Sweet-Tooth Friday: Allergy-Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Hey guys!  It’s Sweet-Tooth Friday, so this is Christine checking in with a new healthy dessert.  I am so excited for this week’s post— it’s a recipe from a brand-spankin’ new book by Elizabeth Gordon called Allergy-Free Desserts.

Matt and I were sent this book to review and I am pretty stoked because it is my first piece of “swag,” even though I probably would have run out and bought it anyway!  The focus of Allergy-Free Desserts is, you guessed it, food allergies.  Funny how healthy baking and allergy-free baking are so aligned; both styles avoid foods that make us sick in more ways than one.

Anyway, all the recipes in this book are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and nut-free.  What’s left, you ask?  Pure baking-physics-defying delectability.  Well, that and sugar.  Elizabeth is not ashamed of leaving the sugar in these desserts.  Agave nectar and other sugar substitutes can compromise the structure of cake, and gluten-free goodies already struggle to win the dense-as-bricks war.  And, as she explains, sugar is ok in moderation and better than processed fructose.

The book and the photography are laid out in gorgeous, chic photographs— it feels nothing like a dusty hippy compromise for dessert.  I have made vegan gluten-free desserts before with some success, like the carrot macaroonsBut to be honest, I have never tasted a vegan gluten-free dessert this good before. This pineapple-upside down cake is just divine.

The ingredient list may look intimidating at first, but once you have a few key ingredients on hand, the door to gluten-free baking is unlocked.  You’ll need to invest in some xanthan gum to help the cake rise.  Elizabeth provides an excellent recipe for your own gluten-free flour mix made of garbanzo flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour.  If you purchase a pre-made mix, look for a batch that is made with predominantly garbanzo bean flour instead of rice.  The rice is what gives gluten-free goodies their gritty stigma.

Here is the recipe from Elizabeth Gordon’s Allergy-Free desserts, (Wiley) reprinted with permission.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake


  • 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup organic palm fruit oil shortening
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 14 oz can pineapple rings packed in syrup, drained
  • 7 maraschino cherries
  • 2/3 cup gluten-free vanilla rice milk
  • 3/4 tsp cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 1/2 cups Betsy’s baking (gluten-free flour) mix
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Serves 6 to 8

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a heavy 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 10-inch round cake pan, melt 1/4 cup of the shortening over medium heat.  Remove from the heat and sprinkle the brown sugar over the melted shortening.  Arrange the drained pineapple in a circular pattern over the bottom of the pan, placing 1 cherry in the middle of each pineapple ring.
In a small bowl, make “buttermilk” by combining the rice milk and cider vinegar.  In a small cup, comobine the water and flaxseed meal and allow to thicken for 3 to 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the baking mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum.  Add the remaining 1/3 cup shortening, the “buttermilk” mixture, granulated sugar, and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the flaxseed mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.
Pour the batter on top of the pineapple in the cast-iron skillet.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in teh center comes out clean.  Remove it form the oven and immediately turn the cake upside down on a serving platter, leaving the pan in place on top of the cake for a few minutes whilte the borwn sugar runs down the sides of trhe cake.  Allow the cake to cool complteely before serving.
Store the cooled cake, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

Yum, yum, and yum again.  This was a hit at my house!  I can definitely see myself baking this one again, even for people who can have gluten!  Who wouldn’t prefer chickpea flour over empty carbs when it tastes this good? Plus, it was really cool to bake in a cast-iron skillet.  Hardcore!

Give this cake a shot, and come back next week when I’ll post the chat I had with the author, Elizabeth Gordon.  Yep, lil ol’ me did an interview!  Elizabeth is sweet as allergy-free pie, and I learned all about her unconventional culinary journey.

See you next Sweet-Tooth Friday!
xoxo, Christine



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  1. Sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing 🙂
    .-= Heather @ Side of Sneakers´s last blog ..Wheat Berry Ready =-.

  2. That looks delicious. What a great recipe!

  3. This looks so good! I can almost taste it, looking at the picture.

  4. I’m a cookbook addict. I have to get my hands on this one.

  5. I made this tonight, replacing the pineapple with pears and adding cardamom and cinnamon. It was delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe with us.

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