Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Nectarine Melba Upside-Down Cake - gluten & dairy free

Who doesn't love a good upside down cake? Not only are they quick to make, but there are as many variations as there are fruits and if that doesn't offer enough choice, you can multiply your options by combining them together. Upside down cake is particularly wonderful at this time of year, because with the Autumn comes an amazing abundance of fruit at its freshest and we are spoilt for choice by the array of flavours and colours that appear in our gardens, hedgerows and on the greengrocer's shelves.

I have recently started a new job and last week, I had my first team meeting with my new colleagues. To mark the occasion and to share a bit of foodie goodwill, I decided I would take along cake. Well.... it seemed a shame not to use an opportunity to bake, especially as our freezer has broken (again!!) and I am having to avoid producing anything more than we can eat.

It turns out the new team I inhabit has no less than three gluten-avoiders (yay!!), with one also dairy free. I have been wanting to make more dairy free bakes for ages, so I am hoping for plenty of meetings at which I can present my experimental offerings....... Let's hope they really like eating cake.......

Having been inspired by a few upside down cakes popping up on people's blogs in the last few weeks, I thought it was about time I joined the fray..... I haven't made an upside down cake in ages...... I think my last one was actually a delicious savoury version which you can check out here.

Team meeting cake, on the other hand, needs to be sweet and when some very large, fresh, juicy red raspberries caught my eye on a trip to the farm shop, my mind was made up...... this upside down cake needed to be nectarine melba! Red raspberries interspersed with deep orange-yellow nectarines, set into sweet, soft sponge......Yum! I don't know about you but for some reason, red fruit and especially raspberries, make cake extra appealing and given half a chance, they would find their way into everything I bake.

Then of course there is the peach vs nectarine debate...... When I was little, we didn't know about nectarines. They weren't on our radar at all, although apparently they were first brought to England and grown here in the 17th Century (was it warmer then?). We always had peaches, which looked beautifully pink and inviting. Whilst the flesh tasted wonderful..... sweet, soft, juicy, fruity decadence ......they were sadly covered in a tough furry skin which fluffed intrusively against the tongue, and detracted from the enjoyment of eating them.

Nectarines on the other hand seem to be nature's clever answer to the furry skin dilemma..... they are essentially de-fuzzed peaches, with all the delightful peachy succulence and none of the frizzy irritation.

Whether you fall into the peach or nectarine camp, for me it is a no-brainer. Unless I am making something that necessarily requires the fruit to be skinned, the nectarine wins hands down, every time.

This particular upside down cake is based on a dairy-containing recipe that I have used previously here, but which has been re-jigged to substitute the butter with coconut oil and the dairy milk with almond milk. It makes for a particularly moist, slightly sticky, dense sponge which is quite creamy in texture and is absolutely delicious served warm with whipped coconut cream or dairy free custard as a full-on pudding!

The slight tartness of the raspberry off-sets the sweetness of the sponge and the richness of the coconut oil. Interestingly, when I told my husband it was also dairy free (I had made extra so that we could try a little at home too) he pulled a face like a child who has been told they have to eat greens, complaining that he 'likes his dairy'. One mouthful later and he was converted! The coconut oil seems to give the sponge an extra depth and silkiness which is dangerously moreish and even he couldn't resist it!

The team enjoyed it as straight cake...... cold and cut into slices with morning coffee which was also yummy, but quite sticky and I regretted not taking a handful of paper plates with me. Good job there were some leftover agendas looking for a purpose!

I am sharing my cake with the following :

Free From Fridays with Emma at The Free From Farmhouse.

Inheritance Recipes with Coffee & Vanilla and Pebble Soup. This is a new challenge for me, but it caught my eye with its September theme 'Back to School'. It is really important for me to be able to make sure my daughter has desserts that rival the puddings she sees her friends eating and that when she has school lunches, she does not feel out of place. Not only is this classic cake really easy to make, but as cakes go, it has some pretty good stuff in it and is both gluten and dairy free.

Simply Eggcellent with Dom over at Belleau Kitchen, who has themed September with my biggest vice... cake!

Cook Blog Share - this week with Hijacked by Twins

Recipe of the week with A Mummy Too

Nectarine Melba Upside-Down Cake (gluten & dairy free)


2 nectarines/peaches - de-stoned and sliced into thin segments
150g fresh raspberries
30g coconut oil
50g soft brown sugar/coconut sugar

200g gluten free plain flour blend (I used mix A from this post)
15g ground almonds
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum (unless your flour has this pre-added)
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
190 ml almond milk 
¾ tablespoon white wine vinegar
90g coconut oil 
300g golden caster sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs - room temperature
100g ground almonds (in addition to the above)


  1. Base-line a deep-sided 23 cm/9 inch cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4
  3. De-stone and slice your peaches/nectarines into segments
  4. Dot the 30g coconut oil across the surface of the baking paper in the base of the baking tin and sprinkle the brown sugar/coconut sugar across the top.
  5. Place in the oven for about 8 to10 minutes, stirring together about half way through the heating/melting process to blend. 
  6. Remove from the oven and arrange the fruit in the base of the tin on top of the oil-sugar mix. Set aside. Leave the oven on.
  7. To make the sponge batter - weigh and mix together the flour, 15g almonds, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. Set aside.
  8. Mix together the almond milk and vinegar in a jug and stir so that it looks like it has curdled. You have now made dairy free butter milk. Set aside.
  9. In a large bowl, cream together the remaining coconut oil and caster sugar with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.
  10. Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time and continue to beat until smooth and well-blended.
  11. Fold in the remaining almonds.
  12. Finally add the flour mix alternately with the milk mixture, about a third at a time, until well-combined, being careful not to over-mix (it should be just combined)
  13. Pour the batter into the cake tin over the fruit and smooth the top as evenly as possible. 
  14. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until the cake is golden, the top springs back to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  15. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 to 15 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.
  16. Eat warm or cold on its own or with coconut cream. Store in the fridge.
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  1. Ooo this looks yummy! Would love it with some custard :)

  2. Oh my goodness! You have one very lucky team. This looks and sounds amazing! I know you are going to get on well in your new job if you take this kind of thing in!!

    1. Thanks Vicki! I hope they think they are lucky.... They will be getting lots more samples in the future, so I will be mightily disappointed if they all go on diets!!

  3. Oh, that sounds amazing!! Thank you for sending it over to the Inheritance Recipes :)

  4. A classic, lucky colleagues and daughter. I love upside down cakes thank you so much for sharing it with the Inheritance Recipes.

    1. You're welcome and thank you. Upside down cakes are one of my favourites too!

  5. All the parts of this yummy cake has its own importance for my mouth... you have really created such a great recipe

  6. So pretty! What a lovely combination.

  7. Your colleagues can consider themselves lucky! Anyone loves upside down cake. There is something to this cake that's special. I love the colour as well + no gluten even better. Ciao!

    1. Thank you for your kind words Alida. I hope my colleagues are ready for lots more cake testing. I can feel a lot of opportunities coming their way!

  8. I love upside down cakes and this one sounds delicious and looks so pretty with the colours. Thank you for linking up with #CookBlogShare x

    1. Thanks Kirsty. You're very welcome. The colours were quite striking I agree. I always love raspberry red against orange!

  9. you're right... I do adore an upside down cake. It's that gooey cakey pudding structure that I love. I adore peaches and nectarines too so this is adorable! Thanks for linking to Simply Eggcellent xx

    1. I agree Dom. There is something luscious about the sticky, slightly heavy, texture you get.... always satisfying!


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