Coconut Citrus Upside-Down Cake

This upside down cake features citrus season’s stars: grapefruit, lemon and blood orange. It’s just as delicious as it is beautiful.

I’ve been dreaming of this cake for weeks. Is that weird?

I’m a huge fan of citrus season. Grapefruit is by far my favorite fruit and I love eating it plain for breakfast or with a little honey when I get a craving for something sweet.

20160302CitrusUpsideDownCake0057Grapefruit Pamplemousse also happens to be my all-time favorite La Croix flavor. I don’t know if I can live without it. It’s perfect plain, but also great after a long week with a splash of vodka.

Anyway, back to CAKE. I’ve been brainstorming ways to bake with grapefruit and kept coming back to the idea of an upside-down cake. It’s the perfect way to balance out the tartness of the fruit. And how beautiful is this?! It’s amazing to see the end result when it’s so simple to put together.

I threw in some orange and lemon to make the cake more colorful and was so happy with the end result. If you’re not a fan of grapefruit, you can easily add more lemons or oranges instead.

I topped this beauty with some freshly-whipped cream and toasted coconut. It’s the perfect combination of flavors! And there’s something about the bright colors that makes me feel like warmer weather is just around the corner. Here’s hoping!

Coconut Citrus Upside-Down Cake

Modified from Damaris Phillips’ Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.

[ingredients title=”Citrus Layer Ingredients”]

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large grapefruit; peeled, sliced thinly and seeded*
  • 1 blood orange, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 lemon; peeled, sliced thinly and seeded


[ingredients title=”Cake Ingredients”]

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1 blood orange
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 large egg


[ingredients title=”Whipped Cream and Coconut Topping Ingredients”]

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut


[directions title=”Directions”]

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Add brown sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted — about two minutes. Make sure the mixture evenly coats the bottom of the pan.
  3. Remove skillet from heat and arrange grapefruit, orange and lemon slices to cover the entire bottom of the skillet.
  4. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla and orange juice. Set aside.
  6. In the bowl of a large electric mixer, combine coconut oil and sugar. Beat on high until light and fluffy, about four minutes. Add egg and beat until combined.
  7. Pour half of the flour mixture into the coconut oil mixture, beating until just combined. Add milk mixture and beat until just combined. Then add remaining flour mixture and beat until combined.
  8. Pour batter into the skillet over sliced citrus, using a metal spatula to spread it evenly over all of the fruit.
  9. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the top of the cake is golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before carefully inverting the cake onto a plate.
  10. While cake cools, toast coconut by placing it in a small pan over medium heat. Stir the coconut often and remove from heat once it turns golden brown, about five minutes.
  11. Using the highest speed of an electric mixer, beat whipping cream until stiff. Top cake with whipped cream and toasted coconut before serving.


*Note: The grapefruit flavor is strong, even after the addition of sugar. If you aren’t a fan of grapefruit, substitute three more lemons or oranges instead. 

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