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- Dish type
- Classic cakes
- Upside down cake
A dairy free and egg free chocolate cake, which is gorgeous when tipped over to reveal loads of red cherries. You can use two 23cm round tins instead, if desired - just watch so you don't overbake the cake.
67 people made this
- 600g tinned cherry fruit filling
- 280g plain flour
- 300g caster sugar
- 65g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 350ml water
- 120ml vegetable oil
- 60ml vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:35min ›Extra time:10min cooling › Ready in:1hr5min
- Spread fruit filling evenly in the bottom of a greased 23x33cm (9x13 in) tin.
- In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, bicarb and salt.
- In another bowl combine water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Add these liquid ingredients to the flour mixture all at once. Stir until just moistened. Pour the cake mixture evenly over the cherry fruit filling.
- Bake in a preheated 180 C / Gas 4 oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Let cake cool for 10 minutes in tin then invert cake onto a serving dish and continue to cool.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(70)
Reviews in English (61)
I think this recipe is fantastic. It was very easy to make, but I could not get the upside-down bit right. The cake would not come off the pan. It might have been better if I lined the tin. Also, I was not sure if pie cherries were can cherries. In Australia there were no pie cherries unfortunately only canned ones with juice!. And I wasn't sure whether it had to be finely chopped or put whole. hahaha, but the taste was absolutely delicious!!!-25 Mar 2002
This was great! I am allergic to dairy and eggs, and I am also not able to eat gluten (wheat, rye, barley). As you can imagine, cake is hard to come by for me. I made this for my birthday & I brought it to work when we were celebrating. I substituted the wheat flour with gluten free flour (Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour) and a tsp of xanthan gum. I also added dairy free chocolate chips into the batter, and I drizzled some chocolate syrup on the top when it was done. And it was great! It got eaten before the "regular" cake did!(Addition 3 years later) I STILL get requests for this at work - even on other people's birthdays - and people ask me for the recipe all the time.-16 Oct 2005
WOW!! This is the first healthy recipe that my whole family enjoyed. I used a granulated sugar substitute to lower the overall calories and also used light cherry pie filling. It was still sweet, moist and delicious. So not only can this recipe be dairy-free and egg-free, it can also be sugar-free and still please everyone!!-29 Apr 2002
- 3/4 cup sugar (granulated)
- 1 cup flour (all-purpose, unsifted)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 squares unsweetened chocolate
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Topping:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup water (boiling)
Grease and flour an 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt together. Stir to blend thoroughly.
In the top of a double boiler or in a stainless steel or glass bowl over simmering water, melt the unsweetened chocolate with butter.
Add the chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients along with milk and vanilla beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
Spoon chocolate cake batter into the prepared pan, and spread it evenly.
- 2 cups chopped pecans (Optional)
- 15 ¼ ounces chocolate cake mix (such as Betty Crocker® Super Moist)
- 1 ¼ cups water
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 ⅓ (16 ounce) packages fudge frosting mix
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 ½ cups butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease the bottom of a deep 9x13-inch baking pan. Spread pecans over.
Combine cake mix, water, oil. and eggs in a large bowl beat with an electric mixer on low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Combine frosting mix, milk, and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until all ingredients are melted. Remove from heat you do not want to bring this to a boil. Pour over the cake mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
Cut into pieces and flip them over into a bowl to serve there will be a gooey fudge sauce that has accumulated on the bottom of the pan. If necessary, spoon this back onto the cake after it has been flipped into the bowl (this is the best part).
This recipe is KILLER with sour/tart cherries or with cranberries, either fresh or frozen.
I made this as directed EXCEPT for the cream of tartar. It's useless in my opinion. For meringues and such it may be necessary. For this cake I did not use it. The air infused by the multiple mixings including the whipping of egg whites to stiff peaks is enough for this cake. The stability offered by the cream of tartar wasn't necessary for me. Other than that this was a perfect cake. The cherries still offered some resistance adding texture that a bag of cherry filling just couldn't think of matching. The contrasting and separate elements of the cake combined to make a sinfully delicious Cherry upside-down cake. It fits perfectly in a 9 inch round regular 2" cake pan. I did not prepare my pan in any other way than as directed. Ohhhh I did add 1 extra teaspoon of Adam's vanilla extract. I also used salted butter which I think is necessary to wake up the cherries a bit. I served this with ice cream and everybody loved it. I appreciate the fact that this recipe ONLY uses CHERRIES. Some other recipes ask for pineapple as well. If I want Cherry&Pineapple upside-down cake then I will use those.
