Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cake

The Meyer Lemon tree in my garden surprised me this year with a bumper crop of huge lemons! Each lemon easily yielded a half cup of juice, sometimes more.  We love upside down cakes in our house so I knew this cake would be not only be delicious, but colorful as well. A cast iron skillet is perfect vessel for the cake since it be used stove top for melting the butter and sugar, arranging the lemons and then once the batter is added can be place directly in the oven.

If using the lemon leaves for decoration, make sure they come from an organic tree where no pesticides have been used.  Meyer lemons are sweeter, less acidic and have a smoother skin than conventional lemons. 

Meyer Lemon Upside Cake

Original Recipe

Serves 8


4 Meyer Lemons (conventional lemons may be substituted)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons, divided, 1-1/4 sticks total

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract 

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup whole milk


Slice three of the lemons 1/8-inch thick (about 30 slices); remove seeds and set aside. Using the remaining lemon, grate 1 teaspoon zest, more if desired. Set the zest aside and save the lemon for another use.

Melt the 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. While butter is melting, brush the sides of the skillet with a little of the melting butter. Add the brown sugar, stirring until moistened with the butter and spread into an even layer. Arrange the lemons slices, overlapping some to cover the bottom. Set aside

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Cut the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter in a mixing bowl. Add the vanilla bean paste or extract. Beat the butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until creamy. Add the sugar and grated lemon zest and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one a time, beating until incorporated. Blend in half the flour mixture, then the milk until combined. Blend in the remaining flour mixture.

Spread the batter evenly over the lemons in the cast iron skillet. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and the center tests done. Remove from oven, let stand 5 minutes, the invert the skillet onto a platter. To serve, slice into wedges. Top with sweetened whipped cream, if desired. 


Please do not use images or text without my permission. 


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