Mandarin upside-down cake

Mandarin upside-down cake

A citrus cake for dessert or pudding

Mandarin upside-down cake is a small mandarin-topped sponge cake. Eat one cold for dessert with some cream or hot with some warm custard.

This cake is ideal to serve during Australia’s winter months because mandarins are now in season. In this recipe, you will use the zest and the fruit of the mandarin so there is very little food waste.

The light sponge cake has a crispy bottom when inverted onto a plate. The top of the cake is deliciously moist from the baked mandarin pieces and syrup.

Quick to make

These individual cakes take about 40 minutes to make so they can be quickly prepared for a mid-week dessert.

The main steps of the recipe are:

  1. Make a mandarin syrup
  2. Chop up some mandarin segments
  3. Make a simple cake batter
  4. Put syrup, mandarin pieces and cake batter into ramekins
  5. Bake cakes in the oven

You should make mandarin upside-down cake because it is:

  • A zesty, baked dessert that is flavoursome.
  • Seasonal – mandarins are now in season (winter).
  • Quick and easy to make – it only takes 40 minutes to prepare and bake the cakes.
  • Budget-friendly – pantry staples and seasonal fruit.

Mandarin upside-down cake’s main ingredients:

  • Mandarin
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Egg
  • Flour
A small round sponge cake topped with mandarin segments and surrounded by cream & zest.
Mandarin upside-down cake – a zesty winter dessert

Tips for busy cooks

If mandarins aren’t in season, use tinned mandarins instead. Keep the syrup that the fruit comes in so that you can use it instead of mandarin juice.

You can use margarine instead of butter if you prefer.

To make the cake batter, you can use a wooden spoon, an electric hand mixer or an electric stand mixer.

This recipe is easy to increase to cater for more people. Double the recipe and use four ramekins to make four individual cakes.

Serving suggestions:

  1. Cold dessert – eat one of these cakes cold with some cream.
  2. Hot pudding – serve a mandarin upside-down cake fresh out of the oven with warm vanilla custard.
  3. Afternoon tea – enjoy one of these cakes on its own with a mug of tea.

Hero seasonal mandarins in this tasty pud

Mandarin upside-down cake is a moist yet crispy sponge cake topped with seasonal fruit. Superb with cream, custard, crème fraîche or ice cream.

Did you use fresh or tinned mandarins in this recipe?

Let me know by leaving a comment and a recipe rating below – I’d love to hear from you.

Have you made this recipe? Tag @vegcoastcook on Instagram or use the hashtag #vegcoastcook so that I can see!

Want another great recipe that uses citrus fruit? Try this next: orange and lemon myrtle teacakes

Mandarin upside-down cake

Mandarin upside-down cake is a small mandarin-topped sponge cake. Eat one cold for dessert with some cream or hot with some warm custard.
Meal Type Afternoon tea, Dessert
Cuisine Australian-Inspired
Keyword Mandarin upside-down cake, Vegetarian
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 Individual cakes
Author Veg Coast Cook


  • 1 mandarin
  • 65 g caster sugar
  • 65 g butter (plus extra for greasing the ramekins)
  • 1 large free-range egg lightly beaten with a fork
  • 60 g self-raising flour sifted

To serve

  • Thickened cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. Grease and line the bottom and sides of two ramekins with butter and greaseproof paper.

  2. Finely grate the zest of the mandarin into a small bowl and set aside. Peel the mandarin and cut it in half. Juice one half into a bowl and separate the other half into segments.

  3. Measure 1 tbsp of mandarin juice into a saucepan; add 1 tsp of sugar and 5g of butter. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
  4. Using an electric hand mixer or a wooden spoon, cream together 60g of sugar with 60g butter in a mixing bowl until pale and creamy. Gradually add a small amount of the beaten egg to the sugar/butter mixture and whisk with the hand mixer until all of the egg has been added.
  5. Use a spoon to fold the flour into the cake batter. Add 2 tsp of mandarin juice and most of the mandarin zest (reserve some for garnish) to the batter and mix gently until combined.

  6. Put 1 tsp of the mandarin syrup (that you made earlier) into the bottom of each greased & lined ramekin. Put some fresh mandarin segments in both ramekins. Add the cake batter to the top of the mandarin segments. Use a spoon to smooth-out the tops of the cakes.

  7. Bake the cakes on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the centre of the cakes. Remove from oven.
  8. Using oven gloves, put a shallow bowl or plate on top of each ramekin, turn each cake upside down and remove the ramekins.

  9. To serve (hot or cold): Pour cream around the base of each cake and garnish with finely grated mandarin zest.

Recipe Notes

Ramekins - I use round ramekins that are 9cm in diameter and 4.5cm in height.

Made this recipe? Tag @vegcoastcook on Instagram or use the hashtag #vegcoastcook

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