The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires / Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

I don’t know why, but I was expecting something more like Zombieland when I picked up this book. Maybe some little southern women clutching their pearls while saying “bless his heart” and driving a stake into a vampire? Instead, I found a dark and serious look at what it takes to keep a family together in a society ravaged by misogyny and racism and how danger takes many forms. Also, there were some tips on how to kill a vampire and properly clean up blood stains.

For a book about vampires set in Charleston, I decided to try out a twist on a classic pineapple upside down cake and make it with blood oranges. The result was both delicious and pretty to look at.

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake


  • Topping on Cake:
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 2-3 blood oranges, rinds removed and thinly sliced
  • Cake:
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup almond flour (or another 1/2 cup all-purpose flour)
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • Pinch of salt
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • Grated zest of 1 blood orange
    • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


In a microwave-safe bowl or a saucepan on the stove, melt the butter.  Whisk in the sugar until it melts.  Pour the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9-inch round cake pan.  Arrange the orange slices on top of the mixture, overlapping slightly, in a spiral pattern. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt.  

In a medium bowl, place the sugar and orange zest and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar smells fragrantly orange.

Add the yogurt, eggs, olive oil, and almond extract to the sugar and whisk vigorously until the mixture is very well blended.  

Add the dry ingredients, and fold and stir them in with a spoon until fully blended and the batter is smooth and thick.  

Pour the batter over the orange slices in the cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and beginning to come away from the pan.  A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

Let the pan cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then run a knife or thin spatula around the edges of the cake.  Place a large plate over the pan, then flip so the cake comes out upside-down onto the plate.

Let cool to room temperature.  Serve alone or with whipped cream.  

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