Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake

This Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake is moist, light and fluffy, with perfectly caramelised apples baked into the top. It’s so easy to make and the texture is absolutely to die for, you’d never guess this Apple Upside Down Cake was gluten free – it will be your new favourite fall bake!

Jump to the Recipe

A piece of Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake on a white and pink plate, with a whole apple, a forkl, and another piece of cake in the background

Ah, autumn! That transitional season where the leaves change, the clocks go back, warm weather becomes a thing of distant memories, and pumpkin spice dominates the entire world! Here in London this week it feels like we skipped autumn altogether and went straight to winter, it’s friggin’ freezing! But with how up and down the weather has been here lately, I’m holding out hope it will warm up again for a while before we’re fully submerged into winter. Our clocks went back over a week ago, so I’m mostly used to leaving for work in the dark and getting home in the dark now, but I am not used to this freezing temperatures, I need to go glove shopping stat! Look at me talking about the weather, how boringly British of me! Let’s talk about this Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake instead!

 Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake is moist, light and fluffy, with perfectly caramelised apples baked into the top #glutenfree #apples #fall #cake

Like I said, pumpkin spice seems to be the fall flavour the takes over this time of year, and I totally love it! But apples deserve their fair share of the limelight this season too! In this Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake the apples are caramelised in brown sugar and cinnamon, so that fall vibe really makes itself known! Apples are a great ingredient in all kinds of delicious autumn dishes though – have them for breakfast in this Apple Cinnamon French Toast Bake from Unicorns in the Kitchen, this Spiralized Apple and Parsnip Power Bowl from Mid-life Croissant will make an awesome fall lunch, snack on these awesome Caramelised Apple and Fennel Sausage Rolls from The Flavor Bender, have apples for dinner with this Slow Cooker Pork and Apples from Beyond Mere Sustenance, and don’t forget the drinks, this Pumpkin Apple Punch from Take Two Tapas will hit the spot! And, of course, for dessert we’ll be having this Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake from yours truly!

So while you’ll never hear me bash pumpkin spice everything (except maybe pumpkin spice toothpaste, let’s reel it in a little folks!), I’m also going to be singing the praises of those wonderful, crisp apples whenever I can!

Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake is moist, light and fluffy, with perfectly caramelised apples baked into the top #glutenfree #apples #fall #cake

Apple and Blackberry Cream Turnovers - Flakey, buttery, from sratch Puff Pastry with an amazing Apple & Blackberry Filling and Fresh Whipped Cream

These Apple and Blackberry Cream Turnovers are another great way to bake with apples!

And this Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake is my new favourite way to let apples shine! Honestly, I cannot stress enough how good this cake is! The texture is light, springy, and oh so moist – something I never thought was possible in a gluten free cake back in my gluten-full days, I’ve never been happier to be wrong! The perfectly textured cake is not the only amazing thing about this Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake, the apples, ohhh the apples – they’re caramelized to sweet perfection in cinnamon and brown sugar, with just a little of the crunch left so every bite is just pure yum! And to really make this Apple Upside Down Cake go to the top of your “to-bake” list, it’s ridiculously easy to make! All you have to do melt some butter with the brown sugar and cinnamon, pour it in your cake pan and layer the apples on top, then just mix up the really simple batter and pour over the apples, stick it in the oven and bake – and out comes heaven in a cake!

A fork digging into the top of a piece of Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake on a white and pink plate

This Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake is one of my new all-time favourite bakes, it ranks up there with my Gluten Free Brown Sugar and Pecan Caramel Pound Cake, and that’s saying something! But don’t just take my word for it, I took this Apple Upside Down Cake into work and they absolutely loved it, I think it even got more compliments than my Snickers Cookies do (aka everyone’s favourite!). This is definitely a cake that deserves a spot in your bake list, you won’t regret it and you’ll probably make a lot of new friends if you decide to share (it’s quite a big cake, but I won’t judge if you decide against sharing once you try it!). So, let’s get baking!

