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2.19.15 Blood Orange Cornmeal Upside Down Cake and a Big Thank You

2.19.15 Blood Orange Cornmeal Upside Down Cake and a Big Thank You

As a food blogger, I’m always on the lookout for ways to grow and improve my little blog into a means of inspiring our community. Luckily, I’m not alone in this endeavor. Madison is a city of great food bloggers, and last year, I was fortunate enough to meet a couple of them. Since then, every few weeks, Bowen of Bowen Appetit, Vicky of Things I Made Today, and I have been getting together to discuss our blogs, our lives, and of course, food.

In the beginning, we met mostly as a fun way to discuss the ins and outs of food bloggery, and help support each other’s culinary efforts. As our meetings continued, we found that there were a lot of benefits to helping each other. We could pool our resources, cross-promote, and even collaborate on future projects. And so, we’ve joined forces to create Wisconsin Whisk, a food blogger collective focused on sharing our love of cooking with our community. Our aim is to share our love of cooking with others by providing a variety of delicious recipes, cooking tips, and culinary insight to help inspire home cooks.

This week, you may have noticed that Madison Magazine has released it’s annual Best of Madison list. And as luck would have it (and by luck, we of course mean the tireless voting efforts of you, our wonderful readers), our three blogs have all been recognized this year as Best of Madison best local food blogs for 2015! We’re so happy to have such great readers - we couldn’t have done it without you! And to celebrate, we’ve got an extra special blog post for you. Instead of just one recipe, we’ve teamed up to bring you a whole three course menu! Each of us has contributed a delicious recipe to create one fabulous meal, once again proving that collaboration is definitely a good thing.

First Course

The first course is a beautiful Creamy Sundried Tomato Soup from Things I Made Today. A rich, deeply flavored soup made with sundried tomatoes, cream, and fresh herbs, it’s a perfect starter. Click the photo below for the full recipe on Things I Made Today.  

Second Course

For the second course, Bowen Appetit brings us this cozy dish of Roasted Sweet Potato, Chorizo and Mushrooms with Chipotle Quinoa. Click the photo below for the full recipe on Bowen Appetit 

Third Course

Hopefully, you’ve saved room for dessert, because I’m sharing this delicious Blood Orange Cornmeal Upside Down Cake. This is probably one of the most beautiful desserts I’ve ever baked, and on top of that, it's downright delicious. This recipe is the result of once again finding myself with way more citrus than I know what to do with, which tends to happen this time of year. Not that I’m complaining.


I especially love blood oranges, and am always on the lookout for any excuse to eat them. So when I was headed over to a friend’s house for dinner recently and needed to bring a dessert, I took one look at the bowl of blood oranges on my counter and knew what needed to be done. Blood oranges are delicious - that’s a fact. But they’re also incredibly beautiful, and I knew I had to showcase this in my dessert. So upside down cake it was. But not just any upside down cake. I swapped out the butter in the cake for olive oil, whose fruitiness I felt sure would compliment the oranges. I added some coarse ground cornmeal to the cake batter for texture and a more rustic feel. I whipped up some honey mascarpone cream to use as a topping. This wasn’t going to be your everyday cake, that’s for sure.

It’s always a risk to try out an experimental cake recipe on a friend who’s nice enough to have you over for dinner. Luckily, this cake did not disappoint. It came out of the oven a lovely golden brown, and soon after, I flipped it out to reveal the gorgeous crimson red orange slices baked into the top. The cake itself was wonderfully moist and flavorful, with a hint of orange and cinnamon from the caramel topping. It was perfect. I can only hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


Blood Orange Cornmeal Upside Down Cake

serves 8

Leaving the rind on the orange slices helps them keep their shape during cooking and also adds a slightly bitter note that compliments the sweetness of the caramel topping.

  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal (preferably coarse ground)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 large blood orange, thinly sliced and seeds removed
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup mascarpone, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp honey

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a larger bowl, mix together the olive oil, sugar, eggs, orange zest, and vanilla.

4. Add half the flour mixture to the olive oil mixture, followed by the milk, and the rest of the flour mixture, stirring just to blend after each addition.

5. To make the topping, heat a 9-inch cast iron pan over medium heat. Melt the butter, then add the brown sugar and cinnamon stirring to mix well. Cook 1-2 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Remove from heat and arrange sliced blood orange rounds in an even layer on top of the caramel. Pour the cake batter over and spread evenly over top.

6. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 -35 minutes - cake should be golden and a toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean.

7. Immediately after removing from the oven, place a plate over the pan, and carefully invert cake out of the pan and onto the plate (make sure to wear oven mitts - the pan will be very hot!)

9. To make the mascarpone cream, whip the heavy cream with a whisk or mixer until peaks form. Beat in the mascarpone and honey until smooth. Serve cake warm with a dollop of mascarpone cream.

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