Berry “Upside-Down” Cake {Gluten Free}

berry upside down cakeYesterday, No. 1 son asked me if he could borrow my car for a little while. I, of course, let him and didn’t think another thing about it until later when I discovered he had taken my filthy car through the car wash AND filled the wiper fluid reservoir (which was empty)! What a kid! :-)

I’m not sure what I did to deserve that…but I have a suspicion it was a “thank you/I’m sorry” gift for the puppy messes I had to clean up when I was babysitting our grandpuppy Milo. ;-)  Whatever the reason, I was very touched…and grateful!

As a Thank You to his Thank You I decided to make him his favorite dessert…Berry “Upside-Down” Cake. I was taking out the ingredients when it occurred to me that I haven’t ever posted about this recipe. Since this is one of our family’s very favorite desserts, and one I’ve loved since I was a little girl, I figured it was high time I shared it!

When celiacs entered our lives a couple of years ago I stopped making this dessert. But several months ago I thought I would give a gluten-free version of it a shot and was thrilled with the results. I am learning that there are just some recipes that lend themselves to gluten-free transformation much better than others. THIS is one of those recipes!  I served it to 8 people for dinner yesterday (including my mother-in-law who is visiting) and EVERYONE loved it.

Here is the recipe from my Mom’s files:

berry upside down cakeBerry Upside-Down Cake


1/2 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar (divided)
1 cup milk
2 cups flour (I use Pamela’s Gluten-Free Baking Mix)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15 ounce) can berries (my mother always made it with canned boysenberries, but I can’t ever seem to find those in the store, so I make it with blueberries or blackberries. This time I used blackberries, because it’s what I had on hand, but blueberries are probably my favorite.)


With a handheld electric mixer (or in a stand mixer), cream the softened butter and 1 cup of the sugar together. Add the milk, mix until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until combined.

berry upside down cake

Pour the batter into a 9 x 11 baking dish, spreading it out to cover the bottom. Pour the can of berries (including the juice) over the top and then sprinkle the other cup of sugar on top of that.  Bake at 350 degrees or 30 minutes.

When it comes out of the oven you’ll see why WE call it “upside down” cake (unfortunately I forgot to snap a picture at this point!) because the cake batter on the BOTTOM of the pan will have bubbled up through the fruit layer and is now on TOP.  Traditionally an “upside-down cake” is a cake that is baked in a single pan, then turned over and eaten upside-down, but we like OUR version of “upside-down”. :-)

Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then serve with vanilla ice cream. Or MY favorite way to eat it is with half and half poured over it! Not quite so sweet!

Be prepared for lots of silence while people eat it with fervor and abandon, followed by lots of mmmmm’s and ahhhhh’s and “I love this stuff!”


berry upside down cake


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  1. says

    In the south, we call this a “lazy man cobbler.” Works best with peaches and cherries; does okay with blueberries; but a blackberry cobbler gets an altogether different treatment that’s much more labor-intensive. These “lazy” cobblers truly are easy even for novice cooks.

    • says

      That is a good name for this dish! I was telling the hubster that “upside-down cake” isn’t really an ACCURATE name for this recipe….but it’s what we’ve called it all my life…so I’m sticking with it. ;-)

  2. susan says

    This looks wonderful. I assume if you are making it non-celiac you use regular all purpose flour? thanks susan P.S. Happy New Year, good luck with all your projects and thank you for providing such a useful and entertaining blog.

  3. Comet says


    I might be “Late to the table” here but I am not sure if you know about the KING ARTHUR FLOUR line of gluten free mixes and cook book and catalog.

    We visited there (again!) 2 days ago and their new facility is amazing! Anyone in the northern Vermont area and western New Hampshire area–the school and store are in NORWICH VERMONT just across the river from Lebanon New Hampshire home of Dartmouth College and Medical Center—owes it to themselves to GO!!!! They have a baking school and a wonderful retail store where you can buy their flour in any quantities; they now have a wheat grinder so kids-or anyone!-can hand grind wheat into flour-and all sorts of baking equipment from mixers to rolling pins to cookie cutters—this is now the size of a decent auditorium and is gorgeous–all made from the local wood used in post-and-beam fashion.

    I noticed as we were leaving that they had a GLUTEN FREE SECTION and there were mixes and cookbooks and I believe I spied a catalog. Surely the web site has more info. I am not sure where their distribution goes to but they will mail order anything.

