offset spatula – When you scoop the cake batter on top of the clementines, you’ll need to smooth the top before putting the cake in the oven. This offset spatula is small enough to allow you to get in the pan easily without hitting the side of the cake pan.
  • Rubber spatulas – I love this set because it includes a scraping spatula! You need that for getting the bottom of the bowl. Love it.
  • Possibly one of the greatest things ever invented – 9 inch parchment paper rounds. These pre cut pieces of parchment paper go directly on the bottom of your pan creating a layer between the pan and your cake making it easy to remove with no sticking.

Clementine Upside Down Cake: A Zesty, Comforting Winter Treat
Total time: 70 Min

Difficulty: Low

Serves: 6 people
By Cookist

6-8 pcs
1 cup
1 tbp
1 tsp
1/3 cup
1 & 2/3 cup
1 cup
Clementine Upside Down Cake is the perfect comforting wintertime recipe. Use fresh, seasonal clementines to make a beautiful sweet treat that’s incredibly moist and packed with zesty citrus flavor.

How to make a Clementine Upside Down Cake

First, peel 6 to 8 ripe clementines and slice them into rounds.

Place the sliced clementines in the bottom of a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan. Fill in any gaps with smaller clementine pieces to evenly cover the bottom of the cake pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine the almond milk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla. Add the vegetable oil and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to fold together. Pour the batter over the clementines in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until set.

Cool the cake on a wire rack fully. Then remove from the pan and flip so the clementines are facing up. Brush with melted orange marmalade and serve with fresh mint leaves on top.

Here are some of the best tips to ensure your cake comes out perfectly:

Be sure to grease and flour the inside of your cake pan very thoroughly before adding the clementines or batter. This is the only way to ensure the cake comes out in one piece for the stunning upside-down presentation.

Slice your clementines into pieces of equal thickness for the evenest presentation. Only mix the batter until it comes together. Overmixing can cause the cake to become tough. A few lumps of flour are totally fine.

To check that your cake is done, insert a toothpick into the center. It should come out mostly clean

Cut the tangerines and arrange in butter and sugar coated baking trays. Mix milk, vinegar, vanilla and oil. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add pre-prepared liquid ingredients. Mix.

Pour on tangerines and bake for 25-30 minutes at 360°F (180°).

Flip the cake over and coat it with melted marmalade.

Store leftover clementine cake in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap on the counter for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the fully cooled cake for up to three months. Be sure to wrap it in several layers of plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.

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