Cherry Upside-Down Cake & “Grab Bag”

This post is linked to Friday Foodie Fix–CherriesSlightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Delicious Dishes, and Pennywise Platter Thursday.

A quick glance at my Mother Nature Network email newsletter the other day revealed a link to Cherry Upside-Down Cake. I clicked the link to Robin Shreeves’ recipe before I went any further. After all, Diane’s Friday Foodie Fix was focused on cherries. Robin’s write-up said that her cake was not that pretty, but the description certainly was and her photo looked fine to me, so I was not deterred.

I’ll be honest. I don’t make baked goods with fruit that often. They are something that I have been learning to like over the last few years. I’m much more apt to eat raw fruit than baked fruit. So I was amazed that I loved this Easy, “Crustless” Apple Pie when I made it a few years back. Even my Blueberry Honey Pie from the other day was a first for me—an absolute winner, but still, a first. And, now I’m making Cherry Upside-Down Cake, and I like it! But, all that aside, one little tip that’s important to know about baking with fruit, especially super tart fruit, is that you don’t have to add tons of sugar to the recipe to compensate for the tartness. You can reduce the acidity of a fruit-based recipe by adding baking soda. Yes. Did you know that? Just adding a little baking soda can allow you to cut the sugar–sometimes dramatically. A version with baking soda and less sugar used can end up actually tasting sweeter than one with no baking soda and more sugar. For this recipe, I added baking soda, but just a small amount of baking soda. My reasoning was that  my cherries were sweet versus tart and I was already using coconut sugar, which tastes less sweet in itself than granulated or brown sugar. If you want to make a large cherry cobbler, you may add a full teaapoon of baking soda (or even  1 1/2 teaspoons if you have very tart cherries) and then halve the sugar if you are using granulated sugar, or reduce it slightly for other non-refined sugars. Try it … I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Of course, I made other changes, too. I used olive oil (and a lesser amount of it than the amount of butter that was called for in the original recipe). Coconut oil would also probably work  (as noted in the recipe). And, instead of just using solely my usual gluten-free flour mix, I added in some millet flour and brown rice flour to the mix. I didn’t add any xanthan gum as this was not a cake that I thought would need that extra binding. In the end, this cake made us very happy. It’s sweet enough, but not overly sweet. The natural brown coloring of the coconut sugar, millet flour, and brown rice flour results in a lovely golden brown cake. (If an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix is used, you’ll most likely end up with more of a “yellow cake” look. Oh, and I also added almond liqueur because Chelsey (The Crazy Kitchen) shared in her Dark Cherry Frozen Yogurt post that almond extract will give more of a black cherry flavor. (She learned that from David Lebovitz.) I had no almond extract on hand, but I did find the liqueur at the back of our liquor cabinet. Overall, we found this to be a very nice way to use cherries and enjoy cake at the same time. I also like that you can cut and flip (to expose the cherry base) a piece  of this cake easily—without it falling apart—after cooling. 

As I told you Mr. GFE adores pies, but he happily ate this cake. I guess it was close enough to a pie with its coconut sugary-cherry base. I asked for his rating of this cake on a scale of 1 to 10 and he gave it an 8. To put that in perspective, the Blueberry Honey Pie rated a 9.2. The fact that blueberries are his favorite and he loves whipped cream may have been factors. It’s tough living wth an armchair dessert critic. I’m not sure any of my desserts have ever received a 10 from him, but I’ll keep trying!

Cherry Upside-Down Cake
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.)

For cherry base:

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved (easily done—see that tip from Aubree, or follow this paper-clip pitting method that Chelsey also learned from David Lebovitz)
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp sugar (I used coconut sugar)
Sprinkling of a little pumpkin pie mix or similar combination of spices
For cake batter:

½ cup butter (or coconut oil), or 1/3 cup olive oil (I used olive oil)
1/3 heaping cup sugar (I used heaping 1/3 cup coconut sugar)
2 eggs
1 cup gluten-free flour mix (I used ½ cup my gluten-free flour mix*, ¼ cup millet flour, and ¼ cup brown rice flour)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp Crème de Noyaux almond liqueur (or almond extract)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease 8 x 8 pan.

