Winters can be cold and dark but one bright ray of sunshine is… citrus!

Anything tangy is my favourite type of dessert, something to balance sweetness. The Negroni (with Campari) and dark chocolate all have a bitter edge, but it is sweetened and lifted with the most delicious blood oranges.

Pretty easy to make and stunning as a centrepiece this upside-down cake will help you get through Winter a little easier this year.

If you can’t get your hands on blood oranges then Navel oranges, grapefruits or a mix of citrus will do nicely.

Makes:                  1 X 20cm round cake

Serves:                  8

Prep time:              30 min.

Bake time:             35 min.


Negroni caramel with blood oranges

Blood orange & dark chocolate cake


Negroni & Blood Orange Caramel


4                          Blood oranges
110 g                   Caster sugar
50 ml                   Negroni – equal parts Gin, Campari and Sweet Vermouth
40 g                     Unsalted butter


  1. Zest the blood oranges and set aside for the cake (see below).
  2. Peel the oranges of pith and use a sharp knife to segment them. Reserve all juice.
  3. Place a 20 cm nonstick frypan onto a medium heat and let the pan get hot.
  4. Make a direct caramel by adding one third of the caster sugar to the hot pan. Stir with a heat resistant spatula until the sugar has completely melted and has formed a dark amber caramel.
  5. Add a further third of the sugar to the pan and continue to cook.
  6. Once the sugar has completely melted and the caramel is dark amber colour you can then add the final third of sugar.
  7. Cook further to dissolve and cook to a final even dark caramel.
  8. Turn the pan to a low heat.
  9. Heat the Negroni in the microwave for 20 seconds and add to the pan. Be careful of the steam as it is very hot.
  10. Stir the caramel in the pan and then add the butter.
  11. Cook and whisk in the butter until you have a shiny and smooth caramel.
  12. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 15 min.
  13. Arrange the orange segments in the pan starting from the outer rim and working your way in.
  14. Reserve the pan while you make the batter.

Blood Orange & Dark Chocolate Cake


1                         Egg
85 g                    Caster sugar
50 g                    Unsalted butter
80 ml                   Buttermilk
60 ml                   Blood orange juice, reserved
100 g                   Self raising flour
50 g                     Almond meal
pinch                   Salt
45 g                     Dark chocolate, chopped
                            reserved zest (see above)
  1. Pre heat an oven to 170C.
  2. Add the egg and sugar into a bowl and use a hand whisk to mix well.
  3. Whisk until light and fluffy and then add the cold melted butter.
  4. Continue to blend while adding in the buttermilk followed by the blood orange juice.
  5. Blend well and then sieve the flour into the bowl.
  6. Add the almond meal, salt, reserved zest and dark chocolate into the bowl and fold in gently using a spatula.
  7. Pour the mixture gently over the caramel with orange segments and use a palette knife or spoon to smooth over.
  8. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 30 – 35 min until golden brown. Test by pushing a skewer into the cake and if it comes out cleanly then it is cooked.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to sit for five minutes.
  10. Place a plate on top of the cake batter and invert the whole thing, gently remove the pan and present.
  11. Cut into wedges and serve with a scoop of ice cream or crème fraiche.
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