Skip to main content

Clementine & Cardamom Upside Down Cake

Published: Updated:
Celebrity recipe

1 Reviews

Total Time
1h 35m
Prep Time
Bake Time
1h 10m
Serves 12
Serves 12

About the bake

An upside-down cake is pretty much a staple of British home comfort. John Whaite shares with us his version flavoured with clementine and cardamom. The refreshing sour clementine flavour is lovely against the bittersweet caramel. The cardamom is there in the background of every mouthful making this cake a really mouth-watering recipe.
This recipe features in Comfort by John Whaite, published by Kyle Books. Photography by Nassima Rothacker.

10 ingredients8 steps


    1. Step 1

      Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3. Grease a 23cm round loose-bottomed cake tin and line with baking paper.

    2. Step 2

      For the topping, heat a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the sugar and allow it to melt and slowly turn to an amber caramel – the sugar touching the base of the pan will turn first, and slowly but surely the sugar on top will soon become liquid, too. Give the pan a little swirl as the sugar starts to melt. Once you have a dark caramel, pour it into the base of the prepared cake tin.

      Ingredients for this step

      • Billington's Unrefined Golden Caster Sugar (125g)
    3. Step 3

      Keeping them whole, peel the clementines, then cut them in half horizontally to retain that little hole in the top and bottom. Arrange the clementine halves, hump-side down, on the caramel.

      Ingredients for this step

      • Clementines (8)
    4. Step 4

      For the cake, cream together the butter and sugar until really soft – the butter should become very pale and the sugar will more or less dissolve into it. 

      Ingredients for this step

      • Unsalted butter (softened) (285g)
      • Billington's Unrefined Light Muscovado Sugar (285g)
    5. Step 5

      Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the flour, cardamom and salt and beat in just until incorporated to a smooth batter. I do all of this in my KitchenAid fitted with the paddle attachment, but an electric hand-held mixer will do. Pour the batter over the clementines and gently level it out, being careful not to displace the fruits. 

      Ingredients for this step

      • Eggs (free range, large, beaten) (5)
      • Allinson's Self Raising Flour (285g)
      • Ground cardamom (1 1/2 tsp)
      • Fine sea salt (1 tsp)
    6. Step 6

      Bake for 1 hour and up to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, apart from the odd crumb of cake made soggy by the oranges beneath. 

    7. Step 7

      Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate.

    8. Step 8

      For the glaze, simply combine the jam and water in a small pan and bring to the boil. Paint the glaze onto the cake with a pastry brush. The cake will keep for a few days in an airtight tin; it’ll actually be that bit better on day two.

      Ingredients for this step

      • Apricot Jam (4 tbsp)
      • Water (1 tbsp)


    • For the Topping

      • 125gBillington's Unrefined Golden Caster Sugar 
      • 8Clementines 
    • For the Cake

      • 285gUnsalted butter (softened) 
      • 285gBillington's Unrefined Light Muscovado Sugar 
      • 5Eggs (free range, large, beaten) 
      • 285gAllinson's Self Raising Flour 
      • 1 1/2 tspGround cardamom 
      • 1 tspFine sea salt 
    • For the Glaze

      • 4 tbspApricot Jam 
      • 1 tbspWater 

    Nutritional information per 130g serving

    • Energy 462cal
    • Fat 22g
    • of which Saturates 13g
    • Carbohydrates 60g
    • of which Sugars 43g
    • Protein 5.5g
    • Salt 0.75g

    1 Baker Ratings

    It was highly praised by everyone who tried it!

    Love this?
    0 bakers loved this!

    Let us know how you rate our bake?

    Baking Recipes and Baking Ideas

    Great recipes and more at

    Exclusive gifts and kits to take your baking to the next level Competitions and baker of the month prizes More than 1,000 recipes to try.