Gluten Free Cranberry Upside Down Cake Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on November 23, 2009

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Gluten Free Cranberry Upside Down Cake Recipe

There has been a conspicuous lack of desserts on my blog lately. Wisdom and good sense dictate that since I am writing a gluten free dessert book I should not be publishing dessert recipes on my blog. But I’ve never been one to worry too much about wisdom and good sense.

Besides, when I heard that the lovely Elana from Elana’s Pantry was hosting this month’s Go Ahead Honey, it’s Gluten Free event and that the theme was grain-free cakes or cupcakes, I knew I had just the entry. Not only is this Gluten Free Cranberry Upside Down Cake gluten- and grain-free, it also happens to be perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

Topped with a jewel-like crown of glistening cranberries, this upside down cranberry cake is a beautiful addition to any holiday table or dessert buffet.

Even though the cake is inverted onto a serving platter after baking I cook it in a springform pan as a regular cake pan isn’t deep enough. Just be sure to wrap the outside of your pan with foil first or you will have the pleasure of cleaning your oven as well as serving this show stopping cake.

Gluten Free Cranberry Upside Down Cake Recipe



5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
2 ½ cups fresh cranberries, washed and dried


8 ounces pure almond paste (not marzipan or tart filling)
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
3 ¼ cup blanched almond flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray and wrap the outside with two sheets of aluminum foil pinching it well around the bottom.


In a small, heavy saucepan, cook the butter, brown sugar and salt over medium heat until the butter is melted, the sugar dissolved and the mixture comes to a slow boil. Pour into prepared pan, spreading evenly and top with the cranberries. Even out the cranberries and gently push them into the brown sugar mixture. Let cool slightly while preparing the cake.


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the almond paste with the butter until smooth (about 2 minutes). Add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy (about 2 more minutes). Turn mixer to low and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each egg is fully mixed in, scrapping down the sides of the bowl with each addition. Add the vanilla extract and orange zest and mix in well.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low, add half the almond flour mixture, then the orange juice and finally the rest of the almond flour mixture and mix well. With a large spatula, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well to make sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Pour the batter over the cranberries, place the pan on a baking dish and bake for 35-45 minutes or until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes and then invert the pan onto a serving platter. Let the pan stay on the cake for 2-3 minutes, then remove it. Let the cake cool.

This gluten-free cake is best served slightly warm or at room temperature and is especially good served with lightly sweetened whipped cream.


This Gluten Free Cranberry Upside Down Cake recipe serves 10-12

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owner’s. This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Affiliate links may be included in this post.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie November 23, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Oh my! This cake looks so good! Thanks for sharing such a fabulous dessert recipe! Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving :)


H.Peter November 23, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I already placed my copy for a signed and dedicated copy. So go ahead and publish…


Federica November 23, 2009 at 1:36 pm

splendida questa torta! complimenti!


Lauren November 23, 2009 at 2:35 pm

This looks delicious! Can't wait for the book, I'm positive it will be fabulous =D.


GF Gidget November 23, 2009 at 4:56 pm



Daily Spud November 23, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Show-stopping indeed! And I'd still be getting a copy of your book, even if you published all of the recipes on your blog, so there :)


Jailen November 17, 2011 at 8:39 am

I was so confused about what to buy, but this makes it understaabndle.


Carol Kicinski November 18, 2011 at 8:56 am

Thank you, glad to help!


Jenn/CinnamonQuill November 23, 2009 at 5:56 pm

This is stunning. Definitely bookmarking it!


Jas. November 23, 2009 at 7:34 pm

oh – I love when photo just fill your mind with the scents and memories of the season and this screams christmas! Love it and the recipe.


Chow and Chatter November 23, 2009 at 8:07 pm

oh wow what a fab cake and great color with the red


Iris November 24, 2009 at 7:41 am

What a perfect holiday dish!


Jennifer (Savor) November 24, 2009 at 9:52 am

I have yet to use almond flour–how does the texture come out? I have many gluten free recipes but have yet to make any muffins/cakes without AP or WW flour


Naomi Devlin November 24, 2009 at 11:24 am

Did nobody notice that you forgot to list the sugar in the cake? I thought for a moment it was sugar free – but sugar free and cranberries = sour! It looks like an absolutely gorgeous cake. Thanks for taking part in Go Ahead Honey.

x x x


Simply...Gluten-free November 24, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Re Naomi's comment:
Oops – recipe has been corrected now and has the sugar for the cake listed in the ingredients. That's what happens when your blog host starts loosing her mind.


Marillyn Beard November 30, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Looks beautiful!! Wish we had access to cranberries & almond flour/paste. At least I can enjoy it with my eyes :o)


Jenn November 30, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Oh what a perfect cake for fall!! Mmmm I love cranberries, and I bet the almond paste really adds a great flavor to the cake!!


Amy December 1, 2009 at 12:23 am

I just found this cute video at the bottom of this page with a great video:


Cynthia December 1, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Wow, you are the best. I am sending your link (yet again) to another friend who is on a gluten-free diet.


gfe--gluten free easily December 5, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Phenomenal use of cranberries, Carol! So pretty. :-)



heidi leon December 8, 2009 at 7:05 pm

this looks great, can I substitute the almond flour for other type of flour? I can't find it around here..


Jamie Stern February 10, 2010 at 8:45 am

I found your blog and wanted to get in contact with you regarding your recipes.

I have launched an online store dedicated to providing resources and products to people suffering with Food Allergies, Food Intolerance and those requiring other special diets.

One of those resources is giving my customers some great recipes to try…and in the process, promoting cookbook authors/bloggers.

If you are interested in participating, I provide direct reference to your blog and also include a link back to your website.
I can pull your entries directly from your site. I add them individually with social media mentions as well. Additionally, I feature an author each month in my newsletters.

I also noted that you are a Tampa resident, I am as well.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Michelle November 2, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I have been cooking with almond flour – no problems But I HATE almond paste, is there any way to do this cake without it? what does it add to the cake besides flavor? what could I substitute it with? I used to make a cake like this when I ate Gluten and I loved it.


Carol Kicinski November 16, 2011 at 8:45 am

I think if you don’t like almond paste that this is not the recipe for you – it adds structure as well as a very unique flavor. You could try to make it without but I am not sure what it would be like – almond paste is basically almonds and sugar so you would need to add sugar for sure.


Jude November 15, 2014 at 10:57 pm

I just tried your cranberry upside down cake with high hopes, and didn’t realize until after it was in the oven that the commercial almond paste is not guten-free. (So, alas, I had to eat it by myself.) I also found it very very sweet, and am wondering if you have since done anything with the recipe to temper the sweetness.


Carol Kicinski December 1, 2014 at 11:06 am

Hi Jude,

Hmm, I’m sorry it didn’t quite work out for you. No, I haven’t changed the modified the recipe, but I will certainly keep your comment in mind, as I will go back and review it.

I hope you had a great holiday!



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