Clementine upside down cakes

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These clementine upside-down cakes with a clementine syrup drizzle are delicious for a tea-time treat. The pound cake sponge is firm but very moist, so they hold their shape and keep for a few days.

I made these with Clemengolds. After some research, I still can’t figure out exactly what fruit the Clemengold is other than a derivative of the Nadorcott Mandarin which is marketed under the trade name Clemengold in South Africa. They are seedless citrus fruit that is delectably sweet and easy to peel. They look like a Clementine to me, so for the benefit of the global readership of this blog, this is what the recipe will be named.

clementine upside down cakes

clementine upside down cakes

clementine upside down cakes

I ate most of the clemengolds straight up and chilled. It’s the way I prefer to eat fruit. I juiced a few one morning after a night before but needed to squeeze about 10 to make a glass. Much better value to eat the fruit whole.

For this recipe, I decided to adapt a classic pound cake recipe and the one I used for my orange drizzle cake. I like the slightly denser crumb with these cakes so that they can effectively soak up all the syrup.

Clementine upside down cakes

Delicious clementine upside down mini cakes made in a muffin tin with a clementine syrup drizzle
Print Recipe
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Total Time:45 minutes


  • 225 g butter - room temp
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 225 g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 large eggs - room temp
  • finely grated zest of 2 small Clemengold's
  • about 1/2 - 1 t of brown sugar for each cake
  • 15 slices of peeled clementines 1 slice per cake

Hot Syrup

  • 1/2 cup of clementine juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  • Preheat oven to 180 c / 350 F
  • Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, allowing to fully combine before the next addition
  • Add the clemantine zest and mix.
  • By hand sift the flour and the baking powder over the mix and fold it in to combine.
  • Sprinkle around 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of brown sugar in the the bottom of each cavity of a greased muffin pan.
  • Add a slice of clementine (cut about 1cm thick) on top of the sugar.
  • Using an ice-cream scoop, evenly measure out the cake batter and dollop onto each clementine (about 3/4 of the way up the pan).
  • Bake for 25 - 30 mins, until golden brown.
  • Make the syrup by bringing the juice and sugar to the boil until the sugar has dissolved and it just starts to thicken.
  • Using a spatula gently loosen the baked cakes from the mould and tip out onto a cooling rack. Pour the warm syrup over the cakes to allow them to absorb.


They are perfect to serve just as they are, or you could add a dollop of fresh cream.
Author: Sam Linsell
clementine upside down cakes
clementine upside down cakes
This recipe has been featured in the Huffington Post



  1. Oh gorgeous! Love the idea of using a muffin tin 🙂 And aren’t the Clememgolds a total joy to photograph?

  2. Assume that syrup is poured over hot cakes as they come out of the oven?

  3. Hi Jeanne, yes they are a treat and even better to eat. They last so long too, Its taken me 8 weeks to eat my box and I’ve given a lot away.

  4. Hi Yes Sally, that would be correct. It will absorb more when they are warm. I also drizzled a bit more over them when they had cooled. It doesn’t really matter too much.

  5. They look so lovely and very welcoming to indulge! 🙂

  6. These look delicious and I was wondering whether you could make them with tangerines or mandarins. I was looking at the recipe and I figured that these would be good in the northern hemisphere around Christmas time.

  7. HI Alicia, yes tangerines would be fine – any citrus really (except lemon might be a bit tart)

  8. These clementine upside down cakes looks fabulous. Can you convert the recipe to ounces, please?


    Jeannie, San Antonio, TX

  9. sally cotton says:

    Have just made these lovely puddings….only found the recipe on pinterest an hour ago…and they are now sitting on the cooling rack…had a sneaky sample …gorgeous!! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

  10. Wow Sally that’s impressive – from Pinterest to kitchen all in one day. Its a pleasure.

  11. Love the first two pictures, the moody orange in the first and the contrasting blue that enhances the colour of the oranges in the second. All your recipes sounds easy and looks as good as the pictures.

