Sunday, August 5, 2012

Apricot-Cherry Upside Down Cake (gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free)

Summer's bounty is here and needs to be preserved or used right away! What do you do to preserve the summer harvest of fruits and vegetables? For fruit, we freeze it, dehydrate it into fruit roll-ups or small pieces, make jam, make fun cakes or crisps, and just enjoy it fresh.

This cake recipe evolved after creating a grain-free apple cobbler (with those yummy early season baking apples). I thought if my ingredient combinations worked as a topping for cobbler, they might work (with a few tweaks) as a base for an upside down cake! I'll share the cobbler recipe later in the season when more varieties of apples are available.

If you are looking for more healthy gluten-free dessert recipes like this one, then check out my new book, Nourishing Meals. I think the dessert chapter has about 50 new recipes ranging from Sweet Potato Custard and Dark Chocolate Coconut Custard to Frozen Banana Coconut Cream Pie and Lime Avocado Tart with a Macadamia Nut Crust to Cashew Ginger Cookies, Carrot Orange Spice Cupcakes, and Gingerbread! All of these recipes I just listed are also free of grain flours and sweetened with a minimal amount of natural sweeteners. Some of them are vegan and some contain eggs. My new book is due out at the end of this month and can be found on our website (with a free e-book) or on

Apricot-Cherry Upside Down Cake

This cake can be made with just about any fruit. Try sliced peaches, blueberries, cranberries with orange zest, or Italian Plums. If you make it with fruit that contains less liquid, like apples or bananas, then you will only need 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder in the fruit part instead of 2. You can use either butter or coconut oil in this recipe. I used pastured butter in my test recipes. Pastured means that the cows were grazing on grasses instead of eating grains (which is, of course, what they are designed to be doing). This also makes their butterfat a good source of nutrients, like vitamins K2 and A (though K values can vary widely). Butter from grain-fed cows doesn't have vitamin K2 because they are not consuming any K1 from green leafy, grassy foods. We humans can also convert vitamin K1 from greens into K2 in various parts of our bodies (much more information on this in our new book, Nourishing Meals, if you want to learn more).

unbleached parchment paper
4 to 8 apricots, pitted and halved
handful fresh cherries, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil (at room temperature)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

Dry Ingredients:
6 tablespoons coconut flour
6 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
4 large pastured eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a 9-inch cake pan onto a sheet of parchment paper and draw a line around the bottom with a pencil. Cut out the circle and place it onto the bottom of the cake pan. Grease the sides of the pan with butter or coconut oil.

In a small bowl mix together the butter or coconut oil, maple syrup, and arrowroot powder. Spread it onto the parchment paper in the cake pan (I use an offset spatula to do this). Arrange your fruit, cut side down, in a single layer on top of the butter-syrup mixture.

Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet into the dry and quickly whisk together until combined. Pour batter over fruit and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or spatula.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Let pan cool on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes then carefully flip out onto a plate; peel off parchment paper. Let cool and then serve. Enjoy! Source:

One of my tester recipes using large apricots (I like the smaller ones better).

More Healthy Gluten-Free Summer Dessert Recipes:
Raw Berry Tart
Raspberry Scones
Watermelon Whole Fruit Popsicles

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. What a beautiful presentation! I must say, you really have an eye for arranging fruit! This cake and the berry tart you did are so striking. I love it! Can't wait to order your book, for myself and as a gift for my sister.

  2. Hi Ali...thanks so much, it looks delicious. I haven't been doing baking lately...very HOT summer here. Can't wait for fall to make this lovely recipe! I love using coconut oil & coconut flour. I think I'm hooked on it!
    Thanks again & enjoy the rest of the summer!

  3. Ali, this is a beautiful cake! We have been making your apricot snack cake from your new book and just love it. However, my preference is to not use eggs. Would I be able to substitute a flax egg for these recipes and others in your new book (which I am anxiously awaiting!)? Thanks for all the lovely inspiration!

  4. Looks great. I have the book on pre-order from Amazon. However, I,too, would like to know if there is something we can use instead of eggs in these recipes.

  5. Can other flours be substituted for the coconut flour?

  6. This looks so good! I saw the picture on facebook yesterday, so I was excited to see the post today :) Yum!

  7. Can't wait to try this!!! Thanks so much for all of your recipes!! We LOVE them!!

  8. Just made this! We happened to have apricots and cherries in the house and added some peaches as well. Served with whipped coconut cream. Delicious. Thanks for the post.

  9. I was super excited to try this and then saw it included eggs :( any substitution ideas?

  10. Thanks everyone!

    I am not sure about replacing the eggs. Psyllium husk powder can work in some grain-free recipes to replace eggs but not all. Kelly from The Spunky Coconut has a number of amazing grain-free, egg-free recipes using psyllium that you can check out.

    I do have a lot of egg-free recipes in the new book, but some of the grain-free recipes do use eggs.

    Your comments have inspired me to work on an egg-free version of this cake! Thanks for your feedback.

  11. That looks really yummy!

    Is your cake pan stainless steel? It looks it from the picture. If so, where did you find it? :)

  12. Hi Ali,
    Thanks again for such a beautiful dessert !!! I'm wondering if you can substitute tapioca starch for the arrowroot. I don't have enough arrowroot in hand, anyway if I decide to risk it I'll post how it turned out.

  13. Wow! This looks great. I love the progression of pictures -especially the way to lay out the fruit in the pan. Liz post mentions whipped coconut cream. Where do you get coconut cream - I have not used this before. Thanks for another delicious dessert recipe and we can't wait for the new book!!

  14. Hooray, it's August! I pre-ordered the book and can't wait for it to arrive. I ordered it from you (Nourishing Meals/Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen) directly. Do you know when it will ship?

  15. Just purchased your first cookbook and want to try every single recipe. The ingredients that you use in your recipes are ones that we love here at home. Thank you! ***We would love to see photos of your garden :)

  16. Just made this for my office and it is getting DEVOURED! Light... fruity, fresh, summery, delightful hint of almond and gorgeous to boot. I am SO making this again and SOON!

  17. I have been looking for a cake for my 2 year old grandson's birthday next weekend. Do you know if you can sub the eggs in this with chia seed/water mixture? He hasn't had grains yet and is allergic to eggs and dairy.

  18. Is there a rule of thumb for substituting flax or chia mixture for eggs? Looking for a cake for my grandson's second birthday, he has an egg allergy.

  19. I don't know of a sub for eggs in coconut flour-based recipes. The eggs are a crucial ingredient and really can't be subbed. I would suggest trying something with sprouted brown rice flour as this is one of the easiest grains to digest and introduce to a child's diet. It also does not need eggs to work with.


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)