Mix cherry base ingredients together and spread on bottom of pan.

Mix cherry batter together well and spread over cherry base.

Bake about 30 minutes or until fork inserted into cake comes out clean. Cool.

Serve au naturel, top with dairy-free whipped cream (my version or Diane’s), or make a simple sauce for topping (mine was a mix of whipped, slightly “chunky” full- fat coconut milk and coconut sugar—very nice).

*As I’ve noted before, I can’t always tolerate many of the healthier, gluten-free flours; e.g., sorghum, buckwheat. Therefore, my gluten-free flour mix is 3 parts Asian white rice flour (which is very finely ground) and 2 parts cornstarch. I gently mix three one-lb bags of the Asian white rice flour and two one-lb boxes of cornstarch in a very large bowl and then store the mix in several airtight containers. It’s a very economical mix that works well in most recipes. No refrigeration is needed. However, I’m sure another mix of other gluten-free flours that one would use in a similar recipe could work as well. And, as always, if you do not need to eat gluten free, traditional all-purpose flour can be used instead.

Adapted from Robin Shreeves, Mother Nature Network

Shirley’s Notes: I used a large paper clip and employed the paper clip pitting method with great success. Who needs a cherry pitter? ;-) Okay, maybe if you were pitting tons of them, you might. By the way, I think this upside-down cake recipe would work for other fruits, too … like blueberries. If choosing super juicy fruit, you may have to adjust the amount of dry ingredients used.

The Grab Bag Part (long, but worth it!) …

Did you see Zoe’s roundup of the Cream of the Crop: Dairy-Free Delights for Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free? It’s been posted for a while now, but definitely worth a look! Incidentally, next month’s host is Sheryl (Breaking Bread) with Ooh La La Bastille Day as the theme. Yes, French-themed recipes. See more specifics on the roundup and meet Sheryl here. Allons enfants de la Patrie … some things one never forgets from high school days and, specifically, French class.

Did you read this article on Lauren, our lovely Celiac Teen? I think the author did a really great job of capturing Lauren’s character and talents. It’s always wonderful when that happens, and it’s so nice to see Lauren get such well-deserved accolades!

Have you been following Wendy’s (Celiacs in the House) new 30 Days to 50 series? She’s committed to getting as healthy as possible before she turns 50. I think most of us can identify with her passion to get healthier. Going gluten free can mean a huge improvement in health, but it’s not necessarily a quick fix for all that ails us—especially when one has gone undiagnosed for a long time as Wendy did. I could also relate to Wendy’s personal story on taking excellent care of her children, but not always herself. Wendy has called in some of the best gluten-free bloggers for this series—ones who have expertise in the areas of health, nutrition, and exercise. Incidentally, Wendy states that she doesn’t believe in “bland and boring” or “pain and deprivation.” I really like that philosophy, and I’ll be following her series. You can read her initial posts here and here.

Carrie’s (Ginger Lemon Girl) got the complete listing of her 30 Days of Gluten-Free Quick and Easy Meals up. Wow! This is a page you’ll want to return to again and again, folks. Every meal can be made in 20 minutes or less! All meals are gluten free, but they also run the gamut of other needs, too. So many of them naturally meet one’s specific needs–love that! I know I’ll be referring to this listing whenever I personally need a quick, delicious meal idea.

Quorn … have you heard of it? It’s a mycoprotein food product used as a meat substitute. Quorn refers to the brand as well as its products. You can read more about Quorn (from Wikipedia) here if you like, but of course, gluten-free readers are more interested in the gluten-free status of  Quorn products. While the company does not bill itself or its products as gluten free, some of its products have been erroneously promoted as such on the interwebs. After her daughter’s violent reaction to a Quorn product, Kelly (The Spunky Coconut) contacted Quorn. In response, the company stated that the product her daughter had eaten does contain gluten even though it is not indicated on the label. Of course, this issue is a very serious one. Read Kelly’s post with the company’s statement here. Of course, Kelly is pursuing this issue with the appropriate folks, but please spread the word!

