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Candied Apple Cranberry Upside-Down Cake and a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving!

gluten free thanksgiving menu

A Gluten-Free Holiday Week: Thanksgiving Favorites

….and along with a fun new Thanksgiving Dessert Recipe, I am also bringing back my Thanksgiving Prep Series that I ran last year.

It is no secret that Thanksgiving is my ultimate FAVORITE holiday. I host it at my house every single year.

Oh. And this way? I get out of having to host Christmas.

I decided last year to do an entire Thanksgiving Prep Series, where I shared everything from my prep schedule, to each of my allergy-friendly Thanksgiving recipes, and right on down to my Thanksgiving Feast Master Shopping List.

It was met with quite the response. I have never answered SO many Thanksgiving-based emails in my life. But, the rewarding part was afterwards when my inbox was filled with people telling me how the series helped them to get through the holiday without the stress or crazy kitchen mishaps or disasters.

So, in addition to sharing this dangerously decadent Allergy-Friendly, Gluten Free Candied Apple Cranberry Upside-Down Cake, I am bringing back my Allergy-Friendly Thanksgiving Prep series!

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Recipes

Annual CIAF Allergy-Friendly Thanksgiving Prep Series!

PART 1: The Menu and The Plan of The Ultimate Thanksgiving Series

PART 2: Cranberry Citrus Cider Sauce AND Green Bean and Shallot Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette.

PART 3: The Gluten-Free Cornbread Recipe for the stuffing (with the Variation to make the Savory Cornbread Rosemary Muffins to go with the meal) and Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes.

PART 4: Gluten Free Cornbread/Bread Stuffing With Apples, Sausage, Pine Nuts and a secret ingredient that  you will NOT want to leave out.

PART 5: Cider Glazed Brined Turkey with Apple Brandy Gravy

PART 6: Toffee Pecan Caramel Apple Streusel (Gluten-free and Egg-free already, but ways to make this baby Dairy-free and Nut-free as well) and Crustless Pumpkin Streusel Pie.

PART 7: The Shopping List



Now for this Candied Apple Cranberry Upside-Down Cake. As written it is Gluten-free and Dairy-free, and I also tell you how to easily adapt it to be egg-free and nut-free as well. And one of my favorite things is it is GUM-FREE with a perfect moist crumb.

This cake is a wonderful end to a Thanksgiving feast. And your yummy topping will look FAR better than mine does here. Every time I make this cake, I line my cake pan with a round piece of parchment paper that fits just right into the bottom. It makes the cake come out of the pan perfectly.

Of course, as I was making this cake again the other day, I had no parchment paper. And none of my neighbors were home to beg and borrow from.  So I attempted to make it without. Do not do what I did. Use the parchment paper, people!

Half of my favorite part of the cake (the caramelized topping) stayed in the pan. I tried to put some of it back on, but the end result was not near as beautiful as my past successes with this cake. So I repeat. Use the parchment paper. Your cake will look much prettier than this…

Oh. P.S. The raw cranberries pictured below are for garnish only. I do not recommend feeding raw cranberries to your guests. Even my dog will not touch them…and that says a lot.

Dairy Free Whipped Cream Recipes

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Candied Apple-Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Easily adapted to be Egg-Free and Nut-free


  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries, measure while whole, then dice them in half
  • 1 small apple, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar, or Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Superfine Brown Rice Flour (such as Authentic Foods brand)
  • 1/2 cup Almond Flour -such as Honeyville (For NUT-FREE: use equal amount Corn Flour, OR Quinoa Flour, OR Millet Flour)
  • 1/4 cup Millet Flour
  • 1/4 cup Arrowroot Starch
  • 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder, Aluminum-Free
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 8 Tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Stick (or Regular Butter, or Coconut Oil) softened to Room Temperature-IMPORTANT
  • 1 Cup Blonde Coconut Palm Sugar OR Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, Room Temperature-IMPORTANT (For EGG-FREE: Mix together in small bowl: 3 Tbsp Unsweetened Applesauce with 1 1/2 tsp additional Baking Powder with 2 Tbsp Warm Water and with 1 1/2 tsp Ener G Egg Replacer – use mixture where you would add eggs)
  • 1 Cup Plain Coconut Milk (such as So Delicious) Room Temperature-IMPORTANT (or regular Milk)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract


1.  Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Generally grease a 9 inch round cake pan. Using the bottom of your round pan, trace around the pan on parchment paper the exact size of your pan bottom.  Cut the piece of parchment paper to fit just in the bottom of pan, without letting it go up the sides.

