How to Make Upside-Down Caramelised Orange Cake With Ricotta

An Italian Inspired Delight for Your Morning Coffee

orange and ricotta upside down cake

Orange and ricotta cake in endless variations is a famous desert around Italy, especially in the south where orange trees grow everywhere, not only in orchards, and cheesemaking has become a true art over the millennia.

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I often look for inspiration in the incredible Italian cuisine when cooking or baking, and each time I congratulate myself for the result is always exceptional.

I tried two versions for this orange and ricotta cake: for one, I sprinkled sugar on the bottom of the baking mould and placed the orange slices over it to caramelise them during baking. The result was a delicious cake (flattened as I turned it upside down) that did not live to see the next day! It was just a Saturday cake devoured after lunch by my extended family.

orange and ricotta cake

I placed the batter first and decorated it with orange slices and a handful of blueberries for the second cake. This one raised slightly more than the first version and maintained the shape.

Although the taste and aroma were similar, the oranges turned out differently on each cake. As they caramelised in the first one, the orange slices were soft and moist. The orange peel dried slightly in the other cake, where the slices did not sink enough into the batter and became a tad chewy.

Based on this experience, I decided to upload the upside-down version of this orange and ricotta cake as it turned out more successful.

One particularity of Italian baking is that the time spent in the kitchen is always minimal. The Italian cakes generally require a handful of ingredients and little time for preparation. The oven takes care of the baking for the next hour, and the baker enjoys their time living la dolce vita.

Vacations Made Easy

Rarely a recipe would be so complex as to confine you to the kitchen for hours on end. Check my pear and almond chocolate cake, too, should you need more convincing!

Add rapidity in preparation to amazing delectable taste and you will see why I absolutely adore Italian cuisine! What is your excuse not to start baking an orange and ricotta upside-down cake right away?

orange and ricotta upside down cake ready baked

Ingredients for orange and ricotta upside-down cake:


Plain flour (organic, white)


Coconut sugar

Organic oranges

Orange extract

Baking powder



Start by lining the baking mould. Mine is 26 cm in diameter and has a removable base. Still, lining the walls is always tricky and requires some help. Little hands will do and become quite the expert after a few tries! If you don’t have a helper waiting patiently to lick the bowl, perhaps oiling the mould’s walls before fitting the parchment will do the job.

Before starting the preparation, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Mix the yolks with sugar, orange zest, juice, and orange extract until the volume doubles or trebles. Add the ricotta cheese and mix again.

Batter the whites until they keep the shape when you remove the batters and combine them with the above composition.

Add the flour (previously sieved) and baking powder and mix with ample movements. The batter needs to remain airy so it does not flatten during baking.

Sprinkle a few tablespoons of sugar into the tray and place orange slices over. It is how the oranges caramelise during baking. To control the moisture degree, sprinkle some semolina; it will absorb the excess humidity without interfering with the caramelisation process.

Bake for fifty minutes to one hour (longer if batter sticks to the toothpick when you do the test). When ready, cool slightly, then place a large plate over the mould and turn upside down with a swift movement and allow to cool completely. Use oven gloves and clear the area around you for this manoeuvre; any little helpers present should only watch and learn a baking trick!

Sprinkle powdered sugar when cool and slice as desired. Enjoy the upside-down caramelized orange and ricotta cake with an indulgent cup of coffee.

Buon appetito!

Upside down orange and ricotta cake

Upside-Down Caramelized Orange and Ricotta Cake

Bake a moist, flavour infused, and absolutely delectable cake of Italian origins, easy to make and perfect for your morning coffee!
5 from 28 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10


  • Round baking mould Ø26cm
  • Mixing bowl
  • Large spatula
  • Kitchen scale


  • 4 pcs eggs organic
  • 250 g plain flour sieved
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 120 g coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar to caramelise the oranges
  • 1-2 tbsp semolina to absorb extra moisture from oranges
  • 1 organic orange juice+zest
  • 1 organic orange sliced
  • 250 g ricotta
  • 1 tsp orange extract/liquour
  • 1 pinch salt sea/rock


  • Line the baking mould with parchment paper.
    baking mould lined up with parchment paper
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  • In a bowl, mix the egg yolks with sugar, orange zest + juice and orange extract. Use an electric mixer and batter until the quantity trebles, and the composition becomes creamy.
  • Add the ricotta and incorporate using a spatula.
  • Separately, batter the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they keep the shape when you remove the beaters.
  • Add the egg whites to the composition and use a spatula to mix slowly from the bottom to the top until nicely incorporated.
  • Mix the baking powder with the flour. Add it to the composition spoon by spoon while mixing carefully, aiming not to flatten the batter.
  • Sprinkle uniformly three tablespoons of coconut sugar on the bottom of the baking mould. Cut an orange into 1 cm slices and place them over the sugar. During baking, the oranges will caramelise and infuse the cake with their flavour.
  • Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of semolina over the orange slices to help absorb the excess moisture while baking.
  • Pour the batter over the oranges and gently level it.
  • Bake for 50 minutes to one hour until golden brown and perform the toothpick test to check the cake is baked thoroughly. As each oven bakes differently, you might need to cover the mould with a tray for the first 20 minutes to avoid burning. During the first 20 minutes of baking, do not open the oven's door!
  • When ready, remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 2-3 minutes, then place a large plate/cake stand over the mould, hold firmly and turn it upside down. Wear oven gloves and be careful not to burn your hands during this step!
    upside down orange cake
  • Let the cake cool completely on a rack, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  • Slice the cake and serve it preferably with a steamy cup of coffee or cappuccino. Enjoy!
    slice of upside down orange and ricotta cake


This is a cake rich in flavours; using organic ingredients will ensure that. If it is not always possible, at least choose organic oranges to avoid ingesting pesticides and wax from the peel. 
Always wash the oranges thoroughly with warm water and dish soap before use; rinse well.
You can keep the upside down orange and ricotta cake in the fridge for up to three days.
I have no idea how it fares frozen as this can never happen at my house! And, honestly, where is the fun in baking once in a few months and freezing a cake? 😄
Keyword orange cake, ricotta cake, upside down orange cake

An Italian Inspired Delight for Your Morning Coffee

The World Is An Oyster

Working as a journalist during university was pretty exciting. But landing a cruise ship job barely a year in my new graduate career was something else! Overnight, I moved from an already exhilarating job to an even better one. One that would allow me to wake up every morning in a different country. What more can a twenty-something wish for? The fact that I was fluent in a few languages helped. It made it easier to obtain the position I was seeking at the Shore Excursions department. Apart from dispatching tours in the morning and selling tickets in the evening, I would spend nearly every day on different trips. I did this a few years, spending half a year onboard and about two months at home. I enjoyed it immensely. I met fascinating people from all over the Globe and collected memories to last me a lifetime. Not to mention that I received a salary for seeing all those magnificent places the Earth has to offer! In an ideal world, everybody should live as they want. For me, that would translate into travel, then travel some more and keep travelling!

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49 Responses

  1. Cori says:

    This looks so good! I have pinned it to be able to come back to and make it. I just love all your recipes!

  2. 5 stars
    That looks amazing, love oranges and ricotta

  3. Natalie says:

    5 stars
    Lovely cake. Perfect for summer. I love added ricotta and you used coconut sugar. I’m making it this weekend. Thanks!

  4. Toni says:

    5 stars
    This is so good! Love the combination of flavors!

  5. Kari says:

    5 stars
    This looks so delicious with the powdered sugar sprinkled over it! I love cakes with ricotta, as they always turn out so moist (I hate dry cakes), so I am bookmarking this one!

  6. Lexa says:

    5 stars
    I love any baked goods with orange! This upside-down cake was amazing! So moist and fluffy!

  7. Anaiah says:

    5 stars
    Love all the flavors in this upside down cake. The orange and ricotta pair perfectly together. Such a yummy breakfast idea!

  8. I had never heard of coconut sugar. I would love to try this out. This upside down cake looks amazing and delicious.

  9. Lyssa says:

    Wow! I had never thought of making an orange ricotta cake before. This looks amazing! What an awesome creation. I guess I will have to make it now!

  10. Addie says:

    5 stars
    I loved the bold orange flavor! This cake is stunning!

  11. 5 stars
    This looks SO GOOD. I totally need to try this.

  12. Aditi Jain says:

    5 stars
    This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing

  13. 5 stars
    That looks amazing! I love ricotta and oranges are so sweet right now, the perfect summer dessert in my book.
    Thank you for sharing.

  14. Audrey says:

    5 stars
    I can’t wait to try this- such a beautiful looking cake.

  15. Gloria says:

    5 stars
    I love using ricotta in baking and cooking. Tihs is a great dessert for a bbq party. I would love to serve it for brunch too.

  16. Anna says:

    5 stars
    This was my first time baking a cake with ricotta, and oh my gosh, it’s the most delicious thing ever! The cake had such a delicate, moist and tender crumb and it tasted delicious!

  17. Kalin says:

    5 stars
    This looks beautiful! I love the oranges on top

  18. 5 stars
    I love the look of this dessert! I often cook with different fruits, but I rarely use oranges. I will definitely have to try this recipe. The combination of blueberries and orange sounds like it would work great together. Will try this soon!

  19. Sarah says:

    Ooh this looks delicious! I have never had an orange upside down cake before. Yum!

  20. This looks so good and delicious and easy to make. Thanks for sharing.

  21. 5 stars
    Looks fantastic and cannot wait to make it. Still have some oranges on my tree. How do you think it will turn out with grapefruits?

  22. 5 stars
    The upside-down cake looks amazing. I never thought to use oranges or ricotta in one. I’ll have to give the recipe a try.

  23. Fabiana says:

    5 stars
    With this recipe you really had me! Perfect and delicious, can’t wait to try it

  24. Gabriela Herrera says:

    5 stars
    Your recipes never, ever dissapoint. Thank you so much.

  25. Andra says:

    5 stars
    This looks soooo good! I definitely will try this one. I love upside-down cakes and I love oranges! Thank you for this 😀

  26. Sue says:

    5 stars
    This combination of flavors and textures sounds irresistible! I think this would go fast in my house! Must try!

  27. 5 stars
    I love making cakes using ricotta, they are always so light. The caramelized oranges must add a wonderful flavour!

  28. Emily Flint says:

    5 stars
    The carmelizing on the oranges sounds magnificent! I can’t wait to make this cake and I also like how you line your pans with paper on the edges, I’m going to try that trick as well!

  29. 5 stars
    Yum yum gimme some! I love all things ricotta. This looks super delicious.

  30. Jeannie says:

    5 stars
    a refreshing treat with the addition of oranges! I need to try this recipe 🙂

  31. Nora says:

    5 stars
    Looks delicious! Have to try it out soon! Thank you for sharing!

  32. 5 stars
    Three amazing words: oranges, cake and caramelized! This looks gorgeous and delicious!

  33. Karletta says:

    5 stars
    Love oranges and i love ricotta … this one looks like a winner

  34. Shannon says:

    This sounds so interesting, looks amazing. I am used to pineapple upsidedown cake of course, but this looks new and refreshing! Will definitely have to give it a try, thank you for posting!

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