  12. Thanks Vimala, I generally try and make it easier.

  13. Thanks Tamara, they were rather tasty.

  14. Hi Celine, thank you and its a pleasure :-), so glad you like it.

  15. These look divine! As a complete newbie to baking though, i have to ask a very a stupid question – do you beat the sugar and butter together with a whisk? I’m guessing to get something ‘light and fluffy’ from sugar and butter would require quite a lot of beating?

  16. Yum! Looks so good 🙂 I love the rustic food styling. I can imagine myself eating this in a warm cottage. Thanks for this lovely recipe.

  17. I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest, and I love those clementines. Then I came here, and seriously wish I had paid more attention in my college photography class! Your site is stunning, and I will be back often. Those metric measurements don’t scare me…and your photographs are beyond inspiring! Tomorrow we bake!

  18. Thnaks Sweetiepetitti – I’m so glad you enjoy and the metrics don’t worry you. I have included a conversion table in my site, below the header.


  19. Thanks Marla 🙂

  20. What is caster suger?

  21. HI Roger its refined sugar. So less coarse than normal sugar and not as fine as icing sugar.

  22. If you haven’t made these cakes yet, you should!

    SO tasty, with the bonus of being easy to make.

    Thank you Sam for sharing the recipe

  23. Hi Kate, thaks for letting us know 🙂 – I am so glad you enjoyed.

  24. This looks delicious and the photos are so gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

  25. Rê Monteiro says:

    Essa receite me deixou com água na boca!!
    Vou fazê-la com certeza!
    Muito obrigada e parabéns pelo seu site!

  26. I made these a few weeks ago and they were beautiful! I’ve only just started baking and these were my second cakes to make. The recipe is very simple but the tricky parts were cutting the oranges into slices so they wouldnt fall apart and getting the zest from the lemon. Make sure before you start you have a good Zester – as I had to borrow a neighbours!

  27. oops! I meant *getting the zest from the oranges*

  28. Was looking for a recipe for using Clementines and came across your recipe. Have just made them, so quick and easy. They are really so fantastic and light, not too sweet (even with the syrup) but perfect for brightening up these wintry days.

    Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. 🙂

  29. Hi Pat, thanks for the comment and so glad you liked the recipe.

  30. This recipe is utter magic!
    I have just made a batch – and for someone who generally doesn’t eat what she bakes, I’ve gobbled up two already!
    The parents are raving about them, I’ve dropped some off at the neighbours, a friend will be getting some tonight and a second batch will be made tomorrow to take to the office on Monday – Too good not to share 🙂
    Thank you for a fabulous recipe, and your beautiful images that accompany and inspire!

  31. Thank you Lisa, I’m so glad you all enjoyed. I am particularly fond of that recipe too.

  32. Never heard of making clementine cake until watching the new film “Secret Life of Walter Mitty” although these seem much softer than what was depicted in the film. Will have to try it!

  33. HI Celi, I am not sure about those cakes as I have not seen the film (but will look out for them) – there are simply my version of little cakes with clementines.

  34. These look wonderful! Do they freeze well?

  35. HI Connie, in my experience all cake freeze’s very well. The fruit may change consistency a bit after freezing and thawing though., but I am sure it will be fine.

  36. Please convert measurements

  37. Hi Barbara, I have a conversion chart on my site. Please click onto another website if you dont like my recipes.

  38. Lori Fannin DPM says:

    Fabulous dessert! SO very classy & elegant& delicious!! Lori, OH

  39. Thanks Lori

  40. Sam, do you think this recipe would hold up with strawberries instead of clementines? I stopped by looking for a strawberry dessert but got too distracted by this recipe! Looks divine!

  41. HI Danielle – Yes I think it would work, but the strawberries will be very soft, possibly dissintegrated. I worry that they might be absorbed by the batter, but if you put quite a few in, it could be lovely. Use white sugar instead.

  42. Michelle C says:

    I saw this today and decided to try them out. I’ve been thinking about pineapple upside down cake and almost made that when I came across this. Wouldn’t you know it, I had clementines that I needed to use. This was perfect. Thank you!

