Spice up your autumn!

With Hallowe’en behind us, I feel like filling the house with the smells of Christmassy baking. Mince pies may be in the shops earlier each year but they feel ridiculous when eaten too soon.
This spicy citrusy twist on the kitsch classic “pineapple upside down cake” is warm and comforting; it gives a sense of seasonal spiciness but without the sense of having put your decorations up too early.

You’ll be left with most of the orangey sugar syrup left over here but do keep it to brush over cupcakes, drizzle over rice pudding or more naughtily, pancakes and bacon…

This is a swift, uncomplicated bake that looks more sophisticated that its pineapple predecessor; it would be equally at home served by the slice for afternoon tea or with whipped double cream and orange liqueur for pudding after a casual dinner party. Sneak a glace cherry in for that retro effect…

Orange spice upside down cake

Serves 8


For the cake

2 oranges
50ml water
50g dark soft brown sugar
175g light soft brown sugar
125g softened unsalted butter
2 large eggs
125g self raising flour
half tsp cinnamon
half tsp cardamom
half tsp mixed spice
half tsp vanilla extract
half glace cherry (optional)


To serve

100ml double cream
1 tbsp orange liqueur
You will need a 7in loose bottomed cake tin lined with baking parchment.



1. Preheat the oven to 180c / gas 4.

2. Slice one of the oranges in half  and then into half moon slices.

3. Heat the water, soft dark brown sugar and 50g of the light soft brown sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar melts. Bring it gently to the boil and allow to simmer for a few moments then reduce heat and allow to cool. You are looking for a smooth syrup so repeat this step if the sugar water is still runny. When syrupy, turn off the heat, drop in the orange slices and leave to one side.

4. Take the second orange, remove the zest with a grater or zesting tool and squeeze the juice into  small bowl. Set aside.

5. Cream the butter and remaining light soft brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric or hand hand mixer until fluffy.

6. Beat in the two eggs, the vanilla extract and finally the flour and spices.

7. Arrange the orange slices in the bottom of the cake tin with the cherry at the centre if you are using one. Decant the remaining sugar syrup into a sealable tub.

8. Spread the cake batter on top of the orange slices and smooth to the edge of the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-22 minutes until springy and a toothpick comes out clean.

9. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for few minutes then turn onto a wire cooling rack with the sponge surface facing down. Peel back the parchment paper to reveal the fruit.

10. Serve with double cream whipped with a table spoon of the sugar syrup and some orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau.


By Sarah Trivuncic

Sarah is the editor of the amazing blog Maison Cupcake.
The blog features baking, desserts and party food recipes, kid friendly restaurant reviews, family days out and travel. MaisonCupcake.com was ranked number 1 in the Top 10 UK Confectionery & Baking Blogs by Cision.com. And was also a finalist on the Mum and Dad Blog Awards, on the top 5 Family Food Blogs.