I once made this cake THREE! times in one week! Yes, it is that good! It's become a favorite of my moms, so whenever we have fresh cherries I always am sure to make this.
One thing I forgot to add to my review just now was that the only pan I had available was a large springform. This meant that the cake cooked fully in 25 minutes rather than the suggested 55, and was very easy to serve. Somebody below said springform pans wouldn't work but it worked like a dream for me.
Today I was on a hunt for a non-chocolaty way to use up a jar of sour cherries. This recipe did the trick. I followed it to the letter, with the exception that my cherries were obviously not fresh (I took the extra time to drain and pat them dry of all liquid after pitting them because theyɽ been jarred in light syrup). I think separating the eggs is too important a step to miss as it ensured the cake turned out fluffy and light. The only thing preventing me from giving this four stars was that the cake was on the dry side. The topping and the whip cream certainly mask this, but a mouthful of just the cake itself wasn't as moist as it could be.
My family enjoyed this version of upside down cake. I make upside down cakes often and liked a new idea. I used frozen cherries instead of fresh. I also added 1/2 cup cocoa to the cake batter and made it a chocolate cake.
I have to agree with the other people who didn't find this all that special. My fresh cherries were delicious on their own, but seemed to lose something when cooked into this cake. It was sweet, but there wasn't enough dimension of flavor. Maybe adding some almond extract to the cake might have improved it, but I don't think I'll make this again. I'll try something new instead.
This cake is absolutely amazing. It turned out perfectly.
I just made this today for the first time. Wow! Delicious! Yes, it is a bit time consuming but worth it. I made it exactly as described (although I used a nonstick cake pan and Pam) and it came out perfectly - no problems at all. My biggest problem will be stopping myself from eating the entire cake by myself!
This cake came out beautiful, and it was very moist and delicious. I thought it was a little too sweet and a bit bland, so I served it with a dollop of unsweetened Greek yogurt, which was perfect. I'll definitely make this one again.
Delicious. The crumb was moist and light. The cake has a lovely vanilla and cherry perfume. Going in the recipe box.
I made this as a birthday cake for a friend who doesn't like conventional cakes or chocolate (and for assembled guests who aren't usually dessert- eaters in other words, a tough crowd to please). It was a huge hit. To serve a larger number of people I increased all ingredients by 33% and used two eggs. It turned out perfectly, and was delicious!
This cake was wonderful! I made it in a 10 inch cast iron pan, as most upside-down cakes call for, and it turned out perfect. Sprayed the pan first, no problems sticking. One thing to be aware of though, is that I checked it after 40 minutes and it was completely done, perhaps even a tiny bit over-done, so be aware. One piece left at a dinner party for 6 which I ate straight out of the fridge the next day and it was still delicious! I added chopped cherries to the whipped cream (1/2 pint is not enough), and it turned out great. Really easy and delicious!
This is amazing! My dad gave me sour cherries from the trees in his orchard and I decided to try this recipe my whole family thought this was outstanding (and they are "dessert specialists"). A couple things to help out other people: PLEASE use fresh or frozen sour cherries, not canned. Just mix them with 3/4 cup of white sugar before starting the recipe. Use a 9" square glass or metal pan as most round cake pans aren't deep enough and a springform doesn't work. Spray the bottom of the pan and sides with Pam before melting the butter in it, the cake slides right out. This is just as good with vanilla ice cream as whipped cream. but serve the cake a little warm.
I just made this recipe today, and the cakes are out of the oven. First let me start out by saying that the flavours of this cake are just wonderful, be mindful to definitely use the cherries in season, and butter in the recipe. Now I follwed this recipe exactly,and I found I needed to use 2 9 inch pans, and the topping on one kind of stuck to the pan when I inverted it. I don't understand why either, I buttered the pans, evenly. Also I noticed that during the baking process the sugar mixture boiled over a bit so while it was baking it kind of bubbled over a bit. Perhaps I overloaded the pans. But otherwise the taste is wonderful and the cake so yummy. Any suggestions on how I can preven the sticking issue to insure a prettier presentation.
I think the reviewer who found this boring must have left out an ingredient or used tasteless cherries or something, because we thought this was delicious. One thing to watch, is never use margarine if it says butter. There is a difference in taste.
Don't understand the raves on this one. We found this boring. Absolutely nothing redeeming about it. I'm looking for another use for the rest of the cherries.
This was sooooo yummy. I have more cherries and I can't wait to make it again.
Oh my lordy, this is good. Like the previous reviewer, I did not bother to separate the eggs. The resulting cake was similar to a pound cake, dense and rich and buttery. I used dark brown sugar on the cherry layer so it tasted a bit caramel-ish. Yummy.
Combined fresh Ranier cherries with apricots from the farmer's market and it turned out great. Used two whole eggs rather than separating the yolks & beating the whites, for a denser cake. Not too sweet, compliments the fruit perfectly!
I first made this cake when the recipe was originally published. It never lasts more than an hour and I know when my husband buys fresh cherries it mean make this cake. I've even used frozen cherries in the winter.
I made this for my husband on Father's Day and made the mistake of letting him taste it before dinner. Needless to say, our whole family skipped the steaks and grilled potatoes and went straight to desert. It's that good!
This is the recipe to make with fresh summer cherries! I don't really care for cherries but love them in this recipe. I have made it 3 times.
A very good recipe, and, as a previous reviewer said, not too sweet. My guests liked it a lot. I'll definitely make it again.
I altered this recipe significantly by substituting apples and raspberries for the cherries because no one I know likes cherries enough to justify making a cake. Sauteed the apples in butter and sugar first. The cake part of this recipe is rich, but very good.
You Only Need 1 Bowl to Make This Cherry Upside-Down Cake
Let’s get the introductions out of the way. I’m the food director at Bon Appétit, which technically means I have final say over every recipe we print in the magazine and online, but that doesn’t mean I’m the best cook in the kitchen. And when it comes to baking, I’m good, but I’m not “Claire Saffitz Good.” This is a woman who makes puff pastry from scratch and does things with sourdough starter that I will never understand. But when she swore up and down that this upside down cake was really really easy and impossible to mess up, I believed her, because Claire Saffitz is not a liar. And I can now vouch for this recipe 100% and affirm that it’s easy enough for a child to make.
The first thing I like to do when baking—even before I preheat the oven—is measure out all the ingredients so that I can cook straight through once everything is good to go. This also ensures I have all the ingredients I need, because nothing sucks more than discovering you don’t have enough sugar when you get to the part of the recipe when you’re supposed to add the sugar. I recommend you do the same, and since this recipe calls for room temperature eggs, put them in a bowl and cover them with hot tap water while you get organized. At the same time, melt the butter since you need it to coat the pan before anything else can happen.
The other extra little step you need to take is to cut a parchment paper round that will fit in the bottom of your pan—you can’t skip this step, because it is the insurance that keeps the fruit from sticking, and a pretty un-stuck crown of cherries is essential to your success.
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
- 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 cups whole pitted fresh Bing cherries or other dark sweet cherries (about 21 ounces whole unpitted cherries)
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground medium grind)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
I bought your beautiful book based on this recipe. It was so delicious! I couldn’t get a hold of sour cherries so I used dark sweet cherries and added about 1/4 cup of pomegranate molasses to the reduced syrup after it cooled. I think it made a great addition and added that tartness that worked well with the almond base. I might up the almond flavour of the base next time with a little extract. Excellent recipe and so easy!
SLJ – I’m so happy to hear you liked my book. Thank you! Adding pomegranate molasses is genius!
I bought your book months ago and immediately made a note on my calendar to bake this cake when cherry season rolled around. That happened this week and now, in 24 hours, I’ve made this recipe twice. I suspect after tonight’s dinner party, I’ll be making it again! Thank you so much for sharing an amazing recipe for one of that tastiest cakes I’ve ever baked. Not only did I bake the cake, but I picked enough cherries to make Esin Giz’s Sour Cherry Liqueur. You will surely be hearing from me again in October when they’re ready. Hats off to you, Cenk!
Nancy in NJ – So happy to hear you liked it. Enjoy!
This looks fantastic! What is your suggestion when using frozen sour cherries? Does anything change?
I find that they release a lot of water, so you may end up cooking them a bit longer. They may shrink a lot, so it is also a good idea to start with a bit more than the recipe states.
I just bought your cookbook and really, really want to make this cake. However, I can’t source fresh sour cherries in my area. Would dried tart cherries work if I re-hydrated them? If so, what is the best way to do so? Or, any recommendations on how to replace sour cherries with other cherry varieties? Thanks!
Hello Ann – I’ve never tried this recipe with re-hydrated dried tart cherries. Sweet cherries might work, but I love the contrast sourness adds, so my recommendation would be to pick a firm and somewhat sour variety of plums or pluots. Hope you like the recipe. By the way, there’s a pineapple and coconut version of this cake on my blog.
Hi Cenk, Just came across your blog and I’ve fallen in love with it! Just ordered the book too. I’d like to try this cake but don’t have fresh sour cherries. Do you think a bottle of sour cherries in light syrup would work?
Thanks so much for these very tantalizing recipes!
Thank you! It might work, but in that case I wouldn’t use as much sugar in the fruit layer as stated in the recipe. Hard to tell before I test it, but keep in mind that nothing will beat fresh sour cherries.
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Chocolate Upside Down Cake Recipe
Warm dutch oven over coals.
Melt 3 Tbsp butter in dutch oven and swirl around to cover sides.
In zip-loc, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cocoa. (Could do this beforehand)
Add milk and vanilla to zip-loc. Pour in melted butter from dutch oven. (Just take what pours out, leaving the oven well-coated.)
Add nuts and kjnead well to make a batter.
Pour batter into dutch oven, squeezing it all out of the zip-loc.
Mix sugar, brown sugar, cocoa, and water in the zip-loc.
Pour over batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
When done, remove from heat and remove lid for about 5-10 minutes to cool.
When serving, flip the piece upside down so chocolate sauce is on top.
All dutch oven recipes use a 12-inch dutch oven, unless specified. If you have a 10-inch dutch oven, use about 2/3 to 3/4 of the ingredient amounts but keep the temperature and time about the same.
If no temperature is listed, use 350 degrees.
See Heat Settings page for temperature and coal placement
for Frying, Stewing, Roasting, Baking, and Simmering.
Let me know how you enjoyed your Chocolate Upside Down Cake!
Send a photo of your meal so I can add it here.
Cherry Upside-Down Cake
As a kid, I hated upside down cakes covered with masses of sticky glazed pineapple. Feared by many, it always popped up on buffet tables at family gatherings – from graduation parties to wedding receptions, year-round.
I’ve never been a big fan of canned fruit since, especially that gooey pie filling that most upside down cakes call for. So my upside down version is made with a thick, rich homemade filling of fresh cherries that is simple and superb. Buy yourself a cherry pitter to make it easy. Kids will want to help when they see you using a fun new gadget!
Calories per serving: 128 calories
Fat per serving: 6g fat (1 g saturated)
- 3 cups fresh pitted fresh cherries
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup light olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup low-fat, 1% buttermilk milk
- Prepare the cherry filling. In a saucepan, add the water, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch. Whisk well and add the cherries. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 4 to 5 minutes until the cherries begin to soften and give off their juice and the mixture thickens. Pour into an 8X12-inch rectangular baking pan. Set aside.
- Heat oven to 350° F. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt over a piece of aluminum foil or wax paper. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat oil and remaining sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and extracts. Beat in the sifted dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk, until well blended.
- Spoon batter over the cherry mixture. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched with finger. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Cut into 18 squares and serve.
Nutritional Stats Per Serving (1 slice, 2 ounces): 128 calories, 1g protein, 24g carbohydrates, 2g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, .7g fiber, 147 mg sodium.
Cherry upside-down cake
This time last year, Annie, an industrial designer down here in Dunedin, brought us a traditional Dutch recipe, Kerstkransjes. This year she shares with us a cherry upside-down cake that I can tell you from personal experience tastes amazing! Anyway, over to Annie:
“I am a huge fan of cherries, so when I stumbled upon a recipe for cherry upside-down cake I couldn’t resist and decided to try it for the office as a pre-holiday treat. So I got baking, diligently following it step-by-step. I turned the finished cake out onto a serving platter and took it through to the office. It looked stunning – glossy, deep red cherries glistening all over the top. But when we cut it for that all-important first slice, the cake was not cooked in the middle! Needless to say I was pretty disappointed. But God loves a trier, so when I heard that Dave, one of our mechanical engineers had 16 kg (!) of cherries at home which he handpicked on a cherry orchard in Alexandra, I got him on board to make cherry cake mark II. Dave and I had heaps of fun and the cake turned out perfectly.
“This cake is great with mascarpone or whipped cream and the cherry syrup. I had great success with fresh cherries, but if you can’t get your hands on any, two 400g cans of pitted dark cherries will suffice. Simply drain and use the liquid from the cans.”