This post is sponsored by Ontario Ambrosia and Martin's Apples. Ambrosia apples are proudly grown in Ontario by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm and other apple growers in Ontario. I was compensated for my time, and as always, all opinions in this post are my own.
An easy recipe for gluten-free apple upside-down cake that also happens to be vegan! That’s right, this recipe is dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free. It’s a simple cake that’s filled with warm cinnamon spice and apple flavours. It’s the perfect treat to serve as a gluten-free dessert after dinner or to enjoy with an afternoon cup of tea.
Last year, I shared my apple bread recipe featuring the “sweetheart of all apple varieties,” the Ambrosia apple.
This year, Ontario Ambrosia asked me if I'd like to share another recipe featuring their apples and of course, the answer was yes because, as you know, I love apple recipes, here are a few I've already shared:
There's no reason to reserve apple recipes for the fall when you can find Ambrosia apples, here in Ontario, almost year-round.
This year's recipe is this vegan gluten-free apple upside-down cake. It's moist, delicious, and filled with warm spice flavours. It's a great recipe to make and serve as a dessert or to just treat yourself and your family...just because!
Let's talk about how to make it.
Ingredients You'll Need
The ingredients are simple, you'll need apples, brown sugar, spices, gluten-free flour blend, dairy-free milk, vanilla, oil, baking powder, salt, sugar, and applesauce.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Apples - I use Ambrosia apples when I make this recipe because they're firm and crisp, so they hold their shape when baking, plus they're aromatic, flavourful, and sweet, making them a great choice for this cake. When slicing the apples, you don't want the slices to be too thick or too thin, I find that the perfect thickness is ¼ of an inch.
Gluten-Free Flour Blend - I have only used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1 to 1 blend (the one in the blue bag) to make this recipe and have not tried any others. Stick with that same flour for the best results and be sure to measure your flour correctly.
Sugar – For the cake, I have not tried making it with any other types of sugar other than organic cane sugar. White granulated sugar or coconut sugar can also be used. If you use coconut sugar, your cake will turn out slightly darker than mine.
For the apple layer, coconut sugar can be used instead of the brown sugar.
Dairy-Free Milk - Any type can be used, just be sure it's unflavoured and unsweetened.
Oil - Any neutral flavoured oil can be used.
Applesauce - Make sure to use plain, unsweetened applesauce so no extra sugar or flavour is added to your cake.
Are you new to vegan gluten-free baking? If so, be sure to read all of my vegan gluten-free baking tips!
How to Make It
(Note: I’ve outlined the step-by-step on how to make this recipe here, but find the full recipe, ingredients, and directions at the end of this post.)
The first thing you'll need to do is mix together the brown sugar and some of the cinnamon and then spread it on the bottom of a parchment lined cake pan.
After that, arrange your apple slices on top of the brown sugar mix and set the pan aside so you can prepare the cake layer.
Mix the wet ingredients together in one bowl, the dry ingredients in another bowl, and then combine the two to make your batter.
Pour the batter on top of the arranged apple sliced and bake.
When the cake has finished baking, you'll need to let it sit for 10-15 minutes before removing it from the pan.
To remove it, place a plate over the cake pan and invert the cake pan and plate. Remove the pan and slowly peel away the parchment paper from the cake.
Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.
Once the cake has cooled, slice and serve! You can serve it plain, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Oh, and the reason why you need to cool it completely before serving? That's because it's easier and cleaner to slice into when it's cool.
What's the Texture Like?
This cake is not a light, fluffy, airy one, it's more on the moist side with a touch of denseness. This is due to the apple layer weighing down onto the soft cake.
Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Tips for Success
- Use the same flour I use. Baking vegan gluten-free can be tricky because different flours produce different results. I know this particular flour works perfectly for this recipe, so to duplicate that perfection, use Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 gf blend (in the blue bag!).
- Use parchment paper to line the pan. A round piece of parchment paper placed on the bottom of your pan will ensure that your cake comes out clean and not leave behind any apples on the bottom of your pan. You can buy parchment rounds that will fit your pan perfectly, or you can cut parchment paper to fit.
- Make sure your baking powder is fresh. This ingredient makes the cake rise. Baking powder that is not fresh and active will result in a flat, gummy cake.
- Measure your ingredients properly. I recommend using a scale and my weight measurements, but if you don’t have a scale, lightly spoon the flour into your measuring cup until it is overflowing and then drag the flat edge of a butter knife across the top to level it off. (NEVER dunk the measuring cup into the flour to fill your measuring cup because this will guarantee an incorrect measurement of up to 1.5x more flour and a recipe fail.) Learn more about how to measure flour correctly.
- Be patient when the cake comes out of the oven. Don't skip the resting time before taking it out of the pan. This step is essential to your cake coming out of the pan cleanly. The ideal resting time is 10-15 minutes, don't remove it sooner or later than that time frame.
- Don't use a springform pan for this recipe. The juices from the apples along with the brown sugar will escape from the bottom of your pan and leave a mess in your oven! So be sure to use a regular cake pan.
- Follow the recipe exactly as it’s written for the very best results and read it thoroughly before starting.
