Cardamom Orange Upside Down Olive Oil Cake

Cardamom Orange Upside Down Olive Oil CakeThis name! It’s a mouthful, I know.  But a worthy mouthful it is indeed! I came across a recipe for a simple orange olive oil cake and thought, “why not spice things up a bit?” (Cardamom is such an underated spice! I use it my tarte aux pommes recipe as well and I do say, it makes the dessert!)

the orange. Single irradiant sphere on the sand,

tide-washed, glistening as if new born,

golden orb, miraculous ur-fruit,

in all that sweep of horizon the only point of color” – Cambell McGrath

I have never met a citrus fruit I did not like! They are literally sunshine in your mouth. For this recipe, I used organic valencia oranges but blood oranges would be just as delicious and certainly one could use navals too: experiment! Experimentation got me here.

I had some rasberry coulis chilling in the fridge from the last time I made my chocolate rasberry mousse tarte (coming soon to the blog) so decided to serve the cake with a dollop of rasberry whipped cream. The cold cream was the perfect complement to the warm cake succulent moist cake. My guests, my dear friend D (her bump) and her husband, gushed praise for the confection.

A note on the cake: this was my first time trying out the egg whites a rising agent (no baking soda or powder here). It worked splendidly! If you are not used to whipping egg whites, the first lesson is you do not want even a smidge of yolk in your whites: any fat will ruin your meringue (be sure your utensils are also pristinely clean and separate your eggs while they are cold but wait for the albumen to reach room temperature before whipping)

The cake recipe calls for Orange Flower/Blossom Water. If you are not yet familiar with this ingredient, prepare to fall in love. I just think of Ladurée’s Fleur d’ Oranger macaron and I fall into fits of sweet distress. I digress: in essence, don’t skip the Orange Flower Water. You can find it online or at any middle eastern/ international grocer.


5 or 6 valencia oranges

2 tbs. butter

3/4 cup dark sugar (I used muscovado)

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

splash of brandy

5 eggs (separated)

3/4 cups  white sugar

2 tbs orange zest

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup muscat (or other sweet white wine)

2 1/2 tbs. orange flower water

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp.  cream of tarter

Preheat oven to 350°F

Peel oranges and slice into rounds about 1/4″ thick, discarding seeds and pit

Put butter, brown sugar, cardamom and brandy into an 8 or 9″ round springform pan and place in the oven till the butter is melted. (you could also melt the butter in the microwave and pour over the other ingredients)

Stir it the melted butter mixture with a spoon to ensure it is well combined

Line the slice oranges at the bottom of the pan, placing the slices as close together as possible to form a sort-of lattice and then set the pan aside

In a large mixing bowl, using either stand or hand mixer, beat the egg yolks with half of the white sugar for about 2 mins

Beat in the ornage zest

Slowly whisk in the olive oil in drops

Then whisk in the wine, juice and orange flower water

In a separate bowl sift together flour and salt then beat this dry mixture into the wet ingredients until well incorporated

In a separate bowl, preferably metal, beat egg whites until soft peaks begin to form then beat in the cream of tartar till the whites hold soft peaks

Add in the rest of the white sugar to the egg whites and beat till stiff peaks form

Stir 1 cup of the egg whites into the cake batter,  then gently fold the rest of the whites in to the  batter

Pour the cake batter over the oranges in the prepared cake pan. Drop the pan from about a 3″ height onto the counter to get rid of air bubbles. Do this about 3 times.

Bake for 20 mins then reduce your oven temprature and bake for another 20 mins or until fork tines or toothpick come out clean

Turn the over off, cover the cake witha round of parchment and leave in the oven for 10 mins

Remove from oven and leave to cool on cooling rack. The cake is likely to pull away fro the sides of the pan– I ran a knife around the edges to ensure there was no sticking

et voilà! Enjoy (with a healthy dollop of rasberry whipped cream)!

About Natasha

Word- and dough-smith. Girl in search of "the illumination, that ecstatic flash, from which truth emerges".


  1. Michelle P

    Yum!! I am also obsessed with cardamom, can’t wait to try this. Please share your recipe for your infamous Guinness cupcakes too 😉 Looking forward to more culinary adventures with you the next time you’re in DC!

    • Michelle, Isn’t cardamom just amazing? I will have to post the tarte aux pommes recipe very soon as it uses cardamom and would be quite perfect for christmas! And your wish is my command: chocolate guiness cupcakes coming very soon indeed! x Natasha

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