Living Vegan In Charlotte, NC

Mandarin Orange Upside-Down Cake

Mandarin Orange Upside Down Cake

Friday marked the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Horse.

I wanted to cook something special to celebrate, but, sadly, my Chinese cooking repertoire is rather limited.

As was also my pantry – at least as far as Chinese ingredients go!  Beans, check.  Lentils, check.  Garam masala, check. But rice noodles – five spice – even fresh broccoli for a stir-fry?  Nope, nope, and nope.  Heck, I was even running low on soy sauce!

Scanning my cupboards, I found a can of mandarin oranges.  Weren’t mandarin oranges considered symbols of prosperity and good fortune during the Chinese New Year?  I’d seen several recipes for mandarin orange upside-down cake, which seemed an intriguing take on pineapple upside-down cake.  The cake was a snap to veganize.  OK, so this wasn’t the most traditional of Chinese desserts – but under the circumstances, it was the best I could do.  And it turned out to be very yummy – moist, flavorful, with a gooey citrus and cinnamon topping.  Plus my kitchen smelled wonderful as the cake was cooking!


  • One 14 oz. can Mandarin Oranges
  • 4 Tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar or Jaggery
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising Flour
  • 1 cup unrefined Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Orange Extract
  • 1 tablespoon Vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • One cup Orange Juice
  • Cooking Spray or a little extra oil for the baking pan


Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly grease a 9″ cake pan (or spray lightly with Baker’s Joy).

Drain the mandarin orange slices in a colander.

Melt the Earth Balance in a small saucepan over low heat.  Add the brown sugar and cinnamon.  Stir constantly until the mixture forms a smooth glaze.

Pour the glaze into the cake pan, spreading it evenly.  Arrange the mandarin orange slices on top of the glaze in an appealing pattern.

Mandarin Orange Upside Down Cake Topping

Next, make the batter.

Combine flour and sugar.  Mix until well blended and any flour lumps are broken up.

Add the pure vanilla extract, pure orange extract, vinegar, and vegetable oil.

Pour the cup of orange juice over all and stir well.  Don’t over-mix.

Pour into the cake pan and bake at 350 for approximately 35 – 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown.

Mandarin Orange Upside Down Cake Cook Until Golden Brown

Let cool for approximately 30 minutes, then put a plate on top of the cake pan and quickly – you guessed it! – turn upside down.

Mandarin Orange Upside Down Cake Baked


  • Although I made this for the Chinese New Year, it is really a perfect wintertime cake.  With its orange and spice flavoring, it would be especially good at Christmas!
  • I used canned mandarin oranges because that’s what I had, but you could also use peeled sections of fresh mandarin oranges, and perhaps a tablespoon of fresh zest instead of the pure orange extract.
  • Speaking of extracts – please use the pure vanilla extract and pure orange extract, instead of the artificially flavored extracts.  Yes, the pure extracts are more expensive, but they taste so much better!  And no doubt they are better for you.
  • Instead of coffee, try this cake with a cup of hot tea!

Tagged as: , , , , , , ,

Categorised in: Desserts, Vegan Recipes

9 Responses »

  1. That looks good, I love the idea of upside down cakes!!

  2. This looks so unique – and delicious!

  3. Beautiful cake! It looks sooo sweet and moist–yum!

  4. I’ve made this cake, it came out so well, when cutting cake, is it good to warm cake through?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Creative Commons License
VegCharlotte - Living Vegan in Charlotte, NC by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
%d bloggers like this: