Gluten-Free Candied Ginger Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

If it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Big Bear Lake, California then I’m probably dreaming about Christmas cake. Authentic Anglo Indian Christmas Cake is a two-day desert debacle that takes some planning to construct. First of all you can only find the candied fruit for this rum-soaked cake during Christmas time. And if it’s the year 2020 and your ski town is on lockdown during a pandemic all those little candied fruit yum yums may be impossible to purchase. So instead I made a delicious pineapple-upside-down-cake.pineapple-upside-down-cake

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… 2020

That’s how I found myself social distance baking the next best thing; this simply delicious Gluten-Free Candied Ginger Pineapple Upside Down Cake. It may not be full of rum (Or gluten!) but this festive fruit cake has me singing “Fa la la” all December long. Let’s all face it; There is no point in making Christmas cookies for friends and family during a social distance holiday season so inhaling a giant slice of pineapple filled cake then putting on your fat pants is a great decision!

White sugar & GMO’s; Oh the 80’s

pineapple upside-down cake
40 year old me is not a fan of Duncan Hines cake mixes and most processed sugars.

When I was a kid pineapple upside-down cake came from the boxed mix chock full of sugar, carbs and GMOs. In the ’90s this sugar and diabetes Duncan Hines boxed cake mix treat was one of my favorite guilty pleasure desserts. That was so many years before I became a healthy eater, and cut most gluten and carbs out of my lifestyle. Five years ago I also cut back immensely on the amount of sugar I consume. The pineapple upside-down cake of my youth was not something my almost forty-year-old body wanted to consume here in 2020.

While researching a gluten-free pineapple upside-down cake online, the results were bleak. I had a very hard time coming up with a recipe that didn’t use a premade gluten-free flour or Xanthan gum. I basically could not find a gluten-free pineapple upside-down cake that sounded like anything I felt comfortable putting in my body so I had to create my own recipe. Even the so-called healthy recipes sounded like they had a lot of added sugar.

If you look at Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free baking mix, which is probably the most popular one on the market today, you see ingredients like xanthan gum, sorghum flour and potato starch. As someone who tries to stay as low carb as possible, anything potato is a no and I had to google what the hell is sorghum. Turns out it’s just a gluten-free grain. Also, what the hell is xanthan gum? Well, basically its wood pulp, which explains why if you eat too much of it you may feel like poo because well, eating wood is a lot of fiber. Now I know fiber is good for you, yea, but I don’t need to eat wood pulp so back to my own recipe with all ingredients I can pronounce and also don’t sound like a Swedish spa. I know that Bob’s Red Mill makes some quality products but their ingredients just did not sound natural enough for the pineapple upside-down cake I was imagining.

Every so-called, healthy recipe I came across called for canned pineapple for this recipe. WTGFF? (That is What The Gluten-Free F*%$) Even the gluten-free healthier recipes I found insisted on canned pineapple which is loaded with sugar and preservatives. No thank you. I just happened to have bought a juicy pineapple a few days ago. Yes, my kitten-cat has been attacking it for two days straight and before she manages to murder the pineapple fruit I must bake something with it, asap. Most pineapple upside-down cakes also seem to call for maraschino cherries, which yes are so delicious but also just soaked in sugars, red food coloring and God knows what else. So instead of using not natural whatsoever guilty pleasure maraschino cherries, I used candied ginger.

Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Green Pine Apple With Sunglasses
I wouldn’t recommend going clubbing with a pineapple these days.

1/2 a pineapple cut up into bite-size pieces, plus three additional teaspoons chopped pineapple

1/4 cup candied ginger chopped

1/4 organic brown sugar

1/4 cup organic butter, melted

1/2 cup organic butter, melted

1/2 cup organic sugar

3/4 cups almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons milk

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter. Beat the eggs with the milk, then add the 1/2 cup melted butter. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a large baking dish. In the bottom of the baking dish layer the 1/4 cup melted butter, brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pineapple and the ginger. Add the almond flour, baking powder, sugar, coconut flour, vanilla and three teaspoons chopped pineapple to the egg mixture. Combine and immediately pour over the pineapple layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes.


  1. Gail

    That sounds really yummy! Thanks for all your research and diligence into making it as healthy a treat as possible —- I always despair of a lot of “healthy” recipes which have Xanthan gum and other weird things. My mum used to make a pineapple upside down cake when I was a kid but it was a warm pudding (you bet it had tinned pineapple – I don’t think we ever saw fresh ones then!).

    1. Post
      Amber Woodyard

      Haha, yes I hear you about the tin pineapple of my youth! Some healthy recipes.. Yeah. This last year I have become obsessed with baking with almond flour and coconut flour and my gluten-free baked goods have improved SO much!

  2. Alene

    Perfect! I agree with you about all the preservatives so this recipe solves that problem. I also love upside down cakes of any kind. So, thank you!

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