I borrowed from two famous cooks, Alice Waters and Nigella Lawson, to create this cake, which is sweetened with date paste, xylitol and honey. It’s loaded with fresh apricots and blueberries, sweet and delicious, without dairy, gluten or refined sugar.
I added cornmeal to the cake (thanks Nigella), and buried the apricots in a caramel (thanks, Alice) to create a gooey-sweet topping to this cake. Gluten-free cakes tend to be heavy. Without sugar, they’re even heavier, so the texture of this cake is more like pound cake.
I bake this cake in a cast-iron skillet (thanks, Alice), but you can use a regular 8-inch square baking pan. The cast iron gets very hot and distributes heat evenly, making for a nice browned crust on the cake.
Fresh apricots can be tart or sweet, and you won’t know until you bite into them, so I soak them in honey and lime juice before baking. If you want to preserve the color of the apricots, substitute xylitol or maple syrup for the date paste in the caramel. I don’t like the flavor of non-nutritive sweeteners all alone, so I combine them with natural sweeteners like date paste.
If you don’t have fresh apricots, fresh peaches will work as well in this cake, but you may need to cut back on the sweeteners. I mix blueberries into the batter to add extra bursts of flavor to the cake.
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Apricot Blueberry Upside Down Cake
This summery sweet upside down cake is studded with blueberries and topped with fresh apricots sweetened without refined sugar.
- 8 tablespoons non-dairy butter, divided
- 1/2 cup date paste, divided
- 4 tablespoons xylitol (or erythritol or powdered monkfruit), divided
- 1 1/2 cups fresh apricots (about 6-8), sliced into 1/4 inch slices
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1 ¼ cups gluten-free flour mix
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I use almond)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Stir 4 tablespoons non-dairy butter and half the date paste and xylitol over low heat in an 8” cast iron skillet until well blended.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Slice the apricots, and place the slices in a shallow pan or baking dish.
In a small bowl, whisk the honey and lemon juice together.
Drizzle it over the apricots, and set aside.
Using a stand mixer, beat the remaining non-dairy butter with the eggs and the rest of the date paste and xylitol and vanilla.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour mix, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, alternating with the non-dairy milk.
Stir in the blueberries. Set aside.
Place the apricots on top of the cooled caramel in the cast iron skillet.
Spread the batter over the apricots, covering them completely.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.
Check for doneness by sticking a fork into the center of the cake. If batter sticks to the fork, put it back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
Remove from oven, and allow to cool.
Put a plate on top of the pan, and turn the cake onto the plate.
Serve warm or at room temperature topped with coconut whipped cream or non-dairy vanilla ice cream.
This cake is best served the day it’s made, but it will keep in the fridge in a tightly covered container for a day or two. (It won’t last that long!)