For those of you here in Ontario, you can find them locally at Loblaws, Superstore, and No Frills in the PC Ambrosia packaging, at Costco (look for Martin's Ambrosia), and you can also find them at Sobeys.
You may be able to replace the oil with more applesauce, but I have not given that version a try yet, so I’m unsure of what the texture will be like and can’t guarantee it will work well.
EMAIL SIGN UP FORM
If You Make This Recipe...
Please let me know how you liked it by leaving a star rating and comment below! You can also post a pic on Instagram and tag me so I can see! (I'm @delightfuladventures on Instagram.)
And If You Like This Recipe...
...here are some other vegan gluten-free apple recipes you may also like:
- Apple Spice Steel Cut Oats
- Applesauce Spice Cake
- Apple Cider Doughnuts
- Apple Crisp
- Baked Apples
- Baked Apple Slices
You can help others to find this recipe by pinning it to one of your food boards on Pinterest. Click here to pin it now!
Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Upside Down Cake
- 2 apples (peeled, cored, and sliced into ¼ inch slices (140g), see note below)
- ⅓ cup (67g) brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (120ml) unsweetened dairy-free milk
- ⅓ cup (80ml) oil
- ¼ cup (62g) unsweetened plain applesauce
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup (134g) organic cane sugar
- 1 ½ cup (222g) gluten free flour **see important note about flour below**
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Line the an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
Prepare the apple layer
- Mix the brown sugar and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon together and sprinkle the mixture on top of the parchment paper in the cake pan. Spread it around so the entire bottom of the pan is covered.
- Arrange the apple slices on top of the brown sugar mixture, overlapping where needed. Set the pan aside.
Prepare the cake batter
- In a small bowl, mix the milk, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and sugar together.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well to combine.
- Pour batter into the cake pan.
- Bake for 33-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for 10-minutes.
- After the 10-minutes have passed, run the tip of a knife around the inside rim of the pan. Place a plate over the cake pan and invert the cake pan and plate. Remove the pan and slowly peel away the parchment paper from the cake.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.
- Please read all of the helpful info above and below before making this recipe.
- It’s important to know that different gluten-free flour blends use different ingredients and ratios, so results may vary if you substitute. I have never used any other brand of gf flour to make this recipe other than Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour (Amazon link) in the blue package, NOT the red package, so please know that your results may not be the same as mine if you substitute with another gluten-free flour blend. The weight listed above is for this specific brand of flour.
- This recipe will NOT work with coconut flour or any other single gluten-free flour.
- If the gluten-free flour blend brand you are using does not contain xanthan gum, add 1 teaspoon to the dry ingredients.
- Weight listed about for the apples is for the sliced apples, not the apples before they have been peeled, cored, and sliced.
- Baking times will vary slightly, depending on your oven and the cake pan size that you use. I have made this recipe in both an 8-inch and 9-inch cake pan, the only difference between the two is that the 9-inch cake will be slightly shorter and will need to bake for a few minutes less about 30-33 minutes).
- Store covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Nutrition info listed below is for 1 of 10 slices of the recipe made as written. Info is only to be used as a rough guide. Click here for more info on how nutrition info on this website is determined.
Patricia Rezic says
This dessert came out spot on! It was beautiful and delicious, everyone raved about how good it was and could not believe it was gluten, dairy and sugar refined free! ( I used coconut sugar) This one is definitely a keeper! I made two different ones, one with pears and the other one with apple. Can't say enough great things about it!
Gwen Leron says
I'm so glad you gave it a try and that you enjoyed it, Patricia! This makes me so happy to hear. I need to make a pear version, great idea! Enjoy what you have left.
Can you use regulae flour instead of gf? Lmk
Gwen Leron says
Hi Arielle, this recipe has only been tested with the gluten-free flour blend mentioned, I am not sure how it would work with regular flour. If you decide to experiment, please let me know how things go!
Made it for Christmas, it's a keeper! Thanks!
Gwen Leron says
Happy to know you enjoyed it, Kay!
Used 222g of a rice free gf flour . it was by volume 1 3/4 cups
Substituted Truvia brown sugar
And scant 1/3 cup of white Truvia with 1/3 cane sugar.
Used gala apples.
OH MY. Delicious. It was just right in cake texture and gooey apple sauce. Served with So Delicious ice cream or without. YUM.
Gwen Leron says
This is wonderful, Arlene! I'm so glad to know it worked well with your substitutions. And yes, it is extra good with ice cream 🙂 Enjoy the rest, thank you so much for your note.
This is perfect for apple season! It was delicious and easy. I used the Bob's Red Mill in the red bag and it turned out perfectly.
Gwen Leron says
That's great to hear that it worked well for you with the Bob's GF flour in the red bag, Nichole! Enjoy the rest and thank you so much for taking the time to leave your note, I appreciate it.
Lovely recipe, as living in other country used 1 cup local GF flour, with adding 1/4 cup teff and 1/4 cup brown rice flour. The result is really good. However when put into the fridge it goes a bit hard/dry, but warming up a bit in the microwave at ~20 sec goes back delicious.
Gwen Leron says
I'm glad to know the recipe worked well with your substitutions, Adrienn and very happy to know you like the cake. Enjoy!