Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cake

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full disclosure here.

Get ready to sink your fork into a moist, buttery cake topped with caramelized Meyer lemon slices, each bite bursting with zesty citrus notes that pairs perfectly with the sweet cake.

A plate with a slice of lemon cake and a fork on it with the cake behind it.
Welcome to #SpringSweetsWeek 2024 hosted by Heather from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks! Spring is finally here and the sun is shining and we are celebrating the beginning of spring with plenty of spring sweets and a fun giveaway! This year 17 food bloggers from around the country are sharing over 50 sweet recipes that are perfect for spring. So get ready to enjoy amazing spring treats like cupcakes, ice cream, pies, cakes, and more! Thank you to our #SpringSweetsWeek sponsors that are helping us give away some great prizes. Thank you to Melissa’s Produce, Taylor and Colledge, and Selefina Spices for your generosity and support. We have an incredible giveaway with three amazing prizes and would love it if you would take a moment to read about it and the prizes that you can win!

I recently received a box of beautiful citrus fruit from Melissa’s produce.  Inside were blood oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, and Meyer lemons.   Since Meyer lemons are hard to come by in my local market I was excited to grab them and get baking.

What is a Meyer Lemon?

A Meyer lemon is a type of citrus fruit that is a cross between a lemon and a sweet orange. Meyer lemons are smaller and rounder than traditional lemons, with a thin, smooth, and deep yellow to orange skin. They are known for their sweeter, less acidic flavor compared to regular lemons.   They are great in both sweet and savory dishes.  

I’ve made a lot of baked goods and cocktails with Meyer lemons.  The Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake is perfect for brunches or a light, citrus dessert.   If you need a gluten free dessert then my Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Bars.  I’m a sucker for a good scone and this Meyer Lemon Scone with lemon glaze is amazing with a cup of tea or coffee.

This time around I wanted to make some type of cake but I wanted it to be something different.   I looked around at different recipes and finally found one for Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cake.

A lemon upside down cake with lemon slices on top and a lemon beside it.

What is an upside down cake?

An upside-down cake is a type of cake where the toppings, usually fruit and a caramelized sugar glaze, are placed on the bottom of the cake pan before the batter is poured on top. Then after baking, the cake is flipped upside down onto a serving plate, resulting in the toppings being on top when the cake is served.

Traditionally, pineapple slices or rings are used in upside-down cakes, along with maraschino cherries placed in the center of each pineapple ring. However, I find traditional upside down cakes to be way too sweet for me.

That’s why I decided that using Meyer lemons, which are tart with a bit of sweetness, would be a great fruit to use in a sweet upside down cake. Add to that the delicious flavor of Taylor & Colledge vanilla bean paste with flecks of vanilla bean seeds and you have the perfect cake.

In addition to the lemons I wanted to give the cake a bit of spice.   I didn’t want to use cinnamon as that feels very fall so I grabbed the cardamom and crystallized ginger, both from Selefina Spices.

What is crystallized Ginger?

Crystallized ginger, also known as candied ginger, is a sweet and spicy ginger made from fresh ginger root that has been cooked in sugar syrup and then coated in granulated sugar. To make crystallized ginger the fresh ginger root is peeled and sliced then simmered in a sugar syrup until the ginger becomes tender and the syrup thickens. After cooking, the ginger pieces are cooled and then rolled in granulated sugar.

With its golden hue, delicate texture, and amazing citrus aroma, this Meyer lemon upside down cake epitomizes the perfect balance between sweetness and tanginess.   A delightful twist on the classic pineapple upside cake, this Meyer lemon version offers a refreshing and sophisticated take on the beloved classic.

Ingredients for making Lemon Upside Down Cake.


  • salted butter (you can use unsalted but the salt helps cut through the sweetness)
  • brown sugar (I use light but you can use dark)
  • Meyer lemons (you can use regular lemons but Meyer lemons have such a great sweet and tart flavor)
  • all purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • crystallized ginger (I used Selefina Spices because it’s my favorite but make sure you use a good one that isn’t super dry)
  • ground cardamom (you want a very fragrant cardamom; I used Selefina Spices cardamom)
  • granulated sugar
  • vanilla bean paste (I used Taylor and Colledge)
  • eggs
  • buttermilk

To make the cake preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut 4 Tablespoons of butter into four pieces, place in a 9 inch round cake pan, and place the cake pan in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until the butter has melted.

Once the butter has melted pull the pan out and use a pastry brush to cover the sides and bottom of the pan with the butter. There will be a lot more butter in the bottom of the pan. This is fine as it will blend with the brown sugar in the next step to make the candied lemon slices.

A pan with lemon in the bottom.

Sprinkle the brown sugar over top of the butter in the bottom of the pan.  Layer the lemon slices in a spiral pattern, overlapping some. I was able to make a spiral on the outside edge and then a small one on the inside as well. 

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, crystallized ginger, and cardamom.   Mix and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest.  Mix by hand or with a mixer until it is nice and fluffy. Add in the vanilla bean paste and the eggs and mix well to combine.

How do I zest a Lemon?

When zesting a Meyer lemon make sure you are only getting the orange yellow part and not the white pith inside as it is very bitter.   The best way to do this is to use a microplane.  Rub the lemon back and forth quickly over the microplane, turning the lemon as the lemon zest comes off.  Do this until all the zest is off the lemon.  Tap the zester on the bowl or use your finger to remove.

