Kumquat Upside-Down Cake
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What do you do with two pounds of kumquats? Why you make a kumquat upside-down cake, Silly. What else would you do.
No, seriously, what else would you do? I have been getting them every week in my CSA (which has been awesome), but had it not been for the lovely Huebscher, who pointed me to this recipe, those kumquats would still be sitting in my fridge.
I mean seriously, there’s only so much no-face* you can play with these tart little gems, though I have found them more bearable in the past few weeks. Plus, having a kumquat upside-down cake in my repertoire has made all the difference.
This cake, which starts in a cast iron skillet stovetop then finishes in the oven, is sweet and tart and totally delicious, a perfectly citrusy cake to make all winter long.
Fortunately, kumquats keep well in the fridge and do make a fabulous upside-down cake. That said, I wouldn’t mind exploring some other uses. My mother and I were thinking they might make a nice addition to a braised dish or a Moroccan tagine or something of the sort.
As I suspected, another little baggy of kumquats arrived in my CSA today. I will stash them away until I hear back from you.
PS: Orange and Olive Oil Cake, another favorite winter cake.Print
Kumquat Upside Down Cake
- Total Time: 1 hours 50 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings
Source: Beauty Everyday
- 1½ lbs. kumquats, halved
- 1 stick (4 oz | 113g) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 3 T. honey
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 1 cup (8 oz | 226g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 5 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
- Melt butter in a large cast iron pan over medium heat. Be careful not to burn the butter. Add brown sugar and stir until mixed. Remove from heat. Add vanilla, honey and salt, and stir to combine.
- Add the fruit to caramel mixture — fit as much as you can inside. (WARNING: I used about 1½ lbs. of kumquats, and squeezed them all in. About half-way through baking, the syrup bubbled up and spilled out onto my oven floor. Smoke was everywhere. So, you can either place the kumquats in just one layer, or you could take your chances and maybe place a cookie sheet on the rack below the pan to catch any over flow.)
- Make the batter: Put softened butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating on high. Add vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add to wet ingredients and mix on low speed until combined.
- Carefully spoon or pour batter over kumquats, taking caution not to disturb the fruit. Carefully smooth the batter.
- Place cake in oven on the middle rack. Bake for about 1 hour, checking after 45 minutes. Test the cake with a toothpick, making sure it is cooked in the middle. Take a butter knife and loosen edges along the pan. Put cake on a wire rack and let it cool for about 30 minutes.
- Put a large platter face down over cast iron pan and flip.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hours 5 minutes
- Category: Cake
- Method: Skillet, Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: kumquat, upside, down, cake, winter, citrus
*No-face: Invented circa 2001 by a Canadian hockey player, no-face is a game that requires participants to take shots of particularly offensive high-octane combinations. Whoever makes no face, wins. Kate Ling, if I recall correctly, is reigning champion.
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67 Comments on “Kumquat Upside-Down Cake”
absolutely beautiful!!!! it’s been a minute since I’ve come by but I’m glad to be here now! congrats on the new site, too!
What a gorgeous cake– really! So pretty! I don’t believe I’ve ever had a kumquat before, so I’m afraid I can’t be of much help. I need to join a CSA too, so I’m forced to think of things to do w/ goodies like this!
Great site! Your photography is outstanding!
After reading this recipe, I almost wish I had found it before I stumbled upon Gourmet’s Chicken with Kumquat Sauce.
What a lovely pictures they are!
This Kumquat compote is to die for. From another great blog. I planted a tree because of this recipe.
Now I’m racking my brain (not books or websites so as no to ‘cheat’) for some original and sensational recipe using Kumquats just so I could have one of those outstanding photos!
good morning! what a wonderful pictures and delicious recepy, I have published the Dutch translation on the belgian website [link no longer active] together with some other recepies I found (kumquat liquor and kumquat marmelade)! I have some friends who would kill for a piece of your cake! thank you for all these delicious sweets! and to Zul: I will certainly try your kumquat compote! have a great day! xoxo M-Marie (Belgium)
Everyone talks about the picture but no comments on the cake. Well I plan to make it and let everyone know if it is good or not. Have a nice harvest and while I like them straight off the tree, I’m looking for a nice gift to share!
I’ve recently come into a bag of kumquats, and I want to try this cake. Can you please clarify your measurements? Particularly, what is the volume of the cup you use, and your stick of butter? (I live in Australia, so my cup is 250mL and a block of butter is 250g. I’ve been told these measurements differ world-wide.)
Lastly, is your oven temp. for a conventional or fan-forced oven? Cheers.
Hi Natalie! Sorry about the measurements. Ok, 1 cup is 240ml and 1 stick of butter is 4 oz (113g). And I use just a standard old oven. I don’t have a convection setting or anything like that. Hope that helps! Let me know how it turns out. Thanks!
