Russian Tea Cake

Russian Tea Cake

or ~ Spiced Orange Upside-Down Cake

or ~ Slap me with that spice, Vladimir

Russian Tea

just the name brings back overly sweet family get-togethers, the smell of libraries at holidays, and that particular teacher in the past that, come Fall, would drink nothing else….. she reeked of mothballs,  cloves… and Tang©.

Granted, you don’t see it being served very often at parties anymore – and it’s been years since anyone has gifted me with a gingham topped mason jar of the mix… But you know if you ever were in a need for a tangy, sinus clearing, sugar fix… that was the stuff.

And I have to say… I really liked it.

Truth be told, I’m not a fan of Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. The enzymes in the fruit turn the cake and batter into something just completely indigestible to my sensitive gag reflex…. but I love the idea of it…. and I had these decorative oranges… and something needed to be done with them.

Russian Tea Cake

Makes 1 – 9″ Cake


For the Caramel:
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
3 Whole Cloves
For the Cake:
1 Stick (8 Tablespoons) Good Margarine (land o lakes) or Butter
Zest From 1 Navel Orange
2 Navel Oranges – Peeled and Sliced
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Extra Large Eggs (or 2 Large + 1 additional yolk)
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Tablespoon Instant Tea
1/3 Cup Tofutti Sour Cream
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 Cups Self Rising Flour


For the caramel:

In a medium sauce pan add the water, lemon juice and cloves. Bring to medium heat and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes.  Add the sugar and raise the temp to high.  Do not stir.   Allow the sugar to dissolve and reduce until the caramel is a golden brown.  Carefully remove and discard the cloves.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Grease a 9″ deep dish pie plate with butter – Generously.  Place the orange slices evenly across the bottom of the pie plate, allowing them to lip up slightly on the edges.  Pour all the hot caramel over the orange slices.  Allow to cool while you make the batter


To make the Batter:

Cream the remaining margarine with the sugar until light and creamy.  Beat in the eggs.  Lower the speed and beat in the sour cream, zest, spices and vanilla until combined.   Turn off the mixer and fold in the flour until just combined.  Pour the cake batter over the cooled caramel and oranges, smoothing for an even layer.  Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Place on a rack and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes (you want the caramel to gel a bit before you try to unmold the cake).


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