Desserts Italian style Recipes

Orange Upside-Down Cake with Italian Apéritif

Aperitivo in Italy is very often mistaken as the standard “happy hour”, but it’s quite different. It typically consists of dry drinks (could be alcoholic or non-alcoholic). The drinks are accompanied by a variety of foods (not just nuts crisps and crackers). Citrus is a great addition to an apéritif cocktail mix and I love the combination of alcohol with a sweet treat. That’s how I came up with this decadent cake with the infusion of oranges and a luscious syrup made with an Italian apéritif. This cake is soft and moist, drizzled with sweet, freshly made tangy syrup

A classic Italian aperitif can be bought in stores, such as the bittersweet Aperol. Which is an alcoholic aperitif made with bitter oranges and rhubarb. An adequate substitute, in my opinion, would be Campari, also a bittersweet alcoholic apéritif infused with herbs.

This is a great recipe, for when you’re having friends over that would appreciate a decadent treat served with history and culture. Orange cake is rich and decadent, and it is also perfect for summer gatherings. The tangy and sweet juices from the oranges blend perfectly with the bittersweet Italian aperitif. It results in a very delicious syrup that drizzles all over the cake; add a scoop of Italian gelato for the perfect dessert.

Here’s another fruity cake recipe to try: Strawberry Shortcake with Coulis

Here’s a recipe:

Orange Upside-Down Cake with Italian Apéritif

Immaculate Ruému
A soft and moist cake with the infusion of orange syrup made with an Italian apéritif in likes of Campari and the renowned Italian Aperol.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 8 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 48 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, international, Italian
Servings 12
Calories 167 kcal


  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Milk
  • 1/3 Cup Sunflower Oil
  • 2 Large Oranges
  • 2 Shots Italian Apéritif (Bitters)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt


  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees. Grease a tube pan with butter. Cut 1 orange into half and cut each half into slices. Place the slices flat on the pan with the skin/round side towards the tube. Set aside.
  • Put half the sugar into a small saucepan. Zest and Juice the second orange and add it to the sugar. Bring to boil on medium heat for 3 minutes to form a syrup.
  • Pour in the two shots of Italian Apéritif, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • Separate the eggs into two bowls and in one bowl whisk the egg whites with the remaining sugar until stiff peaks. Set Aside.
  • Mix the flour, baking soda and powder in one boil and in another bowl whisk egg yolks, milk and sunflower oil. Combine both dry and wet mixture into a cake batter.
  • Gently fold in the egg white mixture into the cake batter until combined. (It's ok if there are white stripes of egg white, try not to over mix, so you don't lose air)
  • Pour the already cooled syrup into the pan with the sliced oranges. Gently scoop the cake batter into the pan, be careful not to shake or move the oranges and syrup around.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 – 10 minutes before you turn and gently let the cake out unto a flat surface. Let cool before serving or serve warm.


Calories: 167kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 213mg | Potassium: 87mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 94IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: aperitivo, orange, upside down cake
Tried this recipe?Mention @Immaculateruemu or tag #iruemurecipes!

AboutImmaculate Ruému

Chef, blogger and all-round food enthusiast. Simultaneously a professional chef and a home cook. Living a vision of breaking global culinary boundaries.


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