    They also have–TA DA!!!!!–a BAKERY. Newly expanded with the rest of the building this is now a B -U -T- Ful cafe with nice seating and comfy chairs and a wide selection of baked goods and breads and pastries and dinner items! Mmmmmmmm!!!!! Everything we have ever had from the bakery has been–amazing. Even a Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcake the 6 year old got! The Chocolate items are—lets just not even GO there! The Roasted Potato Bead is the BEST bread I have EVER had and for some really weird reason despite it’s haveing more carbs than any diabetic pump or not should have in one lifetime tends to send MY glucose straight DOWN. Go figger!

    Go visit the web site and feast your eyes. And if you get to Norwich—something ELSE to do there is to go to Lebanon/Claremont NH (5 mins away) and go to the PET CENTER for the most amazing birds and fish outside of a Museum. Oh and tons of shopping outlets and local places too. Ski-ing too altho that is not my “thing”.

  4. Shirley S says

    We make this often in summer after dewberry picking. At my house, we call this ‘Flip Flop Cake’. I make my own batter but a yellow cake mix can be used too (if non-gluten-sensitive). Hmmmm, that reminds me… I have dewberries in the freezer and thanks to you, my mouth is watering for Flip Flop Cake! Time to preheat the oven!

  5. Georgie says

    My experiment—family favorite was always pineapple upside down cake
    Today I put all the first ingredients in my blender whipped it up poured in pan
    then put a drained can of crushed pineapple on top followed by some brown surgar to the top
    Baked it and have now just tasted and am very pleased with results. Easy Easy and I like the
    name flip flop cake. Thank You Thank You!!!

  6. Karen in AZ says

    Thanks so much! I love the great gluten-free recipes you’ve shared! I have just started baking after becoming gluten-free about 10 years ago.

    This one reminds me of upside down cakes my Mom used to make. By using frozen berries (and adding a bit of simple syrup/water & sweetening – agave syrup?) I can see many great desserts ahead!

  7. Kayren says

    YUM! Thanks for sharing this yummy, warm dessert on such a cold day! In Virginia, we call that cobbler and it’s fantastic with any kind of fruit. To get the syrup when using fresh or frozen fruit just stir the sugar directly into the fruit and let sit for a bit. The sugar will begin to break down the fruit to make a syrup. Can probably mix the sugar and fruit the night before and pop in the fridge… (Great trick for strawberries on angel food cake!) I usually use 1/4 cup sugar for 2 cups fresh fruit.

  8. Leticia says

    Well, this didn’t go so well for me… First, my cake exploded. It ran over the baking dish, down to the bottom of the oven. I pulled it out after 30 min, and it wa s here still very watery and uncooked:( Not sure what happened here, but I’ve got quite a Mrs to clean up…

    • says

      Leticia when I made this the other night that actually happened to me and I can’t for the life of me figure out what went wrong! I’ve made this dozens of times and that has never happened before. I’m sorry the same thing happened to you! When I remade it, it came out perfectly.

  9. Beverley H says

    This was soooooo good, I managed to get canned boysenberries in our local store and it turned out perfectly. It is the middle of summer here in New Zealand so we ate it with vanilla ice cream. Despite being 32′c in the shade it was the best dessert we have had this holiday season! Thanks Jillie it’s been added to our family menu planner!

  10. Beth says

    I am making this right now, it’s in the oven. Did anyone else have trouble with a 9×11 pan being too small?
    The recipe calls for 9×11 which I used but the cake is currently spilling over in my oven. I had my husband help me put a pie saver under it so it won’t go all over, but maybe it should be a 9×13 pan? It still looks wonderful and can’t wait to serve it tonight!

  11. heather says

    Fresh GA peaches sooooo yummy in this!
    My grandma would put the peaches in a bowl with 1 cup of sugar and let it set til the sugar was dissolved & syrupy… This is what I do with my frozen berries you can substitute truvia for sugar….

  12. Tammera Speed says

    My Grandma made this recipe w/ ” tart cherries in water “. You add a little almond extract to the cherries and sugar mixture. This is an absolute summer favorite at my house. So refreshing and alot less work than a pie ! note- make sure you don’t grab cherry pie filling by mistake : )

  13. says

    I am going to try this with a blackberry pie filling I found that looks good. I know it has got sugar in it so I am going to cut the sugar in half. I don’t care for overly sweet deserts anymore. I have a feeling it is going to be awesome! I could not find just blackberries and I’m really craving some “blackberry cobbler”. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. says

    Question! Why did mine turn out like a ton (heavy) when I used 2 cups of another brand of gluten free baking mix? I put all the baking powder and had to add lots of milk. Help! Can I use less mix? I bought a new brand of mix. Gluten free cooking is not easy. Thanks. Karen


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