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Grain Free Upside Down Cake
Here’s the grain free cake recipe that’ll keep the family begging for more. A paleo cake that’s just as tasty as the wheat and refined sugar options you could make. It’s taken time and lots of trial and error trying to get things just right with my paleo baking but it’s paid off. My family loves these treat options just as much as the non-paleo versions I used to make.
This upside down pineapple cake was baked in a cast iron skillet which is just like the technique used centuries ago. Baking a cake this way means it’s easier to add the pineapples and ingredients for the caramel at the bottom of the pan and cake batter on the top (so it could be cooked on an open fire). This recipe calls for an oven but… why not try it on your next camping trip? Just add a cast iron lid!
I love upside down cakes. Well, I love all cakes, but upside down cakes are fun because when you remove the pan, there is a beautiful design baked right in. And quite often, if not always, there is also a gooey, sticky, caramel layer coating that design, getting rid of the need for the extra work of making frosting and decorating the cake. And who doesn’t love easy cake recipes?
Paleo Upside Down Cake Recipe
Pineapple upside down cake has been a long-time favorite in our home. This particular recipe has been converted from our old family favorite to make it more paleo-friendly. While we prefer this to be made with grass-fed butter (Kerrygold is our favorite), you could replace it with ghee. In extreme cases, you could possibly try coconut oil, but I haven’t tested that variation for myself. This recipe can be used as your paleo version of a basic cake recipe from scratch.
Grain Free Cake
Back in the day, I would use maraschino cherries in pineapple upside down cake. That was the only time I would ever use them, so it never occurred to me to look up the ingredients. I recently did and ohmygosh! So gross. Rest assured, this recipe calls for only real cherries, no chemicals or colors added. I prefer to use frozen tart cherries and bake them right into the cake, but you could use fresh cherries and add them after the cake is done, if you prefer. This upside pineapple cake recipe is perfect for guests that aren’t paleo, it’s that good.
And if you have gut issues or are generally trying to maintain better health in your life, this recipe (as all the recipes do) leaves out the need for wheat flour, replacing it with the ever-versatile cassava flour. This is a grain free cake idea that actually tastes good. Eating paleo long term means you’re going to want desserts on occasion (if you’re anything like me), so why not have something that tastes really great? Mmmm cake.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Position a rack in the lower third of an oven. Place another rack immediately below that one and put a sheet of foil or a rimmed baking sheet on it (to catch any drips from the cake). Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, add the ghee/butter and coconut/maple sugars. Heat until the ghee/butter is melted and everything it combined. Do not bring to a simmer. It's okay if the sugars don't dissolve, they won't at this point. Remove the skillet from heat.
- Arrange the pineapple rings in a single layer in the skillet on top of the ghee/sugar mixture. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple. If you want, you can also place cherries in the empty spaces between the pineapples if you have enough. Set the skillet aside while you prepare the cake.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the cassava flour, arrowroot starch, baking powder, and salt. Sift it all again to fully combine and aerate the flour. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the ghee/butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the maple sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, another 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until fully combined with each one.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if needed. The batter will be somewhat thick.
- Pour the batter into the skillet on top of the pineapple slices and cherries. Spread the batter evenly over the pineapples and all the way to the edges of the skillet.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool upright in the pan for 10 minutes.
- Place a cake plate (or serving dish of your choice) on top of the skillet, top side down. Flip the skillet and cake plate together, inverting the cake. Remove the skillet. Let cool slightly before cutting/serving.
- This cake is best served warm or at room temp, and preferably the day it's made. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Reheat leftovers until warm for best taste/texture.
- Cassava flour is best measured by weight. If you do not have a kitchen scale, sift the flour, lightly spoon into a measuring cup, and level the top. This will get you a more accurate measurement as opposed to scooping the flour directly into the measuring cup.
- An accurate flour measurement is crucial to this cake to keep it from being too dry.
- This recipe has not been tested with anything other than butter and ghee. If you have extreme dairy sensitivities/allergies and cannot consume even ghee, you can try coconut oil, but I can't guarantee results since it has not been tested.