Love cherries? Love Cherry Upside Down Cake. This recipe is made with a gluten free dessert sponge. Moist, delicious and very very cherry! Optional dairy free.
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Cherry Upside Down Cake – the best cherry cake for cherry season
My Cherry Upside Down Cake is a full-on cherry celebration. It uses a good 600g ripe fresh cherries AND cherry kefir, which must make it one of the most cherrified cherry cakes out there. And that also means it is perfect for cherry season.
Cherry trees can be picky about their growing conditions, but if you are fortunate enough to be in the right part of the world, the season generally runs through the early part of the summer. In the UK, it usually starts mid to end of June. And I’m lucky enough to live in Kent… aka the Garden of England, so I count my lucky cherry stars every year.
Why is it called a cherry upside down cake?
Shall we state the obvious? Yeah… Why not?! It’s a cherry cake which is baked with the cherries underneath… It is then flipped upside down so that the bottom (which is loaded with the cherries… that now stick to the sponge) becomes the top… And looks way more delicious and inviting than when the cherries are on the bottom.
The history of the upside down cake
Being a little more serious… the history of upside down cakes goes back hundreds of years. The better known pineapple version was of course, the trail blazer of the modern upside down cake world. However, the UDC goes back long before even that became a popular pudding… to a time when people cooked in cast-iron skillets over open fires. As a sweet treat, the base of the pan would be scattered with fruit of all types, before pouring cake batter on top. After cooking, the cake would be turned out upside down to reveal the fruit, deliciously caramelised.
It was only when canning pineapples became a thing at the start of the 20th Century, that the pineapple upside down cake finally took off…
Of course, nowadays, we’ll try upside down cakes with pretty much any fruit. At Gluten Free Alchemist, we love them! We have recipes for a tart Rhubarb & Strawberry upside down cake… A mid-summer Plum Upside Down Cake with Blueberries which is the most beautiful colour… An autumnal Mocha-Pear upside down cake… A Peach Melba option… And even a Savoury Summer Upside Down Cake with Mediterranean veg.
Cherry Sponge made with CHERRY Kefir
Now this is where we get a little clever. A good upside down sponge should be moist, fluffy and a little dense. It needs to hold the weight of the fruit (600g of cherries in this case). And be of a crumb that will absorb any excess sticky caramelised juices when flipped.
Anyone who has cooked an average recipe for gluten free cake sponge will know that they can be worse than dry and ridiculously crumbly… But to be honest, at Gluten Free Alchemist, we don’t do ‘average gluten free cake sponge’. Either way, the recipe for the upside down cake needed a little thought.
I often add yoghurt or buttermilk to gluten free sponges to add moisture and structure. But for this cherry cake, I went one stage further… I’ve added Morello Cherry Kefir from Biotiful that I bought in the supermarket. Not only does it bring the most delightful moist pudding texture to the sponge, but it adds extra fruitiness and a little pink hue… It is after all a CHERRY upside down cake.
What are the best cherries for cherry upside down cake
Although you can use frozen cherries for your upside down cake, to make the most of cherry season, I used fresh cherries and stoned them at home. To be honest, fresh or frozen makes little difference to the end result.
If you buy your cherries fresh, you will need to de-stone them. Panic not… providing you have a Cherry Stoner, it’s quick, easy and actually lots of fun. Cherry season is also a great opportunity to buy cherries in abundance to freeze! Check out my advice in an earlier post on the best way to do this.
Kitchen basics for cake… whether cherry… or upside down or gluten free
Let’s talk equipment… There are a few things I use to make this upside down cake, which will make life way easier for you too…
- The Cherry Stoner is a bit of a must for pitting the cherries. I use a Chef’nQuickPit.
- You’ll need a good-quality non-stick cake tin which is at least 2 inches deep. For ease of removal, a spring-form tin makes turning out a breeze. I usually use a 9 inch (23 cm) Masterclass tin, although you can go for a smaller one and make some extra individual cherry cakes in pudding tins.
- Kitchen Scales are a given. I love my Heston Blumenthal dual platform scales which do macro and micro weighing. And that makes them perfect for accurate measures when it comes to making things like my wholemeal gluten free vegan bread as well.
- Every kitchen needs a varied set of measuring spoons. These Tala Spoons have all the basic amounts you’re likely to need.
- Mixing Bowls are also a necessity.
- A hand-held electric kitchen whisk is the easiest and quickest way to cream sugar and fat and to beat air into batters… I have a KitchenAid hand whisk and love it!
- A flexible spoon/spatula to scrape every last smear of yummy cake batter from the bowl…
A little inspiration for gluten free cakes, not just cherry cake
I love it when people get a happy baking mojo… And at Gluten Free Alchemist, we are ready and waiting with gluten free recipes. Check out our Gluten Free Recipe Book Index for inspiration.
Our top recommendations for summer cakes?
- Flourless Orange Cake with Honeyed Raspberry Coulis is a divine dinner party cake
- Funfetti Cake is a winner for summer birthdays
- Our Coffee and Walnut Cake is a reader favourite at any time of year.
- Raspberry-Lemon Drizzle Cake is perfect for bake sales
- Strawberry Swiss Roll for a summer tea time treat.
- Our Best Battenberg Cake may take time to make, but it’s the best one I ever tasted (gluten free or not).
- And Gluten Free Carrot Cake which is so good, it will turn ‘Joe public’ gluten free!
Have you made my Cherry Upside Down Cake?
If you make my cherry cake, please let me know! It genuinely makes my day. Leave a comment or contact me by email.
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Cherry Upside Down Cake – gluten free
- 9 inch/23 cm round spring-form cake tin (min 2 inch deep) Or individual pudding basins
- measuring jug
- serving plate
- 600 g fresh cherries washed and pitted
- 50 g unsalted butter (or DF alternative) cut into small pieces
- 60 g soft brown sugar
- 200 g plain gluten free flour blend I used GFA Mix A – see NOTES
- 100 g ground almonds (almond meal)
- 1½ tsp GF baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 100 g unsalted butter (or DF alternative) softened
- 285 g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs UK large – lightly beaten
- 230 ml cherry kefir (or DF alternative) or yoghurt – not chunky
Pre-cook the cherry base
- De-stone the cherries in advance of making the cake.
- Base line a 23 cm/9 inch loose-bottom/spring-form cake tin (7 cm/3 inches deep) with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Scatter the 50g butter pieces and 60g soft brown sugar in the bottom of the cake tin(s) and place in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes until the butter and sugar are melted and have started to bubble. About half way through this process, check the mixture and give a stir to combine before putting back into the oven to finish off.
- Once bubbling, remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. Leave the oven on.
- Arrange all the cherries in the base of the cake tin on top of the melted butter-sugar mixture. Set aside.
- Weigh and mix together the flour, almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum and salt. Set aside. TIP : weigh into an airtight container, seal and shake vigorously to mix.
- Using a whisk, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until pale and fluffy.
- Add the lightly beaten egg a little at a time until thoroughly blended and pale.
- Add and fold through the cherry Kefir/yoghurt and dry mix about a third at a time, alternating the wet with the dry for each addition. Fold until JUST mixed. Be careful not to over-mix.
- Pour the sponge batter over the cherries in the cake tin and smooth the top.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 170 C Fan/180 C/350 F/Gas 4, until a skewer comes out clean and the sponge springs back to the touch.
- Cool the cake for 15 to 20 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.
- Eat warm or cold. Delicious served with cream or custard as a dessert. If not eating on the day made, store in the fridge and bring to room temperature (or warm) before serving.
© 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