My family is kumquat krazy! It is a Christmas tradition to cook with them. We may have to add this to our repertoires. As of right now I have three kumquat recipes featured on my blog:
Kumquat Refrigerator Pie:
Kumquat Christmas Drink:
thank you for sharing all of these! I just made a candied kumquat compote. So good. I am checking out your recipes now.
I’m looking forward to making this cake as my kumquat tree needs picking. I agree, those are great photos of the cake.
Question: you say “large” pan. What is the diameter you used?
Hi Carmen! I used a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
I’ve know about kumquats all my life, but was always a little wary because the skin is eaten. Recently I’ve been trying all the things I didn’t think I liked (cucumbers, oatmeal, kiwi [onions are still a no]) and been surprised. So when I saw them in the store I picked up a little carton and made some marmalade. I’ve been enjoying that simply on toast, but another commentators mention of yogurt gives me ideas.
Then I saw your cake and was sad because I had used them all up. A couple weeks go by and I can’t find kumquats. Then one day there they are and I snatch them up and come home to make your cake on this rainy day.
It is simple, smells and looks delicious. I’m just sad I don’t have anyone to share it with, the room mate is on a diet.
Oh, me too! Wish I could be there to eat it with you. When I lived in CA, I would receive kumquats in my CSA and I never knew what to do with them. This cake was a good solution. Recently, I wrote a post on Food52 about kumquats (should you find yourself overloaded with them :)) https://food52.com/blog/12544-what-to-do-with-an-overload-of-kumquats
My in-laws have a huge kumquat tree, and my attempt and kumquat marmalade wasn’t too successful. I would love to give this a try. I see lots of seeds in your pictures. Did you not de-seed the fruit?
I don’t seed them! They are really pretty tender. If you are looking for a simple idea, I made quick-candied kumquats this winter. I got the recipe from the chef at Ichabod’s in NYC and I wrote about it over on food52: https://food52.com/blog/12544-what-to-do-with-an-overload-of-kumquats
But definitely give this cake a try, too! I think seeding the kumquats would take forever — don’t do it! 🙂
Great idea. I love kumquats … I’ve started to grow some kumquats from seed form purchased fruit .. will see how it goes.
I make something similar with calomondins (larger version of kumquats). The whol fruits are quartered and seeds removed, then put in blender to make a puree, which is used in a bundt cake and glaze. Personally I would not eat seeds.
I am so amazed with your Qumkuat upsite down cake. It came out amazing, thanks to you????. Great recipe, easy to follow and very nice pictures of the stages during preparation. The whole household and the friends loved it! I was so devastated after following some other lady’s recipe in line and after spending ton off ingredients and more time it did not cook and finally burned. I had to put the whole thing to the garbage. I still think that recipe was missing something or something was not right with the measurements because I bake and cook a lot and this maybe the second time in my whole life that the recipe I religiously followed fell apart! . I love your site and can’t wait to try new things !❤️
So happy to hear this, Meryem! I haven’t made it in ages, but when I lived in CA and had kumquat’s available at every turn, this was a favorite. Thank you for the kind words! Hope you find more recipes you like.
Hi Alexandra! This recipe looks great and I’m hoping to make it this week. If I used a glass pyrex pan would it turn out? Thanks a bunch!
Hi Loren, you could, but you’ll have to use two pans, which is fine. The first few steps call for using a skillet on the stovetop — when those steps are complete, you can transfer the contents to a buttered Pyrex pan. Good luck!
How long do I melt the butter and brown sugar mixture before I remove it from the heat?
Tried your recipe! Excellent explosion of juices!
Wonderful to hear this, Meli!
This is a winner! Everyone loved it and have asked for me to make it again and again!
I’m so happy to hear this Rachel!
Easy and delicious. I didn’t have the same amount of kumquats and they were pretty dry, so I sliced them and tossed them with Meyer lemon juice and a little brown sugar. Also added a couple thin slices of mandarin to make up for the small number of kumquats. Came out DELICIOUS. Carmel definitely boiled out the sides and smoked up the whole kitchen but it was worth it. Checked it at 45 mins and it was ready.
So great to hear all of this Amanda!! (Except the part about the caramel smoking out your kitchen 🙁 … no fun!) I wonder if next time, placing the pan on a parchment-lined sheet pan might help. Thanks for writing!
Is it best to make this cake the day I am serving this or can I make the day before?
Hi Beth! I think this is one that is best the day of mostly because the kumquats look most appetizing on day one. Flavor wise, however, the cake is just as good on day 2, so don’t be afraid to make it in advance if need be.
my neighbor has a kumquat tree and shares his fruit with me. I made a kumquat jam that is so delicious, and I have been sharing with my neighbors. Yesterday he gave me another large bag of kumquats. This morning I was searching the internet for recipes. I came across your cake recipe, and I decided to give it a try. OMG! I just took the cake out of the oven, and the house smells incredible. The poolman just left, but, before leaving he commented on the wonderful smelling odors coming from my kitchen. My kitchen faces the pool.
I’m so happy to hear this, Mary! I’m jealous you have a neighbor who shares kumquats 🙂 🙂 🙂