Upside Down Vegan Blood Orange Cake (GF)

This Upside Down Vegan Blood Orange Cake is moist, fluffy and tender and so easy to make. Packed with fresh and juicy fruits, and a wholesome nutty cake batter, this cake is a real showstopper.

I am obsessed with this cake and have made it at least three times in the last couple of weeks. An upside-down cake has been on my to-do list for a while now, but I was always put off as I thought there’d be too many steps involved. In reality, this cake is even easier than some of my loaf cakes and is especially easier than a layer cake as we only need to make one cake and the fruit works all the magic. This cake is sure to be a winner and if it’s no longer blood orange season when you read this, you can use regular oranges or even grapefruit, too.

A whole Upside Down Vegan Blood Orange Cake on a plate with a knife
Upside Down Vegan Blood Orange Cake

Why will I love this cake?

This cake is dreamy, it is:

  • Moist, tender and super fluffy
  • Fruity, fresh and zesty
  • Sweet, but not too sweet
  • Nutty and wholesome
  • Made with healthier ingredients
  • Naturally vegan and easily gluten-free and nut-free
  • Quick and easy to make
  • Delicious warm or cold
  • Great for afternoon tea or for dessert

If you already love the sound of this cake, then skip ahead to the recipe card below. Or, first let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.

What ingredients do I need?

The recipe is based on my lemon and orange loaf cakes as I love the rich, moist texture, and you can also find my favourite products in the “shop the recipe” section below.

  • Blood oranges: I just love the variety in colour that blood oranges bring to this cake, but any other oranges are also great or you can use grapefruit. Some oranges are for slicing, some for zesting and some for juicing. So you need about 6-7 in total.
  • Sugar: for the bottom (which becomes the top) of the cake, I use regular white caster sugar so that the colour of the oranges remains vibrant and for inside the cake batter I prefer coconut sugar which lends a richer flavour and the deeper golden colour. You can use white or golden caster sugar here, too.
  • Plant-based milk: you can use your favourite dairy-free milk for this recipe. My favourites are oat, almond or soya.
  • Light olive oil: adds a rich flavour and moist texture to this cake but you can also use sunflower oil or melted and cooled coconut oil.
  • Thick coconut yoghurt: this also adds fat and moisture which is really important for an egg-free cake so do not use low-fat or runny yoghurt. My go-to brand is Cocos Organic either natural, vanilla or the mango passionfruit here.
  • Plain flour: to keep this cake light and airy, use plain flour and you can use gluten-free 1:1 baking flour, where needed.
  • Ground almonds: these add fat and moisture to the loaf and add a great texture. if you are nut-free, use ground up sunflower seeds (do not swap for flaxseed or chia seed).
  • Baking powder and salt: for rise and flavour.

Is this gluten-free and nut-free?

This is easily gluten-free if you use your favourite gluten-free flour, ideally one you usually bake with and one that contains xantham gum to help bind the batter. To make this nut-free, swap the ground almonds for ground up sunflower seeds. Add whole sunflower seeds to a blender and process to fine meal.

How do I make this?

This cake is ready in just a few steps:

  • Slice the tops, bottoms and rind off 3-4 oranges: these are for the base.
  • Thinly slice these oranges: so they are fairly even in thickness.
  • Sprinkle sugar into the base of a greased and lined tin: I use a loose-bottomed 8-inch tin.
  • Lay the slcies of orange on top of the sugar: to cover the base of the tin.
  • Whisk together the wet ingredients for the cake: until smooth.
  • Add in the dry ingredients: and whisk again.
  • Pour the batter on top of the oranges: and smooth over the top.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, until golden: and well risen.
  • Cool for 30 minutes in the tin: and then carefully lift out.
  • Slice off the top if it has domed: so that the cake will sit flat.
  • Flip the cake over onto a plate: and peel off the parchment paper.
  • Allow to cool fully or enjoy warm: and you can add a drizzle of icing sugar, if you like.

How long will this last?

This cake does not last more than 24 hours in my house, but if you can resist, it will keep for 3-5 days in a sealed container in the fridge or for 1 month, wrapped well, in the freezer. Allow to defrost before enjoying.

Can I use other fruits?

Yes, you can swap the blood oranges for regular oranges, slices of clementine or satsuma or use grapefruit, too. I can imagine it will also work with stoned fruits like plums and peaches (watch this space!).

A fork with a piece of Upside Down Vegan Blood Orange Cake on next to a slice
Upside Down Vegan Blood Orange Cake

What other cakes can I make?

If you are looking for other fruity ideas, how about my:

A whole Upside Down Vegan Blood Orange Cake on a plate with a knife

Upside Down Vegan Blood Orange Cake

Yield: 9 (makes 8-inch cake)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This Upside Down Vegan Blood Orange Cake is moist, fluffy and tender and so easy to make. Packed with fresh and juicy fruits, and a wholesome nutty cake batter, this cake is a real showstopper.


For the Oranges:

  • 3-4 blood oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp caster sugar

For the Cake:

  • 2 oranges (120ml juice and zest of 2)
  • 120ml plant-based milk
  • 60ml light olive oil
  • 60g thick coconut yoghurt
  • 150g coconut sugar
  • 240g plain flour, sifted
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180ºC and line and grease an 8-inch round cake tin.
  2. For the base: sprinkle the sugar all over the base of the tin and arrange the orange slices all over it, filling any gaps with smaller pieces of orange.
  3. Make the cake: whisk together the orange juice, zest, milk, oil, yoghurt and sugar till smooth. Sift in the flour and add the ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Whisk to a smooth batter.
  4. Pour the cake batter all over the orange slice and smooth over the top.
  5. To bake: place in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes, covering with tin foil after 35-40 minutes, if needed. An inserted skewer will come out clean.
  6. Allow to cool for 30 minutes then slice off the top if it has domed before carefully inverting onto a plate. Peel off the parchment and allow to cool further.
  7. For best results, allow to cool fully as the top will continue to firm up and become gooey and sticky. Serve as it is or with yogurt, ice cream or icing sugar.
  8. To store: keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-5 days, enjoy at room temperature. You can freeze the cake for 1 month, wrapped well, and allow to defrost before eating.

Shop the recipe

Stay in touch

I look forward to hearing what you think of this Upside Down Vegan Blood Orange Cake so please let me know in the comments below and leave a star review above. If you do make this, I’d love to see so please tag me, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With blood orange love x

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello, can you please use cup version for American bakers?

    • HI there, I don’t have full translated versions for cups, but feel free to search for individual ones for the recipe! I find scales are a lot more accurate so I prioritise them. Enjoy the cake!

Leave a Reply

Skip to Recipe