Susan Hart: Apple caramel upside-down cake, gluten and dairy free

Susan Hart's apple caramel upside-down cake is gluten and dairy free.

Susan Hart's apple caramel upside-down cake is gluten and dairy free.

In memory of Dr. Geoffrey Belter, the apple of so many eyes.

“...I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.

And I keep hearing from the cellar bin

The rumbling sound

Of load on load of apples coming in...”

-- “After Apple-Picking” by Robert Frost

What a banner year for apples in Carson City. It’s a good thing apples can be enjoyed in so many ways. One of my favorite presentations is this lightly-spiced cake served warm out of the oven. It provides comfort on these now-dark fall evenings.

Apple Caramel Upside-down Cake

3/4 cup Earth Balance Coconut Spread, divided

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

2 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut in 1/2” wedges

1 1/3 cups gluten-free baking mix

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup coconut milk yogurt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a cast-iron skillet, heat 1/4 cup coconut spread until melted. Add the brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Stir until bubbling, then turn off the heat and lay the apple slices in the mixture in a pattern that pleases you.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the gluten-free mix, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, allspice, salt and xanthan gum. Set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat together the sugar and 1/2 cup coconut spread until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Add the dry mixture and the yogurt to the sugar mixture in thirds, alternating.

Pour the batter over the apples and spread evenly.

Bake 55-60 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate, cool for 10 more minutes, and serve warm.

Bon appetit!

I have recently packaged my Help Yourself Basic Flour Mix for sale. It works well with this recipe and can be found at Sierra Acupuncture in Carson City or at Great Basin Co-op in Reno.

Susan Hart has been cooking gluten-free for 17 years. She can be reached at


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