Recipe love … do you have an overload of veggies and/or fruit from your CSA or garden? Here are some mouth-watering ideas from several of my absolutely favorite gluten-free bloggers:

Melissa’s Spinach Beet Zucchini Pizza (go look at Melissa’s photo before you shake your head—I think you’ll be surprised!)

Alta’s Ratatouille (ratatouille is so much more than an animated movie)

Ali’s Strawberry Hazelnut Shortcakes (just the name has one over the moon)

Karen’s Apricot Blueberry Clafouti (I love even saying clafouti and I just saw some gorgeous apricots at the store)

Amy’s Berry Lemonade Green Smoothie (Refreshing, delicious, and healthy. Incidentally, Amy is also giving away a copy of the much raved over The Ice Dream Cookbook; giveaway ends tomorrow, Sunday, July 11. Read her review and enter here.)

Aubree’s Sweet and Spicy Cherry Salsa (you’ve had peach salsa, you’ve had mango salsa, you’ve had peach-mango salsa, but have you had cherry? I’m making this tomorrow for my support group’s cookout/picnic!)

Speaking of Aubree, if you find yourself wanting the best recipes in the blogosphere, but are pressed for time in your reading of blogs and cookbooks (I hear you, dear), no worries … Aubree is doing it for you! Each week on Tuesday, she features her Top 10 choices from her blog reading of the previous week. I’m so honored that she’s actually chosen a few of my recipes over the last several weeks! Check out Aubree’s latest roundup here.

And, finally, next weekend is my birthday! Yep, the Beatles tune, Birthday, is playing in my head already. (I like this YouTube “video” because of the Beatle photos shared. And, for the record, I did watch the Beatles on televsion when they first appeared live on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964! I was very young, but I still remember.) Sadly, I won’t be attending the amazing Gluten-Free Gourmet Getaway that is being hosted by Good Commons, but if you are interested in a gluten-free getaway, discounts are available to my readers via this link. What I love on my birthday—more than anything in the world—is celebrating with friends and family. I consider my gfe readers to be both, so look for an extra special week of information and giveaways—-all gfe style, of course!

Don’t forget the Cherry Upside-Down Cake … you know you want some. There are cherries at the farmers’ markets and in the produce aisle at the grocery store right now. Just sayin’.

Not just gf, but gfe!

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


26 Responses to “Cherry Upside-Down Cake & “Grab Bag””

  1. Kelly on July 10th, 2010 10:59 pm

    Thanks for helping raise awareness of the gluten in Quorn Turkey Roast, Shirley! You are always so informative in your posts—one smart gal! : ) The cake has my mouth watering too…

    • Shirley on July 10th, 2010 11:17 pm

      Hey Kelly–I’m happy to help get out the word. I’d also like to post an alert (with a link to your post) on the celiac listserv. I don’t think you’ve done that yet, have you?

      Thanks so much for such a nice compliment … back at you, my friend. The cake is good … I know you would love it! A grain-free, bean version, perhaps? BTW, I’m in LOVE with the coconut sugar. Don’t know why I waited so long to try it. It’s sweet enough, but doesn’t want you make more and more. Plus, I like the ground coffee like texture. :-) Need to go back and add that to my post actually!


