My name is Mary.  I love cooking healthy food for family & friends, making specialty coffee, wine tasting, finding great beauty products, traveling, and organizing everything. I document it all here! xo

blood orange upside down cake {v+gf}

blood orange upside down cake {v+gf}

vegan and gluten free blood orange upside down cake

We had our friend Jack over for dinner the other night, and this cake was such a hit, we all had seconds (excluding the pieces we had earlier that day when recipe testing). This blood orange upside down cake is one of my favorite recipes of the year—yes it’s only February, but still, I’m really excited about it. You can throw it all together in about 15 minutes, plus baking and cooling time. The color of the blood oranges is festive enough to make for your sweetie on Valentine’s Day (perhaps a romantic date night in to beat the restaurant crowd)…but you never really need a reason to bake a cake, do yah?

vegan and gluten free blood orange upside down cake

Instead of making whipped cream, save time and serve each slice with a dollop of coconut yogurt or any yogurt of choice…don’t hesitate on this decision, it’s the right choice. I like the “natural” flavor Coyo yogurt; or choose any plain yogurt of choice, ideally with limited ingredients and additives. I will note, I’m not a fan of the So Delicious brandit tastes fake to me and the consistency is too watery. If you do have the time, go ahead and serve it with whipped cream.

vegan and gluten free blood orange upside down cake
vegan and gluten free blood orange upside down cake

This recipe was inspired by the ingenious Golubka Kitchen, who had the brilliant idea of using blended dates and water as the main sweetener in this blood orange upside down cake recipe. I swapped the brown rice flour for almond flour, because it tends to retain moisture better. If you have a nut allergy, you can use the brown rice flour instead. I also added arrowroot to prevent the cake from being too crumbly and falling apart in the absence of eggs or any other binder. I cut down on the orange juice and added some oat milk for moisture and creaminess.

Let me know if you made this recipe and how it turned out in the comment section below!

Bon appetit!

x Mary

vegan and gluten free blood orange upside down cake
vegan and gluten free blood orange upside down cake


  • parchment paper

  • measuring spoons and cups

  • optional scale

  • 9-inch springform pan

  • large mixing bowl

  • whisk

  • upright blender

  • zester

  • sharp knife

  • cutting board 

vegan and gluten free blood orange upside down cake
vegan and gluten free blood orange upside down cake

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

Gluten-free, vegan, soy-free

Serves: 6-8

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

Prep time:

Cook time:

  • 1 cup cornmeal or polenta (175g)
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour (150g)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot (40g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • zest of 2 organic oranges
  • 10 pitted Medjool dates covered in warm water for ten minutes (reserve liquid)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice from zested oranges
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened oat, almond or other plant milk
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil, plus more for greasing the edges of the cake pan
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 -3 mixed variety of blood oranges and cara cara or navel, sliced into thin rounds
  • Unsweetened coconut yogurt or yogurt of choice, or freshly whipped cream to serve

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Cover the pitted dates in warm water and soak for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt and orange zest.
  2. Then, in an upright blender, combine the dates, plus 1/2 cup of their reserved liquid, orange juice and plant milk; blend on high until smooth. Add in the apple sauce, coconut or olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Pulse lightly until combined. Next, whisk together the wet and dry ingredients.
  3. Use the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan to measure and cut a neat circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan. Generously grease the edges of the pan with coconut oil or [plant-based] butter. Place the sliced oranges at the bottom of the pan, on top of the parchment paper. Then, pour the batter into the pan, using a spatula to make it even, and cook for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Then, run a knife along the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Release the springform and invert the cake onto a plate. Slice and serve with coconut yogurt (or yogurt of choice) or freshly whipped cream.

//Recipe Notes//

  • I served the cake with coconut yogurt and preferred this to whipped cream, but it’s up to you!

  •  If you want the top of your cake to look glossy, heat 1/4 cup of apricot jam in a pan until runny. Use a basting brush to brush the warm jam on top of the cake.  

vegan and gluten free blood orange upside down cake
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