Ruby-red blood oranges exploding with a sweet, slightly tart taste are the star on this deliciously moist and dense upside-down cake.
I don’t know about you, but I’m in love with citrus season.
In part, I think, because of the timing. Hitting the shelfs in plain winter, when here in Europe it’s mostly grey and wet outside, farm stalls and supermarket shelfs brimming with bright yellow, sunny orange, and cheerful lime, always makes me happy. Making the day just so much brighter.
Of course, most citrus fruits are available year-round. Except for blood oranges. They will arrive in late December and be around until mid-end April. But the best – which means the juiciest – are around in January to March.
So this is the time to make the most of the delicious, wonderfully sweet and stunningly looking pinkish-maroon-red like flesh.
Like with all other citrus fruits, blood oranges are perfect ingredients for breakfasts, appetizers, salads, dips, mains, desserts, and of course a large range of mixing drinks (both boozy and not).
So where to start?
One of my absolute favourites is this easy Italian-style blood orange polenta cake.
By the way, you can make this cake also with regular oranges when blood oranges are not in season. Or use both types, which adds another lovely colour mix to your cake.
Recipe: Upside-Down Blood Orange Polenta Cake
For a 27 cm round cake pan
3 blood oranges, peeled, white pit removed, seeds discarded, and sliced
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
290 g butter
250 g sugar
160 g brown sugar
180 g polenta
80 g all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
70 ml butter milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180°C.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 40 g butter. Mix in brown sugar and lemon juice. Stir until sugar is fully dissolved.
Grease a baking pan.
Pour the caramel into the pan and let cool 1-2 minutes until slightly set. Arrange orange slices in a single, tight layer on top of the caramel.
In a large bowl, add orange zest, polenta, flour, baking powder and alt.
In a separate bowl, beat the remaining butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time and mix together until just combined, then stir in buttermilk and vanilla extract. Finally, stir in the polenta-flour mix until combined.
Pour batter over the oranges.
Bake for 45 minutes until golden-brown. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Let cool for a few minutes in the pan, then invert onto a platter.
Let cool completely before serving.