Sourdough Orange Upside Down Cake

Move over Pineapple Upside Down Cake, this Sourdough Orange Upside Down Cake is a refreshing, citrusy take on the beloved classic. This cake is baked with whole candied oranges on the bottom, with a thick tequila-orange caramel that bakes up into a sweet sticky topping. Herradura Ultra Añejo Tequila adds notes of toasted almond, caramel and honey that perfectly finishes this show-stopping cake.

Sponsored by Tequila Herradura 

Sourdough Orange Upside Down Cake

I absolutely love upside-down cakes because they are so easy to make. No need to fuss with frosting, these cakes are baked in a pan with the topping, usually fruit, under the batter. As the cake bakes, the fruit juices thicken into a gooey caramel. The cake is then flipped to reveal a decorative and delicious topping that would look at home as the centerpiece of any dessert table.

This recipe is brought to you by my friends at Tequila Herradura. Crisp and fresh, Herradura Ultra Añejo Tequila is going to be my go to Spring and Summer drink. With notes of cooked agave, caramel, honey and toasted almonds it’s also perfect for adding rich flavors to desserts, especially this Sourdough Orange Upside Down Cake. 

Baking with a sourdough discard

Sourdough discard adds a nuanced flavor that balances the syrupy sweetness of Orange Upside Down Cake. Since you are not using it as the main leavening agent in this recipe, your sourdough starter does not need to be activated and can be used straight from the fridge. If you’re using sourdough discard that’s been in the fridge for weeks it will add a more distinctive flavor to your cake, which you won’t get when using a freshly fed starter. Both will work for this recipe but you’ll get different results.

Love Sourdough Cakes? Try these recipes!

Here’s what you’ll need! 

  • Oranges – Try to use medium-sized oranges for this recipe so you have more room to layer them for your topping, blood oranges add a decorative flair, but if they are not in season feel free to substitute with regular oranges
  • All-purpose flour – The low protein content of all-purpose flour imparts a fluffy texture to this cake, I would not recommend substituting another type of flour for this bake
  • Almond flour – Adds a lovely texture and softness to the crumb, feel free to substitute any other nut flour 
  • Eggs – Adds aeration, lift and structure
  • Baking soda – The main leavening agent, helps the cake rise as it bakes
  • Sourdough discard – Adds flavor and keeps the cake moist and fresh for days longer 
  • Butter – Imparts a rich flavor and an even sturdy crumb
  • Olive oil – Cakes made with 100% butter tend to be heavier and denser in texture, a little bit of oil imparts lightness and moisture to the crumb
  • Salt – Enhances sweetness and flavors of the cake
  • Sugar – Adds sweetness to both topping and cake in addition to tenderizing the crumb, changing the amount of sugar added to the cake batter may affect the texture of your cake 
  • Milk – Tenderizes the crumb and adds richness to the cake
  • Herradura Ultra Añejo Tequila – Adds notes of cooked agave, caramel, honey and toasted almonds in orange topping, baking completely cooks out the alcohol in this cake so you’ll be left with the pure, clean flavor of tequila 

How to make a show-stopping upside down cake

Whisk eggs until foamy

Beating your eggs until light and foamy will ensure your cake has a light and fluffy texture. While I am an advocate for hand mixing ingredients, you really need an electric mixer for this bake to succeed 

Thinly slice your oranges

A mandolin is the best tool for slicing your orange segments. You’ll get uniform slices that will cook at the same rate and slice beautifully once baked. If you must, use an extremely sharp serrated knife and discard any slices that are too thick. 

We’ll be using the whole orange for this bake, yes even the skin! But don’t worry, candying the slices will get rid of any residual bitterness.

Brush your baked cake with excess syrup

Save any leftover candied orange slices to fill any areas of your topping that may have been disturbed while baking. Save a little bit of your orange syrup and brush it on top of your cake for a shiny show-stopping finish. 

Let’s make Sourdough Orange Upside Down Cake 

Special equipment: 

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Sourdough Orange Upside Down Cake

  • Author: Make It Dough
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: One 9-inch Cake 1x


This Sourdough Orange Upside Down Cake is a refreshing, citrusy take on the beloved classic. This cake is baked with whole candied oranges on the bottom, with a thick tequila-orange caramel that bakes up into a sweet sticky topping. Herradura Ultra Añejo Tequila adds notes of toasted almond, caramel and honey that perfectly




2 oranges, thinly sliced

1 blood orange, thinly sliced

226 g (1 cup) water

200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar

28 grams (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing cake pan

28 grams (2 tbsp) Herradura Ultra Añejo Tequila


120 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour

60 grams (1/2 cup) almond flour

5 grams (3/4 tsp) baking powder

5 grams (3/4 tsp) kosher salt

2 eggs

Zest of 1 orange

200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar

70 grams (5 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened

42 grams (3 tbsp) olive oil

75 grams (1/3 cup) milk

80 grams (1/3 cup) sourdough discard


Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F. Brush a 9-inch cake pan with softened butter and set aside.

Slice the oranges: Using a mandolin or a sharp knife cut the oranges crosswise into ⅛ to ¼-inch thick slices (discard any pieces that are too thick).

Make the topping: Combine water and granulated sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Gently add orange slices into sugar syrup and simmer at low heat for 10 minutes or until the peels begin to appear translucent. Using a slotted spoon, move orange slices to a plate.

Continue heating sugar syrup at medium heat for 20 minutes or until noticeably thickened. If your syrup begins to bubble wildly, turn the heat down to low and continue cooking for the remainder of the time. Stir in butter and Herradura Ultra Añejo Tequila.

Assemble topping: Set aside ¼ cup of the tequila orange syrup. Pour the remaining syrup into the prepared cake pan. Arrange candied orange slices decoratively in the bottom of your cake pan.

**Save any extra orange slices to fill any bare spots on your cake after it has baked. . 

Make the batter: Whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder and kosher salt until no clumps remain. Set aside.

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the eggs until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. Add orange zest and sugar and continue beating until well incorporated. Beat butter, oil, sourdough discard and milk into egg mixture until no traces of discard remain.

Fold ⅓ of the flour mixture into batter just until no traces of dry flour remain. Alternate adding milk and flour mixture into your batter, ending with the flour mixture and mixing only until no traces of flour remain.

Bake: Pour your batter into your prepared cake pan, being careful not to disturb your orange topping. Bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Move the cake pan to a wire rack and let the crumb set for 10 minutes.

Enjoy: Turn your cake out onto a serving platter. Add extra orange slices to fill in any bare spots on your cake. Using a pastry brush, brush the excess orange syrup on your cake, this will result in a shiny top!

Let the cake cool for 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.


  • Don’t let the cake cool completely in the pan or your topping may get stuck.
  • Store any leftover slices in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I like to let my cake slices warm to room temperature before eating.
  • When in doubt, always use the weight measures over volume measures
Pin this recipe!


Leave a Reply