The perfect little donut twist! These gluten free apple Upside-Down Baked Doughnuts (or Upsidedownuts) are the marriage of two favourite bakes in one ring-shaped doughnut-cake. Optional dairy free.
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First published 19th March 2014… Updated 2nd May 2023
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Something a little different… gluten free Upside-Down Baked Doughnuts with apple
I present you with my Apple Upsidedownuts – Or… Upside-Down Baked Doughnuts – a fun twist on a couple of classic bakes. They’ve been on the blog since 2014… But I’ve given them a quick makeover to simplify the recipe so that they are easier to make with standard gluten free ingredients.
They are made with the same batter as my baked Pumpkin Donuts… Spiced with warming cinnamon to perfectly complement the apple. They’re soft and fruity, yet not over-sweet. And whether eaten fresh from the oven or cold, they are equally awesome.
Baked Doughnuts – a healthier treat, but just as delicious
To be clear… Upsidedownuts are not the fried batter version. This is very much a baked doughnut recipe. But baked is also way healthier than fried. And that means they carry less guilt. Plus… These doughnuts are packed with healthy pumpkin and are ‘topped’ with apple… So doughnut or not, there’s still a little goodness going in.
While the recipe shared here is upside-downed with apple, apples are not the only fruit. The doughnut batter offers versatility to create any number of new-generation flavours and fruit variations… And yes! That includes using pineapple to make pineapple upside-down cake doughnuts.
Apple Upsidedownuts… The marriage of two old favourites
When I first developed my Upside-Down Baked Doughnutsback in 2014, they were completely unique. There was nothing else out there with any similarity. And while there is now a proliferation of pineapple upside-down doughnut recipes on the internet, I’ve still not seen another apple version.
But whatever the fruit, the question remains… ‘Are these Upside-Down Baked Doughnuts ‘cake’ or ‘donut’?’
The Cambridge English Dictionary definition suggests the term ‘doughnut’ is associated with having a circular shape and a central hole. Indeed, it is as applicable to the cake option as it is to a ‘bun’ hair accessory or spinning car manoeuvre. As this recipe is baked in a traditional ring-shaped tin, I guess it’s fine to designate it ‘doughnut’.
But equally, like other upside-down cakes, it’s oven-baked using a sponge batter. And in my head, that also makes it ‘cake’.
So… shape and texture amalgamated, ‘Upsidedownuts’ are my own special take on both the baked doughnut AND upside-down cake all in one tasty ring. A marriage of two old favourites.
Oh and for the record… The term ‘Upsidedownut’ is not in the dictionary. And other than this recipe, I have not seen it anywhere else on the internet. But I love it anyway… A play on words that sums up the culinary twist perfectly.
Gluten Free Apple Upside-Down Baked Doughnuts that are safe for Coeliacs (Celiacs)
My upside-down baked doughnuts are made with wheat-free and gluten free flours and other ingredients… Thus, they are safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac Disease). Just remember to check ingredient labels to be certain there is no risk of cross-contamination or hidden gluten.
If you are new to label checking, then head over to my guide on Coeliac Disease + Food, for some advice.
Can I make this recipe dairy free?
Yes. If you substitute the butter for a good plant-based alternative, then you can also make these upside-down baked doughnuts dairy free as well as gluten free.
In the UK, I would recommend using a block dairy free alternative such as either Stork block or Flora Plant B+tter.
Tips for making upside-down baked doughnuts with apple
I’ve covered the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of ingredients used for this recipe (other than the apple) in my previous Pumpkin Donuts recipe. So hop over there to find out more. But here are a few tips for making the upside-down version…
- Use a non-stick doughnut tin! This is the one I use.
- Use apples that are tart in flavour… eg. either Bramley Cooking Apples or Granny Smiths.
- Peel and core the apple before slicing thinly and arranging it in the doughnut tin.
- If the apples are very juicy, use a kitchen paper towel to pat off any excess before arranging in the pan.
- If you can’t find pumpkin, make sweet potato puree instead. You can check out your cooking options using this post on How to Make Sweet Potato Puree.
- Weigh the eggs for consistency of texture.
- Use only a light smear of butter on the pan base and a light sprinkling of brown sugar to help caramelise the apples.
- Because the apples add extra moisture, do not loosen the batter with extra milk. It should still be pipeable regardless.
- Before baking, gently tap the base of the doughnut pan on the work surface to settle the batter.
- Allow the baked doughnuts to cool for a few minutes in the pan, before loosening any stuck edges and gently tipping them out upside down onto a wire rack to cool.
- If any apple pieces have dislodged, carefully pop them back in place.
How to serve apple upside-down baked doughnuts
These apple doughnuts are moist and delicious. They can be eaten both warm and cold… And as a sweet treat or a full-on dessert. Serve as they are or sprinkle with a little (optional) icing sugar… Or up the yummy level with a drizzle of custard, cream or ice cream.
How to store your doughnuts
Doughnuts (gluten free or not) can be notorious for going stale within hours. However, these baked pumpkin upside-down doughnuts carry extra moisture from the pumpkin and apple and consequently will stay soft for 2 to 3 days. Nonetheless, as with other bakes, they are generally best on day one.
Store in an airtight container. If needing to stack them, place a piece of baking paper between layers to prevent them from sticking to each other.
Ready to make Upside-Down Baked Doughnuts?
