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This Upside Down Gluten Free Apple Cake is unbelievably simple to make and so delicious. It’s grain-free, nut-free and dairy-free but with no shortage of delicious apple cinnamon flavor. It’s perfect to serve up for Rosh Hashanah or to whip up for a weekend baking project after you’ve gone apple picking.
Gluten Free Apple Cake
We’re bringing an oldie but a GOODIE out from the archives, updated with new photos! This Gluten-free Upside Down Apple Cake was originally published back in 2015, but we thought it was time to give this simple and delicious cake an updated look. I developed this recipe to be a grain-free and gluten-free alternative for a Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake. Whether you celebrate or not, this is the ultimate Fall cake all season long! This cake is fluffy, moist, flavorful, and loaded with your favorite Fall flavors. It’s also made using a dairy-free honey caramel that is to die for.
How to Make Upside Down Gluten Free Apple Cake
To make this Gluten Free Apple Cake, you’ll start off by making Paleo Caramel. I promise, it’s easy to make. We wrote a whole post all about how to make it, so if you are looking for more information or to read about the different sugar options you have for making it, be sure to check that out. For this cake, if you want to make it for Rosh Hashanah be sure to make the caramel with honey.
After you make the honey, you’ll want to grease a pan (we used coconut oil) and layer some sliced apples inside of it. Be creative as you want when layering in the apples. Just make sure the apples are sliced thin, and are basically uniform in size so they cook evenly. Next you’ll pour in the caramel and set aside the pan.
Making the cake couldn’t be easier. It’s made all in one bowl, with a handful of simple paleo ingredients. We love that this recipe is both grain free AND nut free, using just two flours: tapioca and coconut. After the cake has been made, you’ll pour the batter on top of the apples and smooth it out before baking.
Once the cake is baked, you’ll let it cool slightly before inverting the cake on to a platter!
Tools Needed for this Gluten Free Upside Down Cake
While this cake definitely looks impressive, you don’t need any fancy kitchen equipment to make it. The caramel is made on the stove top, and the cake is whisked together in a bowl. No thermometer or stand mixer needed! To make this you’ll need:
- 9″ Non-stick cake pan
- Cake Platter, for serving.
More Apple Recipes:
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Caramel Apple Upside Down Honey Cake
- 1/3 cup honey caramel prepared
- 2 apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4" slices
- 5 organic eggs
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup mild honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup 56 grams coconut flour
- 1/2 cup 60 grams tapioca flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch fine sea salt
- Make Honey Caramel as directed.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9” non-stick cake pan.
- Lay sliced apples decoratively in the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour the caramel over the apples and evenly spread it using a spatula.
- To Make Cake: Whisk together eggs, applesauce, honey and vanilla in a large bowl. Add in the coconut flour, tapioca, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and whisk to combine.
- Pour cake batter into cake pan and smooth out on top of the apple mixture.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool slightly, about 20 minutes and then run a knife around the edges of the pan. Place a serving plate on top of the pan and carefully flip the cake pan upside down. The cake should easily release onto the platter.
- Garnish the cake with additional honey, if desired.
I made this recipe however doesn’t look as pretty as yours. Not sure why it sunk in the middle. Regardless, I’m sure it’s going to be delish 😋
Should this be kept on the counter or in the fridge? I made two (they are delicious!) and am bringing the second to a friend’s tomorrow and don’t want it to lose the moisture or flavor. Is it ok to leave out for a day?
Yes! For one day should be fine!!
This cake is very good! A delicious texture with the coconut & tapioca flours. I made the apple sauce with some texture still instead of smooth and left the skins on the Pink Lady apples. Also, used a little less honey in the cake. The caramel sauce makes it plenty sweet enough. Would highly recommend this recipe.
I’m thinking of making this cake for my sister’s birthday. In Australia, apple sauce is typically smooth ie. well pureed … but i’m wondering if the style of apple sauce you use has more texture still? I will make it myself, but would like to know what ‘style’ of apple sauce you’d suggest? Many thanks 🙂
Thanks Kelli for your reply. I put it in the refrigerator but it was still runny, even 48 hours later.. I thought it would make the cake soggy. I am in the UK and wondering if the organic ‘Canadian’ maple syrup I bought here is thinner. I also used ghee. I will try it again when I’m back in the US for Christmas.
Anyway I ended up buying a jarred caramel sauce (not dairy free!) and the cake was a hit!
Hi Susan. Sorry it didn’t end up working out, and wonder if the difference in ingredients made up for it. If you do try it again, cook it longer until you can see it reduced and syrupy to account for the possibility of thinner syrup. – Kelli
I want to make this cake later today for a late Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. But my caramel sauce , made with maple syrup, did not thicken. But it tastes exactly like caramel! I cooked it much much longer than advised and even cooked it again after it set overnight. Have to say it was hard to control on a gas stove stop. Kept spurting/bubbling even at lowest temp. It got a little thicker but it’s still runny. What possibly went wrong? May have to use jar caramel instead. Thanks!
Hi Susan. Sorry it didn’t turn out as you expected. We made this on a few different gas stoves, so don’t think that is an issue. As the recipe indicates, it can bubble up, depending on the choices of ingredients (if I recall, it did it with maple syrup). Did you put it in the refrigerator to cool overnight? Caramel (whether dairy free or not) will be on the runny side at room temperature. -Kelli
What kind of apples are best for this recipe?
I followed the recipe exactly and both the cake and caramel turned out PERFECTLY. The cake had the best texture we’ve ever experienced from gluten free home baking and I’ve made a LOT of gluten and grain free bakes. we loved it so much, as soon as the first one was gone, I immediately made another to share with friends. I don’t think my husband and I will be able to celebrate the high holidays without this cake from now on, and we’ll make it many time throughout the year!
I made this cake yesterday and it came out delicious!! It was light and airy and full of the fall flavors I was craving. My hubs and I both loved it! The recipe was easy to follow. I made the caramel sauce using coconut sugar and the depth of flavor was awesome. Very similar to that toasty, nutty flavor of caramel but without all the refined sugars. Will make this one again for sure.
This cake was super easy to make. It was soo good that I didn’t want my slice to end. Had extra caramel and going to save it for apple dipping.
I’d love to make this cake.. how do I make honey Carmel? Thanks!
It’s linked now – sorry about that!
After a day of apple picking I made this great. Really easy and delicious! Half eaten already. My only problem was that my homemade caramel didn’t thicken/harden, was very liquidy. But the flavor was still amazing!
We love that you dove right in and made it already! Glad to hear you enjoyed it as much as we did. For the future, just cook the caramel a bit longer if you feel yours didn’t thicken in the length of time specified in our instructions. Pan thickness and stove tops can differ. Also, caramel thickens more as it cools.
This looks delicious! If I don’t have tapioca flour, is there something else I could use? Thanks!
Can I replace the 1/2 cup coconut and 1/2 tapioca with 1 cup of regular all-purpose flour?
I love how simple this is! And homemade caramel? Yes please!