Add in half of the flour mixture and mix until combined.   Then pour in the milk.   Gently mix until the milk is incorporated into the batter.   Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Carefully pour the batter on top of the lemons in the pan.  Bake the cake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  

Allow the cake to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan.  Make sure you have your serving platter or plate ready.   Use a butter knife and go around the outside edge of the cake.  Place the plate over top of the cake pan and quickly flip.  Cool completely before serving.

A cake in a pan.

This cake was amazing!   It’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart.   Like traditional upside down cakes it was sweet and buttery with a moist crumb.  

Unlike traditional upside down cakes the lemon caramelized on top and gave the gave a nice tartness in addition to the sweet cake.  It was the perfect spring bite!

If you’ve tried my Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cake or any other recipe on  Hezzi-D’s Recipe Box please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you! You can FOLLOW ME on:





A plate with a slice of lemon cake and a fork on it with the cake behind it.

Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cake

A buttery lemon cake topped with caramelized lemon slices.
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Author: Hezzi-D


  • 1/4 c. salted butter
  • 3/4 c. light brown sugar
  • 3 Meyer lemon sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons crystallized ginger chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground
  • 1/2 c. salted butter softened
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut the 1/4 cup butter into 4 pieces and place in the 9 inch cake pan. Place pan in oven and let butter melt 2-3 minutes. Use a pastry brush and brush the melted butter over the sides and bottom of the pan.
  • Sprinkle the brown sugar top of the butter. Layer the lemon slices on top of the brown sugar, making an outer circle and an inner circle, and overlapping the lemons.
  • In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, crystallized ginger, and cardamom. Whisk until combined.
  • In a large bowl cream together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Mix until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs and vanilla bean paste and mix well.
  • Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Pour in the milk and slowly mix until well combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Pour the batter carefully over top of the lemon slices in the pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool for 10-15 minutes then run a knife around the edge of the cake.
  • Place a platter or serving plate on top of the cake pan and quickly flip the cake onto the plate.
  • Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.


Recipe adapted from Bakes by Brown Sugar
A slice of lemon upside down cake with a fork next to it.
Monday #SpringSweetsWeek Recipes
  • Banana Dragon Fruit Muffins from Palatable Pastime
  • Berry Triple Layer Cake from In Our Spare Time
  • Blood Orange Crepe Suzette from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
  • Blood Orange Crumb Muffins from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
  • Blood Orange Posset from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
  • Holiday Fruit Salad from A Day in the Life on the Farm
  • Lavender Lemon Creme Brulee from The Spiffy Cookie
  • Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake from Art of Natural Living
  • Lemon Mousse Filled Crepe Cups with Berries from Blogghetti
  • Lemon Raspberry Crepe Cake from Jolene’s Recipe Journal
  • Meyer Lemon Almond Pound Cake from Cheesecurd In Paradise
  • Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cake from Hezzi-D’s Recipe Box
  • Split Seconds Cookies from Shockingly Delicious
  • Springtime Chocolate Terrarium Dessert from For the Love of Food
  • Sweet Crepes with Luscious Fruits from Our Good Life
  • Tangerine Upside Down Cake from Magical Ingredients
  • Tangerine Vanilla Fig Preserves from That Recipe
  • We share recipes from #SpringSweetsWeek on Pinterest! Make sure you follow the board to see all the delicious recipes shared this week.

    Check out the prizes you can win!

    Prize #1: A Tropical and Exotic Fruit Gift Basket from Melissa’s Produce.

    A basket of fruit

    One winner will enjoy an abundance of fruit with Melissa’s! This stunning assortment is arranged in a woven basket with cellophane wrapping and colorful ribbon. Fruit may include (depending on seasonal availability): Asian Pear, Baby Pineapple, Blood Orange, Cherimoya, Feijoas, Kiwis, Kumquats, Lychees, Mango, Papaya, Passion Fruit, Persimmons, Pomegranate, Rambutans, Specialty Bananas, Starfruit and Tamarillos.

    Prize #2: A collection of Selefina Spices.

    Crystalized Ginger:  minced, in a jar, slices

    One winner will enjoy a collection of spices from Selefina Spices including: Cinnasational Spice Blend, crystalized ginger, lemon peel, Matcha food grade powder, Purple sweet potato powder, and Ground Cardamom Seeds. Selefina Spices sells an assortment of spices gathered using dedication and care with which we’ve curated their online tea collection. With our decades of experience sourcing products and establishing global connections their mission is to be able to bring you fresher, higher-quality spices and seasonings at lower prices.

    Prize #3: A selection of 3 extract pastes from Taylor and Colledge.

    Five tubes of extract pastes

    One winner will receive a selection of extract pastes to include Almond Paste Extract, Organic Vanilla Bean Paste, and Lavender Extract Paste. In 1897, Taylor & Colledge won its first award for excellence in vanilla. Since then, the Taylor & Colledge commitment for unsurpassed quality has earned its reputation as one of the world’s finest producers of vanilla.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Thank you #SpringSweetsWeek Sponsors: Selefina Spices, Melissa’s Produce, and Taylor and Colledge for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #SpringSweetsWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The giveaway is open to residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older.   All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Three (3) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #SpringSweetsWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, X or any other social channel mentioned in the #SpringSweetsWeek posts or entry.


    1. 5 stars
      That crystalized ginger is just amazing and addictive. I’ve not made an upside-down lemon cake before but it sure does look amazing.

    2. Thanks so much for hosting this wonderful event Heather. Your cake turned out just gorgeous!! I’m sitting here listening to my stomach grumble while looking at those photos.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating