Gluten Free Universal Batter for Cakes, Slices and Muffins : Apple Upside Down Slice

My obsession to create a recipe for gluten and dairy free batter,  without the addition of any oils, but still soft and moist, has finally paid off. Apple upside down slice, which can be baked as a round cake, too, is one example of many uses for this batter, based on self raising flour by Well and Good.


This gluten, dairy and oil free batter has 4 simple essential ingredients, is easy to make in one bowl, and is 100% reliable in baking either in a cake, slice or muffin pan. Commercial apple puree from a 140g tub, as one of the ingredients of the batter, serves three purposes. It gives the final product moisture without fat, softness to the texture, supporting the raise of the cake without collapse, and contributes to the intensity of taste, often absent in sponge cakes. The batter provides sufficient support to fruits or berries either inside cakes, as well as on the cake’s top and bottom.


Universal gluten, dairy  and oil free apple batter

for 18cm x 28cm slice baking pan/tray or 12 muffins

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tub, 140g SPC pure apple puree
  • 150g sugar (I always use 140g granulated sugar and 10g vanilla sugar)
  • 180g gluten free Self Raising Flour by Well and Good (quantities for self raising flour by different brands can be slightly different, because whole grain and starches ratios and mix vary)

Extra ingredients for apple slice

  • 2 table spoons od unsalted butter (or non-dairy equivalent)
  • 3 table spoons of sugar
  • 1 tea spoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2 table spoons of lemon juice to sprinkle over sliced apples to prevent browning
  • extra butter/oil to grease the pan
  • extra sugar to dust sides of the pan


I do not have to avoid dairy products in my baking, so I used unsalted butter to grease the baling tray and to make the sauce for apples.

  • generously grease 18cm x 28 cm baking pan/tray
  • cut the sheet of baking paper exactly to fit the bottom of the pan
  • place baking paper on the bottom of the pan, make sure it sticks to the bottom and stays in place
  • apply sugar to the sides of the baking tray, shake the excess off (because the sheet of baking paper is dry, excess of sugar is easy to remove)
  • melt the butter
  • add sugar and cinnamon to butter and mix everything to combine, wait until sugar dissolves
  • pour the mixture to the bottom of the tray over baking paper, spread the sauce by turning the tray or using pastry brush
  • place eggs, apple puree and sugar in a bowl of benchtop mixer (it can be done by hand held mixer, too), beat on high for 10 min, until the mixture becomes pale and triples is volume
  • peel, core and slice apples
  • place sliced apples in a bowl with lemon juice, mix to cover the surface of sliced apples with lemon juice (it gives you plenty of time to carefully assemble apple slices on the bottom of the pan, apple slices will stay in place and will not move because they will stick to the sauce)
  • assemble apple slices on the bottom of the pan, make sure that there are no gaps and you can’t see the bottom of the pan; this will prevent batter leaking through apple slice layer
  • fold self raising flour into beaten eggs, sugar and apple puree, the batter will lose volume even with careful folding, do not worry about that, just make sure that the flour is well combined within the mixture
  • Pour the batter over apples, the batter will be quite thick, but it is better to pour it, than to spoon, to avoid air pockets
  • flatten the surface of the batter with spatula or palette knife
  • bake in preheated to 165-170C fan forced oven, for 30-35 min (in my oven), or until the surface of the bake is golden brown and firm to touch, and the sides of the bake start to separate from the sides of the pan
  • cover baked slice with a sheet of baking paper
  • put a wire rack on top
  • turn the cake over to wire rack
  • gently take the pan off
  • peel the sheet of baking paper from the top


  • let the cake rest for 10-15 min
  • use silicon spatula to collect any of the sauce from the pan, if any left, and use it to cover any gaps in apple layer


  • cut the slice in between rows of apple slices, use serrated knife on top of a warm slice to have a clean cut


  • the mixture of above ingredients makes the batter that bakes evenly, the cake is well risen and has an even texture from top to bottom, and is the same close to the crust and in the middle

The thickness of the batter did not allow it to spread into apple layer. Apples were cooked well, soft to cut through, but still kept their shape. The ratio between butter, sugar and cinnamon, together with a acidity of lemon juice, gave apple layer the right intensity and balance of flavours. If sweet apples are used in this upside down cake, make sure that you add less sugar or more lemon juice, to give the top layer of the cake some tartness and intensity of taste.


Application of granulated sugar to dust greased sides of the pan, results in perfect crust on the sides of the bake. Dusting with flour(s) does not allow to achieve this affect, and also make crusts more dense, with extra flour introduced to thin layer of batter. I always grease pans with butter and dust with granulated sugar, sometimes taking the sugar out of the quantity in the whole recipe to achieve more sugary crust and less sweetness in cake’s body. In some cakes it gives an interesting and pleasant contrast.


I love this slice cake warm with milk, it does not need anything to be served with. But for presentation purposes, it can be served with any yogurt, whipped cream or clotted cream to indulge. This apple slice keeps its shape well and can be packed for lunches.

Sorry that I can’t report on how this bake freezes. I can never keep anything to freeze, and only with enormous effort I can keep some to the next day. It is still soft and delicious.

The batter for this cake in gluten and dairy free, but the cake itself is not, because of the butter I used to make the caramel sauce and to grease the baking pan.


Happy baking!



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