Dairy and Egg Free Upside Down Cake
It’s no secret that I love an orange and chocolate combo as well as an orange and cranberry. Why not combine the three (and add coffee)? This delicious cara cara orange upside down cake features tart citrus, rich cocoa with espresso, and dried cranberries. As an added bonus, the cake is dairy and egg free.
What’s in a Name?
An upside down cake tends to be a fan favorite. Pineapple upside down cake is the most common and most popular, but I prefer to use different fruits such as apple, pears, or, in this case, orange. The cake is baked in a single pan with all of the toppings at the bottom of the pan. When fully baked, the finished cake is flipped over and removed from the pan onto a cooling rack – flipping it “right side up”. Hence the name.
Let’s Talk Ingredients
- Cara Cara Oranges: Cara cara oranges are navel oranges but have a beautiful pink flesh tone. The orange has the citrus flavor you expect from a navel orange plus a balance of tangy and tart. If unable to locate cara cara oranges, you are welcome to use other variations of oranges, such as blood orange. Note that the taste will vary.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil stands in for butter in this cake recipe and adds a boost of antioxidants. Make sure to avoid any kind of flavored olive oil as it will alter the final result. Vegetable oil is a valid substitute – like for like- if you prefer not to use olive oil.
- Espresso Powder – Espresso adds such a rich flavor, especially when used with cocoa powder. Have your cake with a little jolt of caffeine!
- Apple Cider Vinegar: The apple cider vinegar is the acid that reacts with the baking soda and creates a beautiful even rise in the cake. Don’t worry, the flavor does not come through and neither does the smell.
- Dried Cranberries: Dried cranberries add a little bit of sweet and texture to the cake. Fresh cranberries are a bit too tart and would potentially overpower the orange. Best to use dried. You can swap in chocolate chips if preferred.
Baking of the Upside Down Cake
- Cutting Board
- Paper Towels
- 2 Small Bowls
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Medium Mixing Bowl
- Rubber Spatula
- 8″ round cake pan
- Wire Cooling Rack
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Zest of two cara cara oranges
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 5 cara cara oranges – peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour – sifted
- 1/3 cup dutch process cocoa powder – sifted
- 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tbsp plus 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the bottom of an 8″ round cake pan with plant-based butter. Sprinkle the 3 tablespoons of turbinado sugar on bottom of pan, evenly coating.
Place olive oil in small bowl with zest of 2 oranges and set aside. Peel oranges and thinly slice into rounds, removing the white pith. Absorb some of the excess juice from the slices by dabbing with paper towels before layering on bottom of pan. (You will dab again before pouring over the cake batter as well).
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Combine the espresso powder and water in a small bowl and mix. Pour mixture in medium mixing bowl along with olive oil and zest, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. Whisk until combined and smooth.
Pour the wet ingredients into the large mixing bowl with dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth and keep as much air in the mixture as you can. Gently fold in dried cranberries. Dab top of oranges with paper towels one more time before pouring batter into pan over the oranges. Use a rubber spatula to smooth and level the batter.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with crumbs only, no batter. Depending on the moisture level of the oranges, you may have to bake longer. Let the cake cool for 20-30 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack. The cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap once cooled and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (if it lasts that long!)