Upside-Down Spiced Apple Cake



This has to be one of the best cakes I have ever tasted. It does help that apple and cinnamon is one of my favourite flavour combinations and I seem to be going through an ‘apple-cinnamon’ phase at the moment. But seriously, it’s the kind of cake you could feed to a sweet-toothed, non-believer in healthy cake. The grated apple throughout the cake combined with the soft, sticky dates and the contrasting crunch of chopped hazelnuts is just perfect and it feels like such a treat.

I had such a good feeling about this recipe when I started developing it and I wasn’t disappointed. Once I let people taste it, the whole cake was gone within a day! I would really recommend this as the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea as it serves around eight with a decent sized piece. It is also the ideal cake to bake for friends with a gluten intolerance as it is sticky and moist whilst also fairly light, something that often lacks in gluten-free baking. All of the ingredients are easily accessible and are available from most supermarkets.

I absolutely love the sticky, moist apple topping of this cake, but if you want a quicker, fuss-free version this would still be delicious without the topping, or you could make the mixture into muffins in order to reduce cooking time! If making muffins, you could even place a couple of apple wedges in between two layers of mixture for a surprise in the centre! You could use honey or maple syrup to create the sticky, cinnamon upside-down topping, however I have used coconut sugar as it caramelises in the oven to give the most amazing texture. Although the cooking time is quite lengthy, it is definitely worth the wait as covering with foil prevents the cake from burning at the edges and slightly ‘steams’ it as it cooks.



Upside-Down Spiced Apple Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Gluten free, paleo, dairy free
Serves: 8
  • 1 medium eating apple (skin on)
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar (or maple syrup or honey)
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 medium eating apples (peeled)
  • 200g pitted and chopped dates (I used medjool)
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  1. Line the bottom of a cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides with coconut oil
  2. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius
  3. Slice the apple with the skin into thin wedges and arrange in a decorative pattern on top of the baking paper
  4. In a small jug or mug, combine 1 tsp of the ground cinnamon, the coconut sugar and the water (if using honey or maple syrup, only use about half of the water)
  5. Pour this mixture over the apples so that it seeps into the gaps
  6. Set to one side
  7. Coarsely grate the flesh off the peeled apples and place in a mixing bowl
  8. Combine with the dates, ground almonds and hazelnuts
  9. Beat in the eggs until well combined
  10. Add the coconut oil, maple or honey, 1tsp cinnamon, mixed spice, clove and baking powder
  11. Mix until the spice is distributed throughout
  12. Place the mixture into the tin on top of the apples and use the back of a spoon to smooth the top
  13. Cover with foil and bake for around two hours
  14. Around 25 minutes before the end of cooking (when a knife comes out almost clean) uncover to allow the top to brown slightly
  15. Remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool
  16. When cool, turn out gently and peel off the baking paper to reveal your beautiful upside-down apple design!


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