fat free opinions on a food centric life

Upside Down Cutie Cake

With nearly two years writing here, it’s only been recently that I’ve begun to discover other foodies in and around the San Diego area.  Although I’ve found several, it still amazes me when a new one pops up and I add it to my mental list of, I should create a section just for us in my sidebar.  Now, I’m sure there are lots of reasons we add a new link to our sidebars — or in some cases, a special page for links, but for me, it’s more about keeping it where I can see it.  Then it’s easier for me to visit.

You’re laughing, right?  Because I know lots of people use readers, and I have a few myself.  But for some reason, I’ve never gotten into the routine of actually using it and so I find myself flitting from one place to another without a care in the world.

It’s shameful, this gadabout lack of organization, but lovely things do come from it.  I’ll call it serendipitous that I happened onto Food Blogga’s recipe for Clementine Upside Down Cake the other day.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it since I’ve had a box of “Cuties” for longer than I’d like to admit, thinking they’d end up in marmalade.

Sure, like I’d make marmalade. Well, I thought I might, tempted by all the amazing citrus in the markets right now and a bundle of fresh vanilla beans I purchased not too long ago.

My grandmother used to make pineapple upside down cake in her black cast iron skillet, and it’s been years since I had a taste of that.  But I’ve always been more fond of tangerines than pineapple — especially canned pineapple, so the idea of sweet tangerine flavor soaked into a light cake sounded perfect.

Looks like the marmalade will have to wait a bit longer, because I just had to make this cake.

Upside Down Cutie Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
5 clementines, peeled, with white stringy pith removed, and sliced crosswise
1 cup flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons fresh clementine juice
2 teaspoons clementine zest
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place the citrus pieces in the melted butter and brown sugar...

Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in the microwave and pour in into a 9″ heart-shaped baking pan.  Sprinkle the brown
sugar over the butter and arrange the clementine slices in a decorative pattern.

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.

Fold the egg whites into the batter.

In a separate bowl beat egg yolks with sugar until creamy.  Add juice, zest, and vanilla extract, and beat well. Add the flour mixture gradually to the creamed mixture, and beat until well combined. Fold in the egg whites with a rubber spatula and pour cake mixture carefully over the fruit.  The pan will be very full.

Place on a baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake about 40-45 minutes, or until cake is golden and a wooden skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack about 10 minutes before running a blunt knife around edges of the pan to loosen the cake.

To invert, place a plate over the top of the cake and flip.  Carefully lift pan away fro the cake, making sure it is sliding form the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dusting of powdered sugar if you’d like.

Have fun with the design.


  • First, thanks, Susan for this recipe!  It traveled to a small Friday get together with a few very good friends, then back home where we nibbled and enjoyed the texture and flavor of this very nice cake.
  • I decided to forego the Kitchen Aid on this recipe and it’s actually doable.  Yes, I even whipped the egg whites by hand.  Granted, they don’t get as glossy or puffy as they do in the mixer, but it works!
  • The measurement for the heart-shaped pan is at it’s widest points, and although it’s extremely full, it didn’t rise over the sides.  I used a knife to disloged the cake from the top of the rim and it came right out of the pan when I inverted it.
  • I had trouble slicing my manderines.  They wanted to fall apart (which is what Cuties wants them to do…) so I continues to separate my section pieces and scatter them around.  Works just fine.
  • Have some fun with the citrus — blood oranges are out now, too.  That would be beautiful, although more tart.

Moist, sweet, and totally satisfying.