  2. Kim @ Cook It Allergy Free on July 11th, 2010 12:05 am

    What a fun twist on an upside down cake! I make one with peaches a lot…but cherries sound delish esp. with that combo of orange zest and pumpkin pie spices for the base (or top, depending on how you look at it)!
    Crazy about the Quorn products… i mentioned to Kelly (as did someone else on her blog) that there is also “autolyzed yeast extract” in Quorn products. This is a form of MSG – a major neurotoxin. We found out a couple of years ago that Conner reacted super violently (out of both ends as well) from it.
    I also told Kelly how, one night when I was pregnant with #2, after eating out at a Chinese Restaurant that could not confirm MSG status, I started to feel really weird. Within 2 hours after eating dinner, i was in preterm labor at 32 weeks (after a perfectly healthy pregnancy) and had to spend 2 nights in the hospital to stop contractions! Scary stuff! Never had another problem with contractions after that night so my doctor told me it most likely was the MSG that triggered them.
    Now I avoid it like the plague!
    THanks for the round-up this week! Great post!

    • Shirley on July 12th, 2010 9:44 am

      Hey Kim–Oooh peach upside-down cake … I could see that one being VERY popular! One of our members brought peach cobbler to our cookout/picnic yesterday and that went quickly!

      MSG, and anything that contains it (like that yeast extract), is a wicked beast. Your story on your pre-term labor is especially frightening. So glad that your doctors were able to stop your contractions and all went okay in the end. Another friend of mine gets horrid migraines from MSG. We must really examine what’s being put into our food on an ongoing basis. Of course, the Quorn product has the undeclared wheat AND that yeast extract. After reading more on what mycoprotein is, frankly, I’m not sure why anyone would want to eat it.

      Thanks for sharing your story plus all the kind words, dear!


  3. Chaya on July 11th, 2010 10:58 am

    I appreciate your round-ups. I always learn something from them. The warning is an important one. It bothers me that this can happen.

    We ate in a restaurant that has a big sign full GF menu. They also had a regular menu. We checked and double checked about each item. My husband was so sick that night. He rarely has a reaction but I would guess that one of those gluten free recipes was not gluten free.

    I don’t miss many of the events because you list them. Thanks for being a help to all of us.

    • Shirley on July 12th, 2010 9:49 am

      Thank you, Chaya! :-) It bothers us all that this can happen. We can all be so close to one gluten episode or being glutened on an ongoing basis while thinking we’re eating safely. So very sorry about your husband’s experience. well all appreciate that gf menu, but it can provide a false sense of security. It only takes one worker who doesn’t fully get it and one misstep in the kitchen (or while serving) to cause issues. Even with kind quizzing and reminding the staff, it still occasionally happens to us all.


  4. Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free on July 11th, 2010 11:46 am

    I always love to see what you’ve compiled – it’s my simple ‘best of’ reference when I don’t have time to read everything myself. Thank you for the **huge** effort you put into this…I know it must take lots of time. Of course, thanks for the mention. :)

    And – I personally love that you share your experience with flour blends. In my mind, the blend that works for you is healthier. There’s nothing healthy about eating something that makes you sick. You have to do what works for you. Your experience will definitely help others.

    Sending big hugs!!

    • Shirley on July 12th, 2010 9:52 am

      Thanks, Amy! That means A LOT! :-) I’m happy to help folks and really do enjoy sharing all the info that I think folks will find helpful. We have so many amazing resources for info, recipes, giveaways, and the like! Thanks for being one of the best!

      I’ve been trying some flours that have given me problems in the past from time to time. Some are working, some are not. But, yes, we are all so different and we have to find what works for us (and our families).


  5. Celiacs in the House on July 11th, 2010 1:06 pm

    Thanks for the shout out, Shirley. You are a gluten free sweetheart!

    • Shirley on July 12th, 2010 9:53 am

      Hey Wendy–Aw, thanks! I’m beaming here. :-) Now I need to catch up on your series … it’s on my mind every day, helping me make better, gentler choices, too. ;-)


  6. Iris on July 11th, 2010 6:32 pm

    Happy almost birthday! I love reading your roundup of what’s going on in the blog world. As Amy said, it’s a great way to know what to read when you don’t have time to read it all that week.

