Cast Iron Orange Olive Oil Upside Down Cake

A moist, orangey cake made on the barbecue, in a fire, or in the oven. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake, olive oil, orange, spice, upside down
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Author Laura Bashar


  • 3 Valencia oranges, divided. Thinly slice 2 of the oranges. With the third, grate 2 tablespoons zest and squeeze 1/4 cup juice.
  • 1 & 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed


  1. In a barbecue chimney light up 24 briquettes. For oven, pre-heat to 350 degrees F. 

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. 

  3. In a larger bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, yogurt, orange juice, orange zest, extra virgin olive oil and eggs until combined. 

  4. Place a 10-inch cast iron Dutch oven over all the coals and melt the butter. When bubbling, stir in the brown sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until dissolved. (Use a 10-inch cast iron pan with 2-inch sides if following directions for an oven-baked cake. You can melt the butter on the stove or in the oven.)

    Melted butter and brown sugar for Cast Iron Orange Olive Oil Upside Down Cake
  5. Spread the sugar evenly over the bottom of the pot (or pan) arrange the orange slices over the butter-sugar mixture in whatever pattern you desire, and remove the pot from the heat. 

    Adding orange slices to Cast Iron Orange Olive Oil Upside Down Cake
  6. In batches, mix the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture and stir until combined. Spoon the batter evenly over the orange slices. 

  7. Cover the pot - or pan in the oven. If cooking on a barbecue/campfire, place 9 coals underneath and 15 coals on top. Bake the cake for 30 minutes or more, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

  8. Allow the cake to cool, uncovered for 10 minutes in the pot - or pan. 

    Cast Iron Orange Olive Oil Upside Down Cake resting in pot after baking in barbecue
  9. Run a knife blade along the sides of the cake to ensure a clean removal. 

    Cast Iron Orange Olive Oil Upside Down Cake done, resting in pan.
  10. Place a serving plate over the Dutch oven (or pan) and carefully invert the cake.

  11. Remove the Dutch oven (or pan) and allow the cake to cool to room temperature, about 30 more minutes, before serving.

Recipe Notes

I didn't find the spices very pronounced in this recipe. If you like the flavor and aroma of nutmeg, cinnamon, and/or cardamom, you might want to up the quantities slightly. 

If you use Valencia oranges, you don't need to peel them before slicing. The peel becomes almost marmalade-like after cooking in the butter and sugar. You can substitute navel oranges for Valencia. But if you do, because navel oranges have thicker skin, peel them first before putting the slices in the pot/pan.