Clementine Upside Down Cake (gluten-free, paleo)


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This clementine upside down cake blows all other upside down cakes out of the water. It’s gluten-free, grain-free, sweet, tangy, citrusy, moist and beautiful.

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Happy Halloween! Are you dressing up and going out tonight? If you are, let me know what you’re dressing up as – I love hearing about all the creative costumes ideas. People are so brilliant at Halloween and some of these costumes just crack me up.

To be honest, I can’t believe we’re at Halloween already. I had planned to put together a bunch of Halloween recipes, but writing my ebook for the last several weeks has been all consuming (in a good way). So I thought, well, I guess I’ll just have to focus on Thanksgiving recipes now. I thought I’d missed my Halloween window.

But then I saw the massive amount of clementines sitting on my kitchen counter (hello big bag of Cuties!) and this recipe popped in my brain. A clementine upside down cake? Of course! It’s not the traditional fall recipe in the sense of pumpkin and spices…and that’s one of the reasons I love it. It’s bright, tangy, citrusy, moist and will surely impress when you serve it.

It’s also not nearly as difficult as it looks. Just slice up some clementines or other mandarin, like satsuma (just don’t use oranges as their skin is too thick and tart) and place in the bottom of a springform pan. The clementines cook in a syrupy mixture in the bottom of the pan as the cake is baking, which softens the skins and makes them sweet and easily sliceable when serving up.

The cake is gluten-free and grain-free and uses three different flours to get the right texture – almond flour, tapioca flour and coconut flour. And it’s definitely more of a pound cake consistency, as most grain-free cakes are. Yet somehow, it still seems light – probably due to the citrusy flavor – which is also baked into the cake batter. Oh yes!

In my pre-celiac days I used to be a massive baker (read: everyone said I should’ve opened a bakery!) and for a while I tried to recreate many of my old desserts…usually to epic fail. Today, I don’t bake heaps – not that I’m anti-dessert or anything – but I just try to focus on more nutrient-dense foods most of the time. BUT, when I do bake or make a dessert, know that the recipe is well worth the effort to make yourself (and you may have trouble stopping at one serving!).



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Clementine Upside Down Cake |This clementine upside down cake blows all other upside down cakes out of the water. It's gluten-free, grain-free, sweet, tangy, citrusy, moist and looks absolutely beautiful. Impress your guests by serving this dessert at your next dinner party. |

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If you make this, I’d love to see! Tag your photo with #downshiftology on Instagram.

Clementine Upside Down Cake

5 from 5 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 10 slices
Author: Lisa Bryan


This clementine upside down cake blows all other upside down cakes out of the water. It’s gluten-free, grain-free, sweet, tangy, citrusy, moist and beautiful.
Inspired by this lemon upside down cake from Martha Stewart.



  • 8 clementines, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter or ghee
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan. Lightly grease and flour (using arrowroot or tapioca flour) the entire inside of the springform pan, then place the parchment paper inside.
  • Using a mandoline or knife, thinly slice the clementines for the topping and set aside.
  • Stir all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, add all wet ingredients and blend for one minute on medium speed with a hand blender.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and blend for an additional minute.
  • In a small pot, heat the butter, honey and lemon juice for the topping on medium heat, stirring to dissolve the honey. Once simmering, remove from the heat.
  • Pour the topping mixture into the bottom of your springform pan. Spread it evenly across the bottom.
  • Place the clementine slices in the springform pan, starting with the middle and working your way out. Overlap each slice by approximately half.
  • Pour the batter into the springform pan and place in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool for 15 minutes. Remove from the springform pan and serve.


Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 175mg | Potassium: 276mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 1.5mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Clementine Upside Down Cake, Gluten-free Upside Down Cake, upside down cake
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Other desserts you might like:

Raw Mixed Berry and Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Molten Chocolate Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream and Pistachios

Roasted Cherry Cardamom Ice Cream

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Questions: Can cake be made ahead? Can I make it in a cast iron pan? Can the recipe be doubled? (I think the smallest cast iron I have is 10 inches and want to be sure I have enough batter). Thank you.5 stars

  2. Dear Lisa, this is a beautiful cake and I’m excited to try it. I am not gluten-free however. Would you know how much I sub the flours for all-purpose flour ?

    1. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried this with different flours. But if you do, please let me know how it turns out!

  3. I’m super excited to make this! But out of curiosity, do you think I could make this with strawberries instead? And replace the clementine juice with blended strawberry juice?

    1. That sounds interesting! But because I haven’t tried it, it’s hard to say. If you do, let us know how it turns out!

      1. I found out that strawberries turn gray when you bake them! But I made this recipe with cara cara oranges and it turned out FABULOUSLY! I subbed the coconut flour with cassava as usual due to coconut allergy. I wish I could attach a photo for you, it looked and tasted AMAZING. Thank you!!!5 stars

  4. Loved this recipe! It was delicious, easy to make, stunning and I made it vegan by swapping coconut oil for the butter and flax seeds for the eggs. Will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

  5. Loved this recipe! It was delicious, easy to make, stunning and I made it vegan by swapping coconut oil for the butter. Will definitely be making this again. Thank you!5 stars

  6. While in my beach read, a citrusy cake somewhat like yours was mentioned and I look forward to trying your modified recipe discovered online. Healthy and beautiful!
    Thank you!5 stars

  7. After getting a cheapie oven thermometer, I discovered that mine runs 25 degrees hot. Well, that explains a lot of recipe disasters. The sides of my cake didn’t brown / crisp up as beautifully as Lisa’s + mine took longer than 35 min. to bake. My instincts tell me it could have spent more time in the oven. This cake stunning & moist beyond measure.

    1. Yours looks beautiful Suzi!! Yes, different ovens, brand of almond flour, outside temperature and even altitude can all be variables in baked goods. So sometimes a recipe might take two tries to perfect to your individual conditions…but eating the “attempts” ain’t so bad either. ;) x

      1. PS – my molten chocolate cake took me four or five tries before I was finally happy with the recipe. So never forget, it happens to all of us. xo

  8. Oh my goodness, this cake is incredibly beautiful! Ive never used clementines in baking, but I sure need to!

    1. Thanks! And the clementine + cake combo is divine! if you love citrus anything, you’ll surely love this dessert. :) x

  9. Time is definitely flying! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays (and autumn is my favorite season), so I’m glad that it’s this time of year :) And that cake! Stunning and perfect for fall fruit.

    1. The cake sure is a looker, right?! ;) An easy way to impress some friends and have a delicious dessert! :) x