    • Shirley on July 12th, 2010 9:55 am

      Iris–Yes, it’s almost here … although I’ll make my birthday celebration last at least a month. ;-) I’m so glad you and others appreciate my roundup. It’s get harder to keep up … there’s just so much good in the gf and wellness blogosphere!


  7. carrie @ on July 11th, 2010 7:06 pm

    Like everyone else has said, I love your roundup too! It’s such a great overview of the week! Thanks so much for the link love and that cherry cake looks SOOOOOOOO good!!! I can’t wait to meet you at IFBC!! :-) Have a great week!!

    • Shirley on July 12th, 2010 9:57 am

      Hi Carrie– :-) … thank you for the kudos on my roundup! I’m all about link love … it’s crazy not to share the good stuff (and good bloggers!). That 30 Days of Quick and Easy Meals is an invaluable listing!

      We’re all going to wear ourselves out with our excitement just leading up to IFBC! Can’t wait to meet you, too. We’ve been “friends” ;-) for a good while now. ;-)

      Happy Monday!

  8. Aubree Cherie on July 11th, 2010 10:00 pm

    Well… if you feel cool that I mention your (oh so worthy) recipes in my small little for-fun roundup each week… imagine my giddy-ness in being mentioned on YOUR blog (which is so much cooler than mine :D)

    The upside down cake looks so oooey and gooey! The best kind of cake if you ask me :)

    ~Aubree Cherie

    • Shirley on July 12th, 2010 10:01 am

      Aubree–You’re way up on my BFF meter with comments like that! ;-) But, please don’t be dismissing your Living Free blog—it’s a great one! :-)

      I made this cake again yesterday with cherries and blueberries. It was still liked by my support group, but surprisingly, the cherries overpowered the blueberries. Most folks didn’t even notice the blueberries, which was kind of sad. But, it’s a winner with cherries or probably one fruit at a time!


  9. Chelsey on July 12th, 2010 4:27 pm

    This cherry upside down cake looks to die for! I bet the almond liqueur gives it a nice flavor too. I am touched that you were able to put all the cherry tricks I learned to good use! And thanks for the mention :)

    Tis the season to eat lots of fruit! And cherries happen to be my favorite.

    • Shirley on July 14th, 2010 10:45 pm

      Hey Chelsey–Thanks, dear. :-) Your post was really a lifesaver! Happy to send folks your way, to your great blog with gorgeous photos, fun text, and scrumptious recipes. ;-)


  10. Alta on July 15th, 2010 3:45 pm

    Shirley, this sounds lovely! I am a huge cherry fan, and yes, that almond extract (or liqueur, in your case) really enhances the flavor. I could really use a slice this afternoon as a pick-me-up!

    • Shirley on July 16th, 2010 10:52 am

      Alta–Thanks, dear! I’m so glad that Chelsey mentioned David Lebovitz’s info on the almond flavoring bringing out the cherries. I had no idea. I still had some left … too bad I couldn’t have beamed you a piece when you needed that pickup. ;-) It’s Friday now … that usually provides some “pick up” all on its own! :-)


  11. Sophie on July 16th, 2010 8:32 am

    MMMMMMM,…your cherry upside down cake, even GF looks outstanding & ooh so fabulous!! AWESOME even!

    • Shirley on July 16th, 2010 10:53 am

      Hi Sophie–You make the best food sounds with your words. ;-) Thank you so much for all your sweet comments. I think you’d really enjoy this cake. :-)


  12. Mollie Frances on August 21st, 2011 7:09 pm

    Hi there,

    I linked to your cherry upside down cake in my post:

    Your cake looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it modified with almond flour.

    • Shirley on August 23rd, 2011 8:15 am

      Hi Mollie–Welcome to gfe! :-) I’m happy to learn about your blog, The Almond Flower, too. Such a sweet name and I love that you are sharing grain-free (and of course, gluten free), refined sugar free recipes there! Your Peach Upside Down Cake looked simply amazing! Thanks so much for linking to my cherry cake recipe. ;-)


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