So whilst I write this, I’m a little distracted because Kelis is (randomly) on Sunday Brunch and all I can think about is milkshakes (she could teach you, but she’d have to charge).

The fact that I’ve sat and watched about an hour and a half of Sunday Brunch is probably quite indicative of the fact that I am procrastinating beyond all belief this weekend (I even decided to climb Arthurs Seat yesterday morning for no good reason). Of course, this meant that clearly I also needed to do some baking. Conveniently it’s also World Baking Day today – it’s like all the excuses you need in life to bake. If indeed you need any excuse, that is.

There were a lot of options floating around my head for what to make, but I settled for something I’ve never actually made before – an Upside-Down Cake. The original idea had been for it to be made with blood oranges, but I couldn’t find any in my local fruit and veg shop (or the supermarket down the road), so going with my laid back theme I opted for ordinary oranges instead, but to make it a little more fun it was going to be a boozy cake.

Orange Upside-down cake

For a first attempt at an upside-down cake I don’t think it went too badly – I may have had a slight issue with trying to caramelise the top, ending with one part coming out a little ‘enthusiastically toasted’, but apart from that I really enjoyed the results. There’s some sweetness from the cake (which also has a great colour, thanks for the light brown sugar), but also a little bitterness from the gin and the orange rind.

If you’re looking for a little procrastination in the days ahead, then I suggest that you give this cake a go. The oranges were probably a bit wet, so mine took longer than expected in the oven, but the end result is delicious none-the-less.

Happily, this combination of booze, fruit and baking makes it perfect as my entry for Janine’s Baking with Spirit challenge – this month it has a rather fruity feel.

Orange and gin Upside-down cake

Gin and Orange Upside-Down Cake

This recipe is an original to The Usual Saucepans, with the fruit part worked out from a little bit of searching online (and then partially ignoring most of it). The weights are a little odd in the sponge, but this is because I use my cake ingredients in ratio to the weight of the eggs, which makes for a more balanced bakes – my eggs were 110g combined.


for the fruit:
1 orange
50g sugar
150ml water
50ml gin

for the sponge:
2 large eggs
110g self raising flour
110g light brown sugar
110g unsalted butter
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp gin


Preheat the oven to 160C and line two 10cm springform cake tins with baking paper.

Start by slicing your orange into thin slices, you should get about ten from a normal-sized orange. In a pan melt the sugar into the water and then put on a low heat and add the oranges. Leave to simmer for about 10-12 minutes, adding in half the gin after about 5 mins. The oranges are done when the rind turns slightly translucent.

Whilst the oranges are simmer make the cake batter. To do this cream together the butter and the sugar, then add in the flour, eggs and (if it looks dry) the milk. Beat this with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes and then drop in the gin. Continue to beat for another few minutes until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.

Take your translucent oranges from the pan and layer them into the bottom of the cake tins (I did one layer, but there’s nothing stopping you from doing two) and pat out a little of the excess moisture. Pour the cake batter in on top and then bake in the centre of the oven for 14-18 minutes, or until a skewer comes out cleanly.

Whilst the cakes are in the oven, return the cooking liquor to the heat and reduce it down to a syrup. You can either add the gin at the point where the mixture starts to thicken or to the syrup at the end, depending on whether you want the alcohol to burn off.

When the cakes are baked take them out and let them sit in the tins for a few minutes to start cooling. Take them out of the tins and turn them upside-down on a cooling rack (so the fruit is at the top). Pour your syrup mixture over the top and allow it to set before serving.