There's a lot to love about an upside-down cake that brings two intense fruity flavors together in a single pan recipe, like this upside down strawberry lemon cake, for example.

This brightly yellow-lit, crimson topped cake has a moist, lemony texture and is dripping with gooey strawberry glaze. Just looking at it will send shockwaves through your stomach.

Upside down cake convenience

If you're not familiar with upside-down cake and wonder, the short answer would be a cake baked together with its glaze, starting with the glaze (usually a compote) poured in the pan followed by the batter.

Because both the cake and batter are baked together, upside-down cakes are considered one of the simplest cakes to make for those special occasions. Sure, the glaze still has to be prepared over the stove, but it beats having to wait for the cake to cool before delicate piping swirls of frosting on top of it.

Even better for those who want a simple dessert to make, it's also not one of those fancy layered cakes I usually share here. Just one pan is needed.

Why it's intense

Besides having a glaze complete with fresh strawberries (though frozen strawberries can also be used), the citrus at the heart of the cake is enhanced with the addition of sour cream. This also provides extra moistness for those who prefer that kind of cake.

Upside down cake tips

  • If chilled, remove the amount of butter needed plus a little extra for greasing the pan from the refrigerator to soften at room temperature. Cold butter will struggle to form air pockets when beaten, so let it warm up a bit before use.
  • Like the butter, the strawberries also should be at room temperature if they happen to be the frozen kind.
  • Because they're not being prepared over the stove, the strawberries are macerated instead whereas they're tossed in sugar and left to draw out the juices. Make sure to give them enough time to do so (5 or more minutes)
  • You can use either a 9-inch round baking pan or a 9 x 13-inch baking dish for this recipe. Make sure to grease and flour the insides thoroughly and throw out any remaining flour left behind. Shake and not tap the pan to remove it.

The recipe

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 3 cups strawberries, quartered
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (optional)

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cup caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup sour cream


  1. Cut the stems off the strawberries and slice them in fours. Combine the strawberries, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl and stir around. Let strawberries sit to macerate (when the sugar draws out the juices like they were bleeding) for 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice to complete the glaze and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Grease the inside of a 9-inch cake pan with butter. Add a small spoonful or two of flour to the pan and spread it around the pan by wobbling, tilting, and rotating the pan without spilling any to coat it. Gently shake out any excess flour left behind and set the pans aside.
  3. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Set the dry mixture aside.
  4. Beat the softened butter and sugar together in a stand mixer or with an electric mixer over another mixing bowl on high heat speed. Beat until light and fluffy (3 minutes or more).
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, taking time to incorporate each. Beat in the lemon zest. Scrape down the bowl.
  6. Switch the mixer to low speed. Beat in the dry mixture in small batches, alternating with the sour cream and ending with the remaining dry mixture to complete the batter.
  7. Pour the glaze into the pan, making sure to spread the sliced strawberries evenly on the bottom. Pour the batter over the glaze and smooth the surface flat with a spoon or spatula.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a flat plate.
  9. Slice and serve or store in the refrigerator.

Serves: 10