How to make chocolate-and-orange upside-down tea cake, with orange whipped cream

So much more than marmalade – our kitchen garden cook Melanie Johnson finds delicious things to do with oranges.

It’s the time of year when the brightest produce isn’t to be found in the kitchen garden, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the sweetness of orange groves further afield – a reminder that fresh flavours are just around the corner.

Chocolate-and-orange upside-down tea cake, with orange whipped cream

Serves 4


  • 2–3 oranges (including zest)
  • 100g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 85g brown sugar
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 1tspn vanilla-bean paste
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1tspn baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200ml buttermilk (or simply add lemon juice to milk and leave for 30 minutes)
  • Whipping cream and icing sugar to serve


Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4. Prepare a 20cm (8in) loose-bottomed cake tin by greasing with melted butter and lining the base with greaseproof paper – then grease the paper, too.

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Grate the zest from the oranges, ensuring there isn’t any white pith. Cut the remaining peel and outer pith from the orange flesh and, using your sharpest knife, cut them into the thinnest slices you can manage. Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly overlapping, in the base of the cake tin. Reserve the juices from your board for the whipped cream.

Cream the butter, brown and caster sugars together in a large bowl. Once they come together, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla-bean paste. Mix well and introduce half the orange zest.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add a third of these dry ingredients to the creamed butter/sugar/egg mixture, then add half the buttermilk, followed by a third of the flour mix, the second half of the buttermilk and then the final third of the flour – mix well between each addition.

Pour the cake batter over the oranges in the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile, whip the cream into soft peaks and stir in some icing sugar, to your taste, along with orange zest and a little of the orange juice. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Take the cake out of the oven and invert onto a wire rack while still hot, peeling the paper back gently. Serve warm with whipped cream. The cake will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container.

More ways with oranges

tea cakeSuper-simple orange salad

This simple yet delicious salad is made by combining equal amounts of chopped avocado and orange, then stirring through some rocket leaves. Season well and drizzle with olive oil and apple-cider vinegar. Serve as a side with seared tuna steaks.

Easy orange pudding

Cut the peel and pith from oranges, chop into segments and arrange them in dishes. Top with a mixture of chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios and almonds. Melt equal amounts of butter and brown sugar in a pan until sticky to make a speedy caramel sauce. Drizzle over the oranges and nuts and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Fennel-and-orange salad

Combine equal amounts of chopped fennel and orange segments in a large bowl. Stir through pomegranate and chia seeds, then drizzle with olive oil and white-wine vinegar. Serve with toasted sourdough.