2.  In bottom of pan on top of parchment, place the oil and then put in oven for 1 minute, until oil is fully melted. Then add sugar evenly over bottom of pan, mixing with oil. Place pan back in oven for 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle cinnamon over sugar, lay thinly sliced apples in a ring and place cranberries over apples. Place pan back in over for 3 minutes, or until it begins to bubble slightly. Remove from oven while finishing batter prep.

3.  In medium bowl, mix together Superfine Brown Rice Flour, Almond Flour, Millet Flour, Arrowroot Starch, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Sea Salt.  Whisk together until light and airy.

4.  In bowl of electric stand mixer, beat Earth Balance Butter (or Regular Butter) and Sugar for 3 – 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Then add eggs (or Egg Replacer), one at a time, continue mixing.  Add vanilla and mix again until incorporated.

5.  While mixer is going on low speed, slowly add 1/3 cup of the milk then add 1/2 of dry ingredient mixture. Then another 1/3 cup of the milk, and the remaining half of the dry mix. Finish with the last of the milk. Stop occasionally to scrape down sides with rubber spatula. Once all dry mixture is added, continue to mix until well-incorporated and batter seems light.

6.  Pour batter over apple-cranberry mixture.

7.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then invert onto plate. Remove parchment paper from cake top. Top with homemade Coconut Whipped Cream. And for even more Dairy-free Whipped Cream Recipes and resources, visit Go Dairy Free.

And for more Thanksgiving Favorites:

Cranberry Ice Cream from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free

Creative Leftovers: Baked Turkey Croquettes from Daily Bites

Plumberry Sauce or Jam from Diet Desserts and Dogs

Pumpkin Granola from She Let Them Eat Cake

Thanksgiving Prep from Tasty Eats At Home



  1. On November 10, 2011 Jeanie said

    I would really like to win that Asian cookbook. Gluten Free style!

    By the way, your cranberry and apple upside down cake looks amazing. What a great idea with that combo. I bet the sour with the sweet gives it such a delish taste!
    thanks for sharing it!

  2. On November 10, 2011 Z.Grimm said

    Thanks for sharing this recipe – cranberries are one of my favourite things about the holiday season. Good luck to everyone else who is entering the contest!

  3. On November 11, 2011 Gail said

    It would be awesome to win a copy of your Asian Kitchen cookbook. and the photo of your Apple Cranberry Upside Down Cake is making me salivate for this apple and cranberry dish.

  4. On November 11, 2011 Christine said

    These recipes look great and for someone who was recently diagnosed the holidays will be difficult to navigate (that and I really love Asian food and that is even harder to give up than the holiday food).

  5. On November 11, 2011 Adrian said

    That cake looks so yummy. I can’t wait to try the recipe!

  6. On November 11, 2011 Tara Meek said

    Sharing with all my facebook friends these wonderful recipes. New to gluten free. But also have three in my family who cannot have dairy, eggs or cane sugar. It has been a struggle but very thankful for your website with recipes.

    • On November 11, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Yay! Thanks so much, Tara! Hope you enjoy the recipes! Let me know if you have any questions! 😉

  7. On November 11, 2011 julie said

    I would love to win the gf asian cookbook. I definitely miss good asian food

  8. On November 11, 2011 Staci A said

    The cake looks amazing! I would love the cookbook. I really need some new recipes!

  9. On November 11, 2011 Richa@HobbyandMore said

    Also linked up my vegan Tiramisu Pancakes. with glutenfree option.. a must his holiday season!

  10. On November 11, 2011 InTolerantChef said

    Even with a stuck bottom/top it looks lovely!

  11. On November 11, 2011 Janis said

    Love Asian food- a gf asian cookbook would be great to win.

  12. On November 11, 2011 Janis said

    I shared this on facebook.

