Sangria Upside Down Cake

July 23, 2010 · 32 comments

filed in: Bakery,Desserts,Fruit

Sangria Upside Down Cake

Each member of my family has a different notion of the perfect cake. My husband adores dark chocolate cake with matching buttercream frosting. My adult son favors banana cake with thick penuche icing. And my own longstanding preference is for unfrosted, not too sweet, fruit flavored cakes, such as the Blueberry Cheese Danish and Tangerine Poppy Seed cakes found on this site. Since I was home alone this week I decided to satisfy my own tastes by experimenting with new approaches to the old-fashioned classic: upside down cake.

This recipe was inspired by the idea of pairing red wine cake, which I’ve seen everywhere in recent months, with mixed seasonal fruits in a light, brandy-flavored glaze. In other words, this upside down cake incorporates the ingredients of the refreshing summer drink of sangria. Please note that this recipe is quite flexible in terms of the seasonal fruits selected. While I have used oranges, plums, and kiwis here, other combinations of seasonal sweet and tart fruits would work equally well, including pineapple, peaches, apricots, berries, apples, and pears, among others. Also be aware that the predominant flavor of this cake is fruit, not vino. A fortified wine, such as port, might be a better option if you prefer a very pronounced wine flavor for this cake.


For the glaze:

2 tablespoons butter
1/2-1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon red wine
1-2 tablespoon brandy, triple sec, or other fruit-flavored liqueur

For the “topping”:

1 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced across into 1/4-inch thick discs
2 unpeeled plums, pitted and sliced into 1/4-inch thick wedges
2 small oranges, peeled and sliced across into 1/4-inch thick discs (removing any seeds as you go along)

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup red wine


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch round metal cake pan or oven-proof skillet.
  2. Combine all glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and briefly cook on a medium heat burner until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved (readers with a sweet tooth should use the larger amounts of sugar and brandy shown in the ingredients list above). Pour the glaze into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
  3. Arrange the sliced fruit on the glaze in the bottom of the baking pan, as shown in the photo above, starting in the center and working your way out. Set aside.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add 3/4 cup white sugar and beat for approximately one minute until light and well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for approximately two minutes after each addition. Stir in the lemon zest. Alternately, add one-half of the flour mixture and one-half of the red wine, beating for about 10 seconds on low after each addition. Repeat. Spoon the batter over the fruit in the baking pan.
  5. Bake for approximately 40-50 minutes or until a straw inserted in the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the baking pan for approximately 10 minutes and then invert it onto a serving plate. Serves 8-10.

print recipe print recipe

You might also like...

Leave a Comment

{ 31 them below or add one }

Sarah Smith April 1, 2011 at 10:21 pm

yummy! I am going to try this!


Sarah Smith March 29, 2011 at 6:42 pm

That looks so yummy, can’t wait to make it. I think I am going to do it for a house warming party next week.


Zazuza January 19, 2011 at 11:10 am

this cake looks incredible! and I think it’s also very tasty! I like the fruit layering!


ButterYum October 29, 2010 at 4:36 am

I’m dying here… your pics are amazing!


Diana August 23, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Wow, that’s all I can say. Wow!


Barbara August 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Many thanks to all. I had such fun assembling and baking this recipe. Of course, I did taste the wine a few times while making the cake, just to make sure it hadn’t gone “off,” an approach I highly recommend.


Judimae August 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Barbara, this cake looks fantastic. It has all the ingredients I so love. What better way to say summer than a delicious melange of fruits, sweet flavors, and wine. I love your blog and will follow with “Google Friend Connect”. Thanks for sharing your love of food with us. Judi


SMITH BITES August 17, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Oh my heck. Not only does this look delicious, but it is a real stunner!! Congrats!