A piece of Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake on a white and pink plate, with a fork in the background - square cropped

9 votes


Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake




Yield 15 slices

Gluten Free Apple Upside Down Cake is moist, light and fluffy, with perfectly caramelised apples baked into the top


For the caramelised apple top:

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup, packed (200g) light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 apples, thinly sliced 

For the cake:

  • 2 & 2/3 cups (330g) gluten free all purpose/plain flour blend*
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your flour blend already contains xanthan gum or you're using regular flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarb)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups (400g) white sugar
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) buttermilk**, at room temperature


  1. Preheat your oven to 325F/160C. Line a 9x13" deep cake tin (or brownie tin) with parchment paper. 

To make the caramelised apple top:

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, add brown sugar and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. 
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon and salt. 
  3. Pour the mixture into your lined pan and spread out. Arrange apples over the top. Set aside.

To make the cake:

  1. Put the flour, xanthan gum (if using), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and whisk together to combine. Set aside. 
  2. In your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld electric beater, beat the butter and sugar together on a high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on a low speed to combine. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and beat to combine. Repeat this step with the remaining flour mix and buttermilk, with the last addition being the final 1/3 of the flour mix. 
  5. Pour the batter over the apples, and spread out carefully
  6. Bake for 60-75 minutes, until the cake is springy to touch and skewer comes out clean (don't push the skewer all the way to the bottom, or it will always come out with a wet caramel on it!).
  7. Cool in the tin, then turn out so the bottom is now on the top. Slice into squares and serve


*I use Dove's Farm's GF plain flour blend which I love, I'm not sure if it is available outside of the UK. In the US I have heard very good things about Bob's Red Mill 1-for-1 GF flour blend but I've not tried it myself. If gluten isn't a concern for you, you can use regular all purpose/plain flour in the same measurements. 

**I make my buttermilk at home, for this recipe add 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar to your measuring jug, then fill up with milk to the 1/3 cup/80ml. Let sit for 5 minutes. It will look a little curdled. 

You can use your favourite type of apple, but the tarter types tend to work better to balance the sweetness of the caramel and cake. 

Calorie information is generated using a third party app, accuracy is not guaranteed. 

Courses Dessert

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 Slice

Amount Per Serving

Calories 312

% Daily Value

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


  1. Marilyn says:

    This has to be about the best GF cake/pudding recipe ever. I made one alteration – I cut the sugar by half in the cake mix and for us it was perfect. I’ll be making it again when my daughter visits. We ate it cold with cold custard from Sainsbury’s and it was perfect, the rest is frozen for our picnic on Sunday.

  2. Deanna says:

    Just had my first slice of this right out of the over- couldn’t wait!! So light and fluffy, so so so delicious! Sometimes it’s hard to find GF baked goods recipes that aren’t also trying to cut out dairy, eggs, and sugar- we’re not trying to be healthy here we just have a gluten intolerance! Give us the butter! Kudos, incredible recipe!

    • Michelle @ A Tipsy Giraffe says:

      Hi Desrayt

      I’m sorry that you found it a little too sweet, however the sugar does not just add sweetness it is also needed for flavour and texture – and I found this amount just right to get a perfect flavour and texture. If you do try it with less sugar, I’d love to know how it came out.

  3. Sophie Wright says:

    Tastes amazing and brilliant texture. Being GF makes baking fairly off-putting for an amateur but this was so easy and totally worth it! Would recommend 🙂

  4. Jane Miller says:

    Hi Michelle
    I have only used Dove’s Farm’s GF plain flour blend once and didn’t have a lot of success. Have you tried Well & Good GF Plain Flour?
    Love to hear from you
    Adelaide South Australia

    • Michelle @ A Tipsy Giraffe says:

      Hi Jane,

      I haven’t used that one, no. But if you’ve had good success with it before then it should work fine as a swap if it’s branded as plain flour blend – just check the ingredients to see if it has xantham gum, if it does you just won’t need to add any in this recipe.

      Let me know how you get on if you try it!

  5. Merci says:

    This is my new fave GF cake recipe, thank you! I used Doves’ Farm SR flour as that was what I had in my cupboard and I didn’t have xanthan gum, so added a squoosh of Golden Syrup. I split it in two and sandwiched it with strawberry jam, sprinkled with icing sugar and served with whipped cream. Completely yummy.

  6. Barbara says:

    Hi Michelle, I made this cake for Thanksgiving Dinner yesterday. I used Cortland Apples which were perfect. I used ½ cup less sugar in the cake & it still turned out perfectly. Thank you for sharing a recipe which will become a family favourite I am sure. Next time will try it with pineapple.

Leave a Reply