  43. Hi Michelle – Im so glad you enjoyed them – such a keeper of a recipe. I have also made them with pineapples before.

  44. How about ingredients in American measurements?

  45. HI Vicki In South Africa (as well as Europe and probably everywhere else in the world) we work on the metric system so that is how I work. I do often include cup measurements for certain ingredietsn as this can be easier for Americans. You can convert everything in my handy conversion table which I have included on my site. Otherwise Google is your friend 🙂

  46. Your recipe is half in European measurements (grams) and half in American (teaspoon, cup, etc)! Would be nice to have it listed with both for all ingredients to accommodate your worldwide fans (USA here). Once I take the time to convert all will give this a try looks great. Thanks to Buzzfeed for sharing a link to your recipe.

  47. HI Elainne, in South Africa, we, along with 98% of the countries in the rest of the world are on the metric system so I use metric weights for baking (in most cases) as its it the most accurate form of measuring. I do however mix it up. For liquids I like to use cup measurements as we also use those everywhere. Jut like teaspoon and Tablespoon measurements, its an international thing. it would be very difficult to weigh a teaspoon of something. I have included a handy conversion chart on my site but otherwise when I have to convert the counltesse American recipes I just go into Google – type ‘convert weight’ and it comes up with a little block. You simply input hte metric you want to convert, enter the weight and it converts it to Imperial. To convert my recipe would take a minute or two. I will look into converting my recipes to American going forward though. I do hope you like the clementine upside down cakes. Its one of my most popular recipes.

  48. I pinned this recipe a couple of years ago but never got around to doing it until today. We have a dinner party tomorrow and the hotess is lactose intolerant, so I was looking for a dessert that was pretty and that the hostess could eat. These cakes came out of the oven picture perfect, and they taste delicious! I think this will become one of my go-to recipes for parties. They’re visually pleasing, easy to make, and so good. The only change that I made was that I used half clementine juice and half (store bought) orange juice for the syrup (just because I didn’t want to squeeze more clementines). Thanks for the recipe!

  49. Hi PHD mom – Im so glad you enjoyed it. Its a keeper.
    Sam x

  50. I can’t wait to try this recipe….these little puds look so pretty, not to mention delicious. It doesn’t matter to me what measurements you use…in this day & age it’s so easy to convert anything. Certainly not worth making a fuss over.

  51. Thanks Margaret and I hope you enjoy. Yes, I get quite a bit of flack over the fact that we and 95% of the worlds countries are on the metric system :). Literally one click away from a conversion table.

  52. I adore this recipe! I use blood oranges from my tree and these little cakes are wonderful!

  53. Hi Jane – I’m so glad you like it and blood oranges would be perfect too.

  54. Colette Arbache says:

    I just made the clementines little cakes, delicious. Thank-you for sharing .
    Do you know if they freeze well ? Because I got 16 !!

  55. Lindsey Wolgast- Alexander says:

    I had great success with this recipe!! I did make a few changes to suit the needs of what I was wanting to make. I used lard to make the inside of my muffin tins non stick. I used a ginger bread batter instead of the batter in the recipe and filled the tins almost to the top. Then instead of the clementine syrup I had JUST made homemade cinnamon syrup that morning so I used that instead! I cooked mine for 26 mins. SOOO GOOD!!!! Will be a new favorite, plus the end result is beautiful.

  56. Thanks for the message Lindsey – your cake sounded delicious

  57. Angelotte says:

    What a wonderful recipe and so easily adapted to what’s available locally on my current continent. Your website is absolutely beautifully crafted – I can’t believe I didn’t find it in 2012. Thanks again for sharing it. Merci

  58. Thanks for the lovely feedback Angelotte and I’m so glad you liked this recipe. Its an old favourite of mine which I will make this winter again.

  59. Rach Elle says:

    Will the cakes still be fresh if you make them in the morning to serve in the evening? I’m just trying to figure out if the syrup will make them soggy, or if they can be made ahead of serving. Thanks! I can’t wait to try the recipe.

  60. Hi Rach and yes the cakes will be good for 3 days in a sealed container. Cake does not get stale in one day. The syrup makes them moist vs soggy. you cold add a bit while they are warm nd the rest when serving.

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