The recipe for my Apple Upside Down Baked Doughnuts is just below (scroll another inch or two for the recipe card). I hope you love them.
Don’t forget to let me know if you try them with a comment or a message via social media. (Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest).
For a few more gluten free apple bakes, why not check out these:
- French Apple Tart
- Apple and Mincemeat Cake
- Chewy Apricot and Apple Flapjack with Maple and Cinnamon
- Blackberry Apple Crumble Slice
- Oat Free Flapjack with Apple
- Chewy Toffee-Apple Cookies
- Store Cupboard Apple Strawberry Pie
- Hot Cross Buns with Apple, Cherry and Sultana
And for everything else, head over to our complete Gluten Free Recipe Index. All recipes at Gluten Free Alchemist are shared for FREE.
With my love
Gluten free Baked Apple Upside-Down Doughnuts (Upsidedownuts)
- 6-hole ring donut (doughnut) pan
- piping bag (or clean polythene food bag)
- vegetable peeler
- sharp vegetable knife
- 100 g plain gluten free flour blend eg. Gluten Free Alchemist Blend B – See NOTES
- 20 g ground almonds (coarse almond flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder (gluten free)
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ½ tsp ground psyllium husk (or ¼ tsp xanthan gum)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch fine sea salt
- 35 g unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative) softened
- 65 g soft light brown sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla paste (or extract) – optional
- 1 medium egg ) (at room temperature) Or 1 large egg… But see note below ↓↓
- 1 medium egg white ) IMPORTANT NOTE: The total LIQUID egg weight (egg + egg white) should = 83g. So, weigh the whole egg and then add egg white to make up the total weight.
- 100 g pumpkin purée (canned or homemade)
Caramelised Apple Base
- 1 medium tart apple eg cooking apple or Granny Smiths variety
- butter (or dairy free alternative)
- 2 tsp soft light brown sugar (approx)
- icing (powdered) sugar to dust (optional).
- Prepare a doughnut pan by lightly greasing the base of the doughnut moulds with butter.
- Sprinkle with a little brown sugar for the caramelised apple base.
- Peel and core the apple(s) and cut into segments, before slicing thinly and arranging in the base of the doughnut tin.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Weigh and mix together the dry ingredients: Flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, psyllium husk (or xanthan gum), cinnamon and salt. Set aside. TIP: Weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously.
- Using an electric whisk, beat together the softened butter, brown sugar and vanilla until light, fluffy and well-bended.
- Add the egg (83g) and beat the mixture well until even and airy.
- Add the pumpkin puree and beat again until blended.
- Add the dry ingredients and fold through with a mixing spoon until even. The mixture should be pipeable, but reasonably thick.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag (or a clean polythene food bag) and snip off the end (or corner of the bag) to make a hole about 2 cm across.
- Pipe the mixture into the doughnut pan on top of the apple.
- Gently tap the base of the doughnut pan on the work surface to settle the batter and dislodge any large air pockets and then place in the oven (it may help to place the doughnut pan on a baking tray to bake).
- Bake the donuts for about 15 minutes until the top springs back and a cocktail stick inserted comes out clean.
- Leave the donuts to cool in the trays for about 5 minutes, before loosening the sides (if stuck) with a small flexible spatula or alternative, and turning out onto a wire rack to cool 'upside-down'.
- If any apple has become dislodged, replace it on the doughnuts.
- Once cool, optionally dust with icing sugar before serving as they are, or with cream, custard or ice cream.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist
Apple Upsidedownuts shared with
- Fiesta Friday #482 with Angie and The Not So Creative Cook
- Full Plate Thursday with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
- What’s for Dinner #417 with The Lazy Gastronome
Oh, what a clever, clever idea! And the combination of apples, spice, and toffee is one that I never tire of. Gorgeous pictures, too. I love the shot of the doughnut with the bite out of it. The crumb texture looks so enticing!
Kate Glutenfreealchemist says
Thank you Alexandra. They were lovely and moist and cinnamony…….. I had to be very restrained to just take the one bite for the photo!
That's always the hardest part of the photography, isn't it? Being good and waiting to eat until after you've got your shots (and making other people wait, too).
Kate Glutenfreealchemist says
I know! I always feel so sorry for my family when I tell them 'sorry, the cake/biscuits/bread…. is going for a photo-shoot'!
Baking Addict says
Love the name downuts – I think you may have started a new trend here! Love the flavour combination of apples, pumpkin and spice. Thanks for entering AlphaBakes.
Kate Glutenfreealchemist says
Thanks. I will certainly be trying out a whole variety of downuts from now on! Thanks for inspiring me to invent them!
The Caked Crusader says
They look so pretty – like mosaics!
Kate D says
Thank you….. Now you mention it…. yes they do don't they?
Sarah | The Sugar Hit says
These look awesome! Apple, cinnamon and donuts are made for each other.
Kate D says
Thanks Sarah. They certainly tasted pretty good too!
Kate D says
Thanks Aimee. Sometimes you get a bake that is just made for a career in modelling! And yes 'upside-downuts' are all mine! I googled after I had the idea and can find no other doughnut with the same name and none made with apple (there are a few similar which use pineapple). So yes….. I am well-chuffed!
Aimee / Wallflower Girl says
Oh my goodness. What a gorgeous recipe! And I love the photographs too 🙂 Also, did you invent the "upside-downuts"? Because that's genius…