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. Gluten-free Cherry Upside Down Cake it would be!
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 No-Bake Blueberry Honey Pie, which I shared recently, was a first for me—an absolute winner, but still, a first. And, now I’m making gluten-free Cherry Upside Down Cake, and I like it!
An Interesting Way to Sweeten Fruit Desserts, Even This Gluten-Free Cherry Upside Down Cake
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 teaspoon 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 will also probably work (as noted in the recipe).
Instead of solely using my Two-Ingredient Gluten-Free Flour Mix, I added 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. I was right about that.
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 will 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. Chelsey said she learned that trick from David Lebovitz. I had no almond extract on hand, but I did find some almond liqueur at the back of our liquor cabinet and it worked just fine!
Overall, we found this gluten-free Cherry Upside Down Cake 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 have shared with you in the past, Mr. GFE typically prefers pie over cake(the exception would be ice cream cake) but I am happy to report that he happily ate this cake. I guess it was close enough to tasting like a pie with its coconut sugar-cherry base for him!
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, he rated my No-Bake Blueberry Honey Pie as a 9.2. The fact that blueberries are his favorite and he loves whipped cream may have been factors. It’s tough living with an armchair dessert critic. I’m not sure any of my desserts have ever received a 10 from him, but I’ll keep trying!
Don’t forget my gluten-free 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’.
Gluten-Free Cherry Upside Down Cake Recipe
Cherries are worth picking (or picking up at your farmers' market!) when you can turn them into this delicious gluten-free Cherry Upside Down Cake! Adapted from Robin Shreeves, Mother Nature Network. As I’ve noted before, I can’t always tolerate many of the healthier, gluten-free flours; e.g., sorghum, buckwheat. Therefore, my Two-Ingredient Gluten-Free Flour Mix is simply made up of Asian white rice flour (which is very finely ground) and cornstarch. 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. For pitting my cherries, 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 measurements for the dry ingredients used.
Gluten-Free Cherry Upside Down Cake
For cherry base:
For cake batter:
Not just gf, but gfe!
Cherries are worth picking (or picking up at your farmers' market!) when you can turn them into this delicious gluten-free Cherry Upside Down Cake!
Adapted from Robin Shreeves, Mother Nature Network.
As I’ve noted before, I can’t always tolerate many of the healthier, gluten-free flours; e.g., sorghum, buckwheat. Therefore, my Two-Ingredient Gluten-Free Flour Mix is simply made up of Asian white rice flour (which is very finely ground) and cornstarch. 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.
For pitting my cherries, 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 measurements for the dry ingredients used.
Originally published July 10, 2010; updated May 17, 2022.
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…
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!
Kim @ Cook It Allergy Free says
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!
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!
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.
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.
Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free says
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!!
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).
Celiacs in the House says
Thanks for the shout out, Shirley. You are a gluten free sweetheart!
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. 😉
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.
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!
carrie @ gingerlemongirl.com says
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!!
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. 😉
Aubree Cherie says
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–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!
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.
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. 😉
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!
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! 🙂
MMMMMMM,…your cherry upside down cake, even GF looks outstanding & ooh so fabulous!! AWESOME even!
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. 🙂
Mollie Frances says
I linked to your cherry upside down cake. Your cake looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it modified with almond flour.
Hi Mollie–Welcome to gfe! 🙂 I’m happy to learn about your blog. 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. 😉