The festive season is well and truly upon us. December is a month of indulgence; so many parties, weddings, events (UpperCrust Magazine’s 10th Food & Wine Show is taking place in Mumbai this weekend) and of course Christmas! Festive baking is one my favourite things to do and I just love how the kitchen fills up with the aromas of cinnamon, raisins and gingerbread, not to mention mulled cider on the side...
This year, I decided to bake something I had never tried before. After watching several contestants on MasterChef Australia bake upside-down cakes, I thought I too would give it a try. I Googled it (but of course) and there were tons of pineapple and apple cake recipes, but I really wanted to use these gorgeous oranges available in the market. Then I came across Eric Lanlard’s recipe for an Orange upside down cake on Baking Mad, and it seemed perfect. Eric is a French patissier and a celebrity chef who owns the luxury cafe-patisserie Cake Boy in London; he has written multiple books on baking (I’m currently coveting his book Home Bake) and he has his own baking show on British telly. Oh, did I mention that he is cute too?!
I have adapted his recipe slightly, so here’s my Spiced Orange Upside-down Cake. This recipe serves 8-10 people, depending upon portion sizes! You can scale up the recipe as per your requirement. You can change the spice levels as per your taste. Also, experiment with other fruits.
For the Cake
- 150g All-purpose Flour
- 150g Butter (I use salted butter; if you’re using unsalted butter, remember to add a pinch of salt to the dry mix)
- 150g Caster Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 1tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Vanilla Bean, scraped (or 1tsp Vanilla Essence)
- 2tsp Cinnamon Powder
- 2tsp Orange Zest
- 1 large Orange
- 1-2 sticks of Cinnamon
- 1 Star Anise
- 100ml Water
- 100g Sugar
- To make the poaching syrup, mix the sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and set it on low heat.
- Meanwhile, slice the orange into thin round slices, keeping the peel on.
- Once the sugar is almost dissolved, add the cinnamon & star anise to the syrup. Place the orange slices in.
- Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Turn off the heat and let the orange slices soak in the syrup.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease an 18cm cake tin and set aside.
- Sift together the flour and baking powder.
- Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat well.
- Add the dry mix, about 1/3rd at a time and keep mixing till well incorporated.
- Add the vanilla, cinnamon powder and orange zest.
- Remove the orange slices from the poaching syrup and arrange at the base of the cake tin till it’s covered well.
- Pour the cake batter over the orange slices and bake for 40-45 minutes, or till a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Let it cool completely and then turn it over onto a plate or cake stand.
- Slice and serve with some of the poaching syrup.