You know you’ve made a Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cake right when it comes out of the oven looking like a sparkling wheel of gold. Save the occasional rimside browning, the whole cake turns into a glossy amber of uniform saturation. And trust me, it tastes as good as it looks. This is one of my favorite cakes to make, and I’ll baking tons of them as long as I can get my hands on meyer lemons.
Something this cake does very well is striking a balance between moistness and fluffiness. Too moist and a cake becomes dense and heavy, too fluffy and a cake becomes dry and crumbly. I have La Tourangelle’s Coconut Oil to thank in making the balance between these two so easy to achieve in this cake. And while you can certainly use standard lemons, I love the meyer variety for their uniqueness. Meyer lemons obviously have the acidic bite one would expect, but this is buttressed by a pleasant sweetness—and that sweetness is crucial in this recipe. Plus, they feature a smaller pith beneath the rind, which is also crucial in this recipe. I prefer leaving the pith and rind intact for this cake, whereas you could always remove them and keep only the pulp. I just find that extra bitterness to provide more depth to each bite, and with meyer lemons the bitterness isn’t overwhelming at all. In the end, this all comes together to make a very delicious cake.
Thank you La Tourangelle for sponsoring this post. As always, all words and opinions are my own.
Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cake
For the lemon layer
3 tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch kosher salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
4-5 meyer lemons, sliced paper thin and seeds removed
For The Cake
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup + 2tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp meyer lemon zest
2 eggs room temp, beaten
1/2 cup +1 tbs melted coconut oil
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 8x2-inch circular cake pan.
Add the butter to a small sauce pan set on medium-low heat. Once melted, add the sugar and cook for about 1 minute, stirring often. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the vanilla bean paste.
Pour the sugar mixture into the cake pan. Swirl a bit as needed so that an even layer of melted sugar coats the pan. Lay the lemon slices over the sugar mixture in a circular pattern. Begin with one slice in the middle of the pan, then create a small circle around that first slice. Follow this process, a few more times until the bottom on the pan is totally covered with lemons. Set the pan aside.
For the cake: Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl add the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the lemon zest into the sugar with your hands until fragrant. Add the oil and the eggs, and whisk until smooth. Add the buttermilk and vanilla, and whisk until well combined.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet and gently fold until just combined. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Place the cake on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Carefully invert the cake onto a plate or cake stand. Serve warm.