Rosh Hashanah Apple Upside Down Cake, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Apples, honey and pomegranate are traditional Rosh Hashanah foods.  And together they make an awesome dessert, perfect for the holiday.

It is traditional to serve up a new fruit of the season like a pomegranate on the second night of Rosh Hashanah.  To honor that tradition (and since pomegranates have not yet made an appearance at our market) we used something even more interesting – pomegranate concentrate.  Add some honey, a bit of liqueur or flavoring, simmer at a low boil for a few minutes and you have a wonderful sauce to pour over the cake before serving.

Even better, this recipe is from the GF Canteen’s Out of a Box Series. You can make this recipe quickly and people will assume you were toiling away in the kitchen for hours.  All of the GF Canteen Out of a Box recipes are whimsical, fun, and easy.  And this gluten-free, dairy-free Apple Upside Down Cake, loaded with honey and pomegranate, is no exception.

I found the pomegranate concentrate here at Safeway and while it is a bit expensive – a little goes a long way.  The pomegranate concentrate is fabulous as holiday flavoring ingredient in most fruit desserts.

After dipping gluten-free challah in honey and having some gluten-free honey cake the first night of the New Year, treat yourself to this wonderful Apple Upside Down Cake with Honey Pomegranate Sauce the next night.

It certainly is a sweet way to celebrate a new year.

L’shana tova.

Honey Apple Upside Down Cake, Gluten Free
  • 1-3 tart medium to large apples
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate concentrate
  • 1 Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix (kosher)
  • 145 grams water (different than liquid amount on the box)
  • 114 grams vegetable shortening (kosher)
  • 3 large eggs (158 grams)
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate concentrate
  • Splash of rum
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 or 9 inch round baking pan with high heat cooking spray.
  2. Peel apple(s). Cut in half and scoop out core. Slice with the cut side down making several domed slices - enough to form a ring in the bottom of the pan. Cube the remaining apple into ¼ inch size pieces, sprinkle 1 teaspoon lemon juice over them and set aside. Place sliced apples in a concentric circle in the bottom of the pan with the with the points facing up (remember - it's an upside down cake). Sprinkle with remaining lemon juice, then cover apples with brown sugar, honey and pomegranate concentrate. Set pan aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl on low-speed blend the cake mix, water, shortening, eggs, zest,and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Mix on medium high for about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, stir in the apple cubes. Pour batter gently over the sliced apple mixture.
  4. Bake 20 minutes and rotate pan. Bake about 10-15 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean. Once out of the oven, run a knife around the edge of the cake and get your serving plate ready. Using pot holders (unless you have fingers of steel) place the cake plate over the pan and in one smooth motion flip it over. Carefully wait until you hear the cake plop onto the plate and then tap the top of the inverted pan with a butter knife. Carefully lift the pan and if any apple bits are stuck, you can place them back on the cake while it is hot. This only works while it is hot, so if you let it cool, you will have to re-heat the cake to get it out. Once on the cake plate, cool completely before serving.
  1. Simmer honey and pomegranate concentrate in a small saucepan for a few minutes until boiling. Carefully add rum (do not set the kitchen on fire!). Give it a minute to thicken. Pour over cake and serve. Or slice the cake and pour over each serving - your choice.
Pomegranate concentrate can be found in many grocery stores like Safeway. If you can't find it, just buy some Pomegranate Juice (100%) if you can find it and simmer until it is quite concentrated - about half or more. You don't need much for the recipe, but you will want to have some extra. You can find Betty Crocker GF Yellow Cake Mix at Safeway. Or use any favorite GF Cake mix but make sure it doesn't contain any dairy. If the apples turn out looking too mushy after the cake is out of the oven - you can lightly saute some more in a pan with a little bit of honey and pomegranate concentrate for about 5 minutes. Place carefully in a pattern on top of the cake and add the sauce over the top of your new layer. The cake is very forgiving.

Other holiday Apple Cakes you might like:

Visit Elan’s Pantry for this Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Cake

Visit Norene Gilletz’s fabulous Honey Apple Cake here –  from her book, The NEW Food Processor Bible

From Smitten Kitchen – Deb’s  Mom’s Apple Cake is here

 Honey Apple Cake from The Shiksa in the Kitchen







  1. The cake looks gorgeous!

  2. Shana Tovah! I’m excited that Rosh Hashana is next week. It’s so late this year and I’ve been looking forward to it! All the sweet food makes it one of my favorite holidays. I love that you’ve turned a boxed mix into such an elegant holiday treat that everyone can enjoy. Off to share it with my gluten free friends now!

  3. Thank yuo so much for Rosh Hashana GF recipes.. I’m so glad I found your blog- It is like a treasure for me! Shana Tova ! Dana- Israel.

  4. beautiful cake! i think the different flavors sound great together.
    greetings from germany!

  5. Hi, Lisa,
    Perty cake! I really like your scallop-y white plate. It’s lovely, and it looks like it’s juuuust the perfect size for a cake plate (which I find isn’t nearly as easy to find as I think it should be, mostly because I’m always looking for it, so I think it should be easy to find. for me.). Love it!
    xoxo Nicole

  6. Looks like a great recipe, I can’t wait to try it!

  7. wow! gorgeous cake.
    i love the pictures.
    happy new year from tel aviv.