A Canadian Foodie August 7, 2010 at 6:50 am

I think I’m in love! What an incredible summer recipe. FUN! FUN! FUN! And do you drink Sangria with it? One could! And I am now inspired to create a Sangria Sorbet of Ice cream. what a blast. The photos are gorgeous. The cake is gorgeous and it sounds really delicious. This is going in my “to make when I get home” file! Thank you! I apologize for not keeping up with my readings. We left for Paris mid July and are currently in Belgrade. We’ll be home sometime next week – and I cannot wait to be home. I love to get away, but going home is just as exciting. And this time I’ve have had so many fascinating culinary experiences that I cannot wait to practice in my kitchen at home! Valerie


Melanie August 5, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Your food and photography is utterly amazing! I’m so glad you asked me your Thesis question so I could find my way over here. I can’t wait to take a look around! I love the fresh, clean feel of your blog.


Mary August 4, 2010 at 12:30 pm

What a gorgeous and original creation. I love to visit here. You have fabulous recipes and I love the food you feature. It keeps me coming back. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary


Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog August 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm

As a sweet lover all cakes are welcome.. chocolaty, fruity…but never I’ve eaten one with sangria…so delicious idea!! A winey cake maybe isn’t for all but a fortified wine match perfect too…increasing the wine flavor. Cheers, Gera


Juliana August 2, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Beautiful cake…gorgeous pictures!


Barbara Bakes August 1, 2010 at 10:36 am

What a fun way to dress up an upside down cake.


Beth July 31, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Right up my alley. I love sangria and this cake looks delicious.


marla {family fresh cooking} July 27, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Barbara, this is summer all rolled up into one fabulous fruity cake. Your sangria twist is so interesting. You have such a creative way with ingredients, I just love it!


Suzanne Collier July 27, 2010 at 9:20 am

Kiwi, plums and oranges + booze. What a tempting and beautiful combination! I keep meaning to make a pineapple upside down cake, but this will be MUCH better and unique. I love unique. Excellent post and can’t wait to try the recipe and the recipe for the Tangerine Poppy Seed, too!


Barbara September 22, 2010 at 8:50 am

Pineapple upside down cake with rum would be pretty good. I was mulling over that one myself.


Megan July 26, 2010 at 4:17 pm

What a beautiful cake! I bet it was amazing!


Lana @ Never Enough Thyme July 26, 2010 at 9:44 am

Beautiful presentation! I especially love the variety and contrast in colors of the fruit.


Heather Davis July 26, 2010 at 6:19 am

Looks beautiful Barbara. Great way to use all that lovely fruit.


Amanda July 25, 2010 at 10:29 pm

This is beautiful Barbara. I love upside down cakes and have tried a few different kinds myself. I bet this tasted amazing, wish I was your neighbor!


Alisa July 25, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Upside down cakes are amazing and I just love the mix of fruits you’ve used here. I cant wait to try your brandy flavored glaze. Thanks for sharing this!


Arnold July 25, 2010 at 7:12 am

This looks pretty amazing, and fairly simple as well. Some of my children are coming for a visit in a few weeks time, maybe I will give something like this a try. If mine comes out just half as good as yours, I will amaze the kids.


Sarah July 25, 2010 at 3:41 am

This looks like such a fun time! Perfect for a girls’ get together or something of the sort. Sigh. I wish I had my girls from back home here in Malaysia to make this with and not have little people in household poke at it and say, “Ew, what’s that?” instead. Haha. Thanks for a recipe I’ll bookmark for the future.


Kate July 25, 2010 at 2:15 am

This sounds, and looks, absolutely WONDERFUL. I adore Sangria in the summer (well, any season really) and this is such a seasonally adaptable recipe! Thanks for sharing your culinary prowess!


hungryandfrozen July 25, 2010 at 1:33 am

I love the sound of this so much! Your instructions are really straightforward – I will definitely have to try this at some stage. Even though it’s a summery drink, all the fruit involved is pretty cheap and in season right now in wintery New Zealand which is good!


Irada July 24, 2010 at 5:48 pm

These look fantastic!


Cookin' Canuck July 24, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Absolutely brilliant! I love the idea of this recipe and it’s so pretty.


Katrina July 23, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Beautiful! And looks delicious!


Mags July 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm

What a fresh and beautiful looking cake!


{ 1 it below or add one }

Previous post:

Next post: