October 22, 2021

by Alyssa

Apple Upside Down Cake (Gluten-Free)

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This beautiful Gluten-Free Apple Upside Down Cake is a show-stopping holiday dessert with perfectly layered apple slices on a tender almond and quinoa-flour cake.

slcie of upside down apple cake on a pan

Sure, many homes have apple pie for Thanksgiving and holiday meals.

It's an American classic.

But it's not the only dessert that uses seasonal produce!

This gluten-free apple cake is a delicious and stunning way to mix up your fall dessert game. It's baked upside down and flipped just before serving to wow guests with an impressive buttery apple topping.

If you're looking for a new apple dessert recipe to bring to the table this year, look no further!

ingredients for gluten free apple upside down cake

How to Make Gluten Free Apple Upside Down cake

There are two components to this beautiful dessert: the fluffy gluten-free cake and the caramelized apple topping.

Start by making the apple mixture and arranging it in the baking pan.

Then, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Incorporate the dry ingredients to make a smooth and thick cake batter. Finally, pour the cake batter over the apples and bake.

When the cake is set, remove it from the oven and let it cool fully at room temperature. Then carefully invert the cake onto a flat serving platter and enjoy!


You don't need any special equipment for this recipe like a stand mixer. or even a springform pan. Just a large bowl, a wooden spoon, and a 9-inch round cake pan.

whole apple cake on a platter


Here's what you need to make this impressive gluten-free cake:

  • Coconut oil. Use slightly softened coconut oil to grease the cake and make sure the apples release easily from the pan.
  • Coconut sugar. You could also use a pure cane or brown sugar if you prefer.
  • Apple. Use your favorite baking apple, such as Granny Smith or gala.
  • Olive oil. This adds a rich, delicious flavor to the apple cake. Plus it makes your cake fully dairy-free!
  • Honey. You can also use maple syrup if you prefer.
  • Eggs. To add structure to the cake and help it rise in the oven.
  • Quinoa and almond flour. These powdery gluten-free flours have a rich, nutty flavor that's delicious with apples.
  • Baking powder. To add height and airiness to your cake.

sliced upside down apple cake on a serving platter

Serving Suggestions

You want to make sure the cake is fully cool before attempting to remove it from the pan. Otherwise, your apples may stick to the cake pan and you'll miss the impressive presentation.

After you've inverted the cake, slice it and serve it at room temperature with a dollop of whipped ream or soft vanilla ice cream.

You can also add a dusting of cinnamon on top of each slice for added warming spice.

Or, if you want to get really decadent, try drizzling the cake with soft caramel sauce and a sprinkling of chopped pecans.

What Apple is Best for Cake?

I recommend using tart apples for this recipe. They'll get nice and sweet as they cook, but tend to hold their texture well. Any of these apples will work:

  • Granny smith
  • Honeycrisp
  • Braeburn
  • Pink lady

slice of gluten free apple cake on a stack of plates

More Gluten-free Dessert Recipes to Try

If you make this Gluten-Free Apple Cake Recipe, be sure to let me know what you think with a comment below and a tag on Instagram!

Gluten-Free Apple Upside Down Cake

This stunning upside down gluten free apple cake has a rich, buttery flavor that's perfect for your holiday dessert spread.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 slices
Calories 310kcal
Print Pin
whole apple cake on a platter
4.70 from 10 votes


for the apples:

for the cake:


  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9" cake pan with cooking spray.
  • Beat together the coconut oil and sugar. Once combined, transfer into the baking pan.
    collage ob mixing bowls iwht cocont sugar and coconut oil
  • Use your hands to spread the mixture out as evenly as possible along the bottom of the pan (it's okay if there are some "holes").
    unbaked apple cake in a pan
  • Arrange the apple slices on top of this mixture in any shape or pattern you'd like. Set the pan aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat together the olive oil, honey and eggs. Whisk in the dry ingredients until you have a smooth batter.
    mixing bowl of cake batter with wet and dry ingredients
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
    pouring cake batter into a pan with apple slices
  • Pop the cake in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes, until its golden brown and cooked through (use the cake tester method to check). If it starts to brown too quickly on top, cover it with foil.
    fully baked apple cake
  • Remove the cake from the oven then let it cool completely. Loosen the sides of the cake with a knife then flip it onto a plate. Slice and serve!
    slices of apple cake on a serving platter


this recipe is adapted from NY Time Cooking.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 97mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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    • I have not tried this recipe with a gluten flour, so I’m not sure if the substitute would be 1:1. If you try it let us know how it turns out!

  1. This looks amazing! What can we use instead of quinoa flour (I don’t like the taste of this flour), and eggs if you are vegan? Thanks so much!

  2. This was easy to make and very good for a fall dessert. My husband, who is not a fan of gluten free items, enjoyed it also.


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