  13. On November 11, 2011 sherryann varano said

    I would really like to try some of these recipes, they all sound so delicious! i would also like to win your cookbook. The candied apple cranberry upside down cake looks so tasty. I will be sharing this on facebook. Thanks Sherry

  14. On November 11, 2011 Sarah said

    I love it!

  15. On November 12, 2011 Cara said

    My of my favorite traditions is simply being with my family in the kitchen. 🙂

  16. On November 12, 2011 Laura @ GFPantry said

    Thanks for hosting. I shared Pumpkin Ice Cream-Dairy Free!

  17. On November 12, 2011 Annie in Illinois said

    I would like to do more asian cooking. I use my electric wok all the time, but my family doesn’t like my stirfries since I went gluten free. This is one giveaway that would really improve my life!

  18. On November 12, 2011 Alison said

    I’ve seen the Asian cookbook at my local natural foods store! Would love to win it! Thanks!

  19. On November 12, 2011 Marcy Jablonski said

    Just tried the Candied Apple & Cranberry Cake. Substituted agave syrup for the sugar (decreased milk by 1/4 cup) as I don’t use any refined sugars. I also used dried cranberries instead of fresh and quinoa flour instead of millet because I had them both on hand. It turned out ABSOLUTELY amazing. The cake is light and fluffy with just a hint of cinnamon! Even my husband loved it (he’s not gluten-free). Thanks for a new favorite recipe!

    • On November 12, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Yay, Marcy!! These types of comments seriously make my whole day! Thank you so much for coming back and letting me know how it turned out for you! I love your substitutions. I also love that you used the quinoa. A little extra health benefit! 😉 Thanks for the report!
      😉 Kim

  20. On November 13, 2011 Renee said

    Loved the comment about not serving the cranberries to your guests or dogs…but my dogs actually do love frozen cranberries! My crazy dogs love just about any fruit or vegetable.

    • On November 14, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Renee, that is so funny that your dogs love them. We were laughing after my dog spit one out the other day because they are about the ONLY thing he will not eat if it is in his range. LOL

  21. On November 14, 2011 anna said

    I’d love to cook from this cookbook — just this weekend, I went out for Japanese and was so jealous of my friend’s dumplings! I’d love to make gluten free dumplings on my own!! Thanks for offering the giveaway!!

  22. On November 15, 2011 Rinnie said

    This is similar to a scalloped pineapple recipe we make except we use pineapple tidbits and gluten free bread. SO YUMMY!

    I’ve been craving Laura’s cookbook for almost 2 months! Hoping to win it!

  23. On November 15, 2011 Sarah said

    Love your blog! I linked to your post from my Twitter account and I can’t wait to find out if I won that fabulous cookbook!

  24. On November 15, 2011 Peaceful Princess said

    My favorite holiday tradition is family! Being with family and cooking! My mother and I would stay up nights holding together Christmas Houses made of delicate butter cookies and talking. I now have perfected the recipe and have turned it into a business. They are not Gluten Free, but I love seeing the kids enjoy them.

    For me, I am still figuring out Gluten Free baking. In the meantime I make a great Gluten Free Apple Pie, Stuffing, Gravy, and with Turkey and Rice…no one knows I am eating that different from the rest of the family!

  25. On November 15, 2011 Jeanette said

    Your cake looks amazing. I made a cranberry ginger upside down cake recently – love how pretty it looks with all the fruit on top.

  26. On November 15, 2011 Katie said

    I’d love to win that cookbook! My friends brought chinese food to school today and I was just thinking about how much I’ve missed it since going GF.

  27. On November 16, 2011 jas the GFScallywag said

    wow this sounds AH-mazing!

  28. On November 20, 2011 VintageMoom said

    Hi! Just wanted to let you know I included your cranberry cake recipe in my post, An Allergy Friendly Thanksgiving Menu — linked back to you and everything 🙂 Have a great holiday!

    • On November 21, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks so much for sharing my cake on your wonderful round-up! That is a fabulous collection of recipes you have gathered! Our allergy-friendly folk are going to be eating so well this Thanksgiving!! 😉

  29. On November 22, 2012 No said

    The Candied Apple Cranberry Upside Down Cake is amazing! Just tried the recipe today. So delicious- thank you for sharing <3

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