Gluten Free Apple Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Sharon L. | What the Fork Food Blog

Fresh Apples caramelized with brown sugar and butter make this Gluten Free Apple Upside-Down Cake an irresistible dessert! It's perfect for Thanksgiving.

This Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake is THE fall cake recipe you need to make this year! It’s a simple, one-layer cake that isn’t fancy but is anything but basic.

I kept the flavor of the cake fairly “plain”, if you want to call it that. It’s flavored with brown sugar and it’s fantastic. I purposely chose not to add cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice to the cake because I wanted the brown sugar flavor to shine.

Gluten Free Apple Upside-Down Cake Photo

Spices would have completely overshadowed that and definitely I wasn’t going for a spice cake here. There are plenty of other times for a spiced apple cake, just not with this one!

However, if you’re thinking this cake is going to be too bland or boring, think again. I did add a little cinnamon to the apples.

Personally, I think apples are really bland when baked. Without any spice, baked apples don’t really taste like anything but warm, mushy apples. They kind of remind me of baby food.

The little bit of cinnamon dusting on the apples for this apple upside down cake go a looong way. It brings out the sweet apple flavor without completely taking over.

In my opinion, it’s just perfect.

Gluten Free Apple Upside-Down Cake Picture

When making this gluten free apple upside-down cake, there are a few things you want to keep in mind.

  1. Use the right apples for baking
  2. Use a cake pan with high enough sides.

I wrote a whole post detailing what the best apples for baking are. The key is using firm apples. For this recipe, I use Golden Delicious Apples, a firm-sweet apple.

Don’t use soft apples like Macintosh in this recipe. They don’t hold up when baking and will become mushy. They won’t hold their shape for a beautiful presentation like you see in the photos.

When you bake this cake, use a deep-dish 9-inch pie plate or a 9x3 inch round cake pan. You want the high sides so the cake batter and butter/sugar mixture don’t over-flow the sides.

If you use a glass Pyrex pie dish, you may want to put a sheet pan under the dish in case anything bubbles over the sides.

Gluten Free Apple Upside-Down Cake Image

Whatever you do, don’t use a springform pan. The butter/brown sugar will leak out the bottom of the pan and cause a huge mess in your oven.

Once your cake is cooled, be sure to invert it onto a cake plate about 20 minutes after it comes out of the oven. A trick I do is leave the cake pan over the top of the cake for about 10 minutes after flipping. Gravity does wonders in helping the cake come out cleanly and beautifully.

Enjoy this delicious gluten free fall dessert! If you’re looking for other ways to bake with apples, try my Gluten Free Apple Pie Bars! They taste just like apple pie but with much less work!

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Gluten Free Apple Upside-Down Cake Recipe

    10 Servings


For the Apple Layer:
  • 1 large Golden Delicious Apple, peeled and sliced (about 160 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed (115g)
For the Cake:
  • 1 2/3 cups Sharon’s Nightshade-Free Gluten Free Flour Blend
  • 1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum, (3g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder, (2g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt, (3g)
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar, (51g)
  • 3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, (174g)
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, melted (4 oz)
  • 1 large Egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider, room temperature (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x3 inch round cake pan with non-stick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, and ground cinnamon. Stir to coat the apples in the cinnamon. Line the bottom of the cake pan with the apples, arranging them decoratively. They can be over lapping some.
  3. Stir together the melted butter and brown sugar. Dollop the brown sugar mixture over the apples, distributing it evenly throughout the pan. Gently spread the sugar mixture over the apples the best you can. It’s ok if the apples aren’t all quite covered, the sugar will melt and spread out as the cake bakes. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and granulated sugar then set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar, melted butter, egg, buttermilk, apple cider, and vanilla extract.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  7. Transfer the batter to the cake pan and spread the batter evenly over the apples.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then run a knife along the edge of the pan. Place a flat cake plate over the top of the cake pan. Flip the plate and cake pan together to invert the cake onto the plate. Keep the cake pan over the plate for about 5 minutes before carefully removing.
  10. Remove the parchment paper and discard.
  11. Serve the cake warm or room temperature with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.


  • Omit the xanthan gum called for in this recipe if the flour blend you use already contains it.
  • If you don’t have apple cider, you sub it for ¼ cup buttermilk or ¼ cup apple juice.


Cooking Method:
Gluten Free
Gluten Free Desserts
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Related Recipes:
Gluten Free Dessert Recipes, Gluten Free Baking Recipes, Gluten Free Recipes, Cake Recipes, Baking Recipes, Baked Recipes, Party Food Recipes, Fall Recipes, Family Meals and Snack Recipes, Apple Recipes
Recipe Yields:
1 cake
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: Sharon L.
Recipe Yields: 1 cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 slice
Servings Per Recipe 10

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 115
Calories 277

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g
  Saturated Fat 9g
Sodium 164mg
Total Carbohydrate 37g
  Dietary Fiber 1g
  Sugars 35g
Protein 1g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
Sharon L.

About Sharon

Sharon is our latest gluten free fanatic. We love her easy approach to gluten free recipes that are versatile enough to be gluten-full too. Try one, you'll see what we mean. Find her at What the Fork Food Blog every day.

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