Valerie Bertinelli’s Elegant Upside-Down Citrus Cake Is Almost Too Pretty to Serve

It’s said we eat first with our eyes, and if that’s true, Food Network host Valerie Bertinelli’s Upside-Down Citrus Cake fits the bill. Visually appealing and with an irresistible tangy-sweet flavor, the former One Day at a Time star’s delightfully fluffy dessert will become a regular favorite.

Food Network host Valerie Bertinelli
Food Network host Valerie Bertinelli | Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

What you’ll need to make Bertinelli’s tart and flavorful cake

For the television personality’s Upside-Down Citrus Cake (full recipe and quantities can be found here), you should have on hand for the topping: unsalted butter, one grapefruit, one orange, one blood orange, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and if desired, orange liqueur. For the cake, you will need: all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, more unsalted butter, granulated sugar, two eggs, vanilla extract, and buttermilk. You’ll also need an electric mixer.

In her Food Network video for the recipe, Bertinelli herself seemed delighted by the final result of the citrus-studded cake: “Oh my goodness! That is so crazy beautiful; it looks like little flowers, little jewels.”

Putting together Bertinelli’s Upside-Down Citrus Cake

The Emmy award-winning Food Network host begins by zesting “three beautiful pieces of citrus”: the grapefruit, navel orange, and blood orange (“The tartness of the pink grapefruit will balance out the sweetness of the navel”). Next, it’s time to make what Bertinelli calls “some wheels of citrus.” These will be the beautiful portions of the fruits that will frame the top of the cake. Once you’ve peeled and pithed your fruits, slice them into “about 1/4-inch rounds.”

Stir the butter and sugars in a saucepan over medium to low heat until they are melted into a caramel sauce. Then spread the sauce in the bottom of a greased 9-inch round cake pan (“make sure it goes all the way to the edges”). The citrus rounds can now be “nestled into the caramel” sauce. If you’re using the orange liqueur it can be added at this point, but Bertinelli assures that “if you want to skip this step, you are allowed.”

The flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt are combined in a large bowl and set aside. The butter is creamed in the mixer with a cup of white sugar and the citrus zest (“it will really give this cake a beautiful punch of flavor”). And the eggs are added to the mixer one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and the buttermilk (“buttermilk just adds that extra dimension of flavor in there, that you’re like, ‘ooh, what was that?'”).

Time to bake, and for the big reveal

The dry ingredients join the wet ones in the mixer until all items are well incorporated. The batter is then poured into the greased baking pan over the caramel sauce and citrus portions and placed into a preheated 350-degree oven for about an hour.

Once the cake is done baking and completely cools, it’s time for what Bertinelli calls “the fun part.” A platter is placed on the cake pan and flipped over to reveal a gorgeous citrus-jeweled cake reminiscent of autumnal colors.

Give Bertinelli’s cake a try and see if you don’t fall head-over-heels for its intense colors and just as vibrant flavor.