Gluten-free Apple Upside Down Cake has all the beautiful flavors of fall spices and fresh apples, in a simple, classic, and fun cake.
This cake is a fun one!
Honestly, I’d usually rather make cupcakes. They’re perfectly proportioned, bake faster, and are easy to serve. BUT, sometimes you’ve just gotta bake a good ‘ole cake.
This gluten-free Apple Upside Down Cake is the perfect recipe to share this Fall.
It’s a version of my gluten-free Vanilla Cake, but loaded with Fall spices and topped with apples and sweet cinnamon sugar.
This cake also doesn’t need to be frosted. Instead, the apples and cinnamon sugar topping speaks for itself. Served warm alongside ice cream, it’s quite the treat.
This Apple Upside Down Cake is great for a dinner party, weekend treat, or if you just love baking with all of the delicious apples that come our way during the Autumn season.
Keep reading, for some tips and tricks, so you get the best apple cake possible!
What are the best apples to use?
The best apples to bake with are apples that will hold their shape, like Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Jonathan.
I usually like to use Granny Smith. I think the tartness adds an extra punch of apple flavor that’s my favorite. This time though, I saw Braeburn at the store and snatched some up.
Be sure to use an apple that will hold up to baking. Google the type you have if you aren’t sure if it bakes well. If it doesn’t, I wouldn’t recommend using it.
What are the steps to this recipe?
This gluten-free Apple Upside Down Cake is split into three basic steps.
The first is the cinnamon sugar topping. It’s quick and easy to make, and you’ll simply spread it onto the bottom of your pan.
The second, is layering your apples on top of the cinnamon sugar topping. Slightly overlap them, and create a ring around the outside edge of the pan. Then, fill the middle in the best way that you can. I kept a few smaller slices for the middle so I could squeeze them into spots and get as much apple as I could into a thin, even layer.
Last, you’ll make a simple cake batter and pour it across the top. Easy peasy!
What kind of pan should I use?
Use a 9 inch cake pan, that’s at least two inches tall. My cheap 9 inch cake pan is only 1 1/2 inches tall, and the cake just about poured out over the top. It holds its shape, so you can still use it. But, for the most uniform sides (and no risk of cake spillage!) I’d recommend a taller cake pan.
What makes this recipe the best?
This gluten-free Apple Upside Down Cake is a little different than others. The cake itself is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and a dash of allspice (basically, my own version of Apple Spice seasoning). I can’t imagine baking with apples without those spices!
The cake also has applesauce in it. So, it features apples in two ways! Applesauce gives the cake extra moisture (without losing structure) so it’s even more fluffy and moist.
Your gluten-free Apple Upside Down Cake should be lightly sweet, with soft apples on top, and spices throughout. The sort of caramel-like flavor the cinnamon sugar topping gets after baking is what makes an “upside down cake” so good.
I’d recommend serving it warm with ice cream (like vanilla, cinnamon, pecan praline, etc). It’s reminiscent of apple pie and ice cream that way; without nearly as much work!
After you make it, let me know what you think. Are you a fan of upside down cakes?! Leave a comment and rating, below. I love to hear from ya’ll!
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 apples, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1/4-1/8 inches thick)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (with xantham gum)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- dash of allspice
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup milk
To begin, prepare a 9" round pan with non-stick spray. Preheat your oven to 350.
To a small mixing bowl, add your butter and microwave till melted. Add your brown sugar and cinnamon, and stir together till smooth. Spread across the bottom of your baking pan in an even layer.
Arrange your apple slices on top of the topping, going around the pan and lightly overlapping each apple slice (and adding some slices to the middle) till most of the topping is covered.
To a large mixing bowl, add your butter and sugar and beat together with a mixer till creamy. Add your applesauce, vanilla and eggs and mix again briefly.
To the same bowl, add your flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking powder, and salt. Mix together till smooth. While slowly mixing, add your milk till you have a smooth cake batter.
Pour your cake batter across the top of your apple topping and spread into an even layer.
Bake in the oven for 37-40 minutes, or till the cake is springy to touch and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let cool 30 minutes. Gently run a knife around the edge of the cake, separating the edge from the pan. Put a large, flat plate on top of the pan. Flip the pan and plate over, and let the cake release onto the plate. Remove the pan.
Let the cake cool to slightly warm or room temperature. Slice, serve, and devour!
Stored covered on the counter, this lasts 1-2 days. Or, store it in the fridge and it will last about a week.