This Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cornmeal Cake is a beautiful, rustic cake that has an almost marmalade-like quality to it.

This Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cornmeal Cake is a beautiful, rustic cake that has an almost marmalade-like quality to it.

It’s citrus season in California right now, and there is so much to love! You know how during the holidays neighbors bring each other fresh baked goods. Well, that giving spirit doesn’t exactly stop here, especially during the winter when beautiful, citrus is in season! I think everyone in my neighborhood has citrus trees; grapefruit, lemon, Meyer lemon, lime, tangerine, naval orange, etc. I love my daily visits to the neighborhood mail box during the winter, because there’s always a basket full of fresh, organic, backyard-grown citrus that’s up for grabs. My kids loving coming with me so they can get their favorite afternoon snack, tangerines!

Beautiful Meyer Lemons

I hate to admit it, but i never tried Meyer lemons until I moved to California. Now that I’ve had them, and pretty much can’t get enough of them, I don’t know how I can ever live without them again! Meyer lemons aren’t as sour as regular lemons. They’re more like a cross between a lemon and an orange, plus their skin isn’t as thick either (as you can see from the picture above). I probably have enough Meyer lemons in my backyard to make 20 jars of marmalade. Basically if you need Meyer lemons, I’m your girl. 😉

A slice of Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cornmeal cake on a plate

Recently we had a casual dinner party and I wanted to make something for dessert that would use up some of the gorgeous Meyer lemons growing my my back yard. I used my good friend, google to search for dessert recipes that use Meyer lemons, and this upside-down cake caught my eye!

A collage Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cornmeal Cake with text overlay for Pinterest

This Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cornmeal Cake is a beautifully rustic cake. When the butter and brown sugar at the bottom of the pan bakes into the lemon slices something magical happens, they lemons take on an almost marmalade-type quality that is incredibly delicious! Plus I love the almost ombre-type effect that the layered lemon slices make on top of the cake.

Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cornmeal Cake – Cook’s Note:

  • I like to fold the pleats of the parchment paper against the sides of the pan after the lemons are in the springform pan, because if I do it sooner, the parchment sort of jumps out of the pan (see picture below). Collage of process shots of making Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cornmeal Cake
  • Make sure the cake is fully baked before taking it out of the oven. If it’s not, then there’s a good chance it will sink while it cools.
  • You cake make this cake up to 1 day ahead of time.
  • This cake will keep, covered at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
  • Do not skip lining the pan with parchment paper. Also, make sure your circle isn’t less than 12-inches. The parchment does 3 things: it makes getting the cake out of the pan easier, it keeps the beautiful upside-down layer intact, and it keeps the liquid from leaking out the bottom of the pan.
  • You’ll need 4 Meyer lemons for this recipe; 2 for the upside-down layer, and 2 additional ones for their zest.
  • This recipe WILL NOT work with any other type of lemon. Meyer lemons have a very thin skin and they are not as sour as other lemons.

Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cornmeal Cake – Cook’s Tools:

Beautiful Cake Stands & Cake Plates:

All of these would be perfect for serving this Meyer Lemon Cake!

A slice of Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cornmeal cake on a plate
5 from 2 votes

Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cornmeal Cake

Author Adapted from
Prep Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
This Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cornmeal Cake is a rustic cake that has an almost marmalade-like quality to it. It's something different for dinner parties!


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup fine cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk any kind but skim
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup butter softened, divided
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large Meyer lemons sliced and seeds removed
  • 2 large Meyer lemons zested
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • Freshly whipped cream for serving


  • Move oven rack to middle position, and preheat oven to 350°. Spray inside of a 9-in. springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut a 12-inch circle out of parchment paper and snugly line pan with it. Spray parchment with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In small bowl combine milk and vanilla; set aside.
  • In a small saucepan bring ¼ cup butter and brown sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Spread mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan.
  • Place a lemon slice in center of butter mixture in springform pan. Arrange remaining lemon slices in overlapping circles that fill pan (each slice will overlap by about half). Press pleats of parchment so it lays flat against pan.
  • In bowl of stand mixer beat remaining ½ cup butter on medium speed for 30 seconds, then increase speed to high and beat until fluffy and pale in color; 3-4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs, 1 at a time, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Increase speed to high and beat for 1 minute
  • Add a third of flour mixture to butter mixture and mix on low speed; scrape down sides of bowl. Mix in half of milk mixture. Repeat to incorporate remaining ingredients, ending with flour mixture. Evenly spread batter in springform pan using an offset spatula. Bake until cake is well-browned, and cake springs back in center when lightly pressed, 50-55 minutes.
  • Cool cake in pan on a wire rack at least 2 hours. Run a thin knife or offset spatula between parchment and pan; release rim. Invert cake onto a plate or cake stand. Remove parchment and cut cake into slices. Serve with freshly whipped cream (optional).

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A collage of Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cornmeal Cake with text overlay for Pinterest

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  1. Lynn | The Road to Honey says:

    Yes, yes, yes. . I need Meyer lemons. In Boston. . .we occasionally come across them in the local Whole Foods. . but it is more of a special thing than a given. You are so lucky to have a never ending supply, along with other citrus beauties. . .during citrus season.

    And this cake! What a perfect way to celebrate this fruit. I just adored that you topped a cornmeal cake with these beauties.

    1. Lynn, your comment totally made my day! You should stop by for a slice of cake and Meyer lemons. 😉

  2. Not only does this look gorgeous but the flavors sound unbelievable!! I can’t wait to make this, thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re so welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Ilona @ Ilona's Passion says:

    What a pretty cake! And beautiful photos. Pinning.

    1. Aw, thank you SO much!

  4. Mrs Minty Cream says:

    I love the combination of butter, brown sugar and lemons. Yummy!! Thanks for the share.

    1. I agree, it’s a great combination!

  5. This looks fantastic! I love lemon-y desserts 🙂

  6. Annemarie @ justalittlebitofbacon says:

    Oh, yum! That looks awesome. I want to live near your backyard. 🙂 Now I know what I’m making next time I see a bag of meyer lemons in the store.

    1. 🙂 Yes, this cake is a must the next time you see Meyer lemons!