Gluten-Free Orange Pistachio Upside-Down Cake Recipe

This gluten free cake recipe is pretty and flavorful with a gorgeously moist crumb.

5 from 1 vote

Orange Pistachio Upside-Down Cake

Shockingly moist with elegant looks and fantastic nut-and-citrus flavor, this easy-to-make dessert is destined for dinner-table stardom. Use a serrated knife for easier cutting through the orange slices. Any extra cake (yeah, right) can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for three days or refrigerated up to five days.
Servings 10
Calories 366 kcal



  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Cointreau triple sec, or gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Valencia oranges or other oranges skin-on and thinly sliced


  • 2⁄3 cup unsalted raw pistachios
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups (230 grams) fine almond flour (or almond meal ground into a finer consistency in a spice grinder)
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon Cointreau or gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make the caramel: In a saucepan, heat the sugar and 3 tablespoons water over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and turns a light amber color, occasionally scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula. Add the butter, salt, and liquor, stir, remove from the heat, and stir until smooth. Carefully pour into the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan, rotating the pan to evenly distribute along the bottom. Let cool.
  2. Decoratively arrange the orange slices, slightly overlapping, on top of the caramel to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  3. Make the cake: Place the pistachios in a pan and toast until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool, transfer to a food processor or spice grinder, and grind into a coarse meal. Set aside. Lower the oven temperature to 330°F.
  4. Separate the eggs, putting the 7 yolks in one bowl, 2 of the egg whites in a second bowl, and the remaining 5 egg whites in a third bowl.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the honey, egg yolks, and 2 egg whites and mix well. Add the almond flour, 1⁄2 cup of the pistachio meal, the salt, orange zest, and liquor. Mix well and reserve.
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or by hand, whisk the remaining 5 egg whites until bubbly. Add the sugar and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form. Working quickly, gently fold the meringue into the flour mixture in three stages. Pour enough cake batter onto the caramel in the prepared pan to just reach the rim.
  7. Bake until the cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cake rest for only 5 minutes, then carefully place a plate on top of the pan, hold them firmly together, and flip them over so the cake releases onto the plate. Rearrange the orange slices if needed and let rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours before cutting.
Nutrition Facts
Orange Pistachio Upside-Down Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 366 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 121mg40%
Sodium 161mg7%
Potassium 173mg5%
Carbohydrates 41g14%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 34g38%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 329IU7%
Vitamin C 14mg17%
Calcium 83mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe Laverne Matias
Photography and Styling Erin Ng

11 Comments on “Gluten-Free Orange Pistachio Upside-Down Cake Recipe”

  1. Avatar for Christine

    Can this recipe be made with honey to sweeten both the caramel and the cake?

  2. Avatar for Erika

    Hi! Thanks for asking. You would need to adjust the liquid since the honey will bring more wet texture than cane sugar. We haven’t tried it and no doubt the flavor would be different, but I’m betting it would be tasty!

  3. Avatar for Christina

    This looks amazing! Just to be clear, no need to grease the pan or line with parchment paper?

  4. Avatar for Erika

    Hello and correct! The syrup on the bottom of the pan will keep the cake from sticking!

  5. Avatar for Erika

    Hello! You will have a very different texture if you use normal flour. Since all GF AP flours have unique results, you may need to give it a try and adjust the amount of dry ingredients slightly based on what you discover. But it’s definitely worth a try.

  6. Avatar for Erika

    Hello! The consistency will be different with AP GF flour, but it’s totally doable and will be tasty. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you the exact measurement you should use. All GF AP flours act differently. But you can give it a try and adjust to perfection as you learn.

  7. Avatar for Susan M Morris

    5 stars

    This cake was delicious. Make sure to cut your lemon/orange (I made meyer lemon cake) slices very thin. Try using parchment paper to line your tin as it keeps the cake from sticking and it comes out effortlessly. I used Pepitas instead of Pistachios as I burned my pistachios. Make sure your convection feature is turned off as it will keep the middle from rising and cooking evenly. Time consuming but worth it. Looks like a professional made it. Thank you for the recipe. I very much appreciate a good gluten free cake.

  8. Avatar for Erika

    Susan! Thank you for taking a chance and making it and for sharing your tips and experience!

  9. Avatar for Alene

    I had to use pecans instead of pistachios and maple syrup instead of honey because I am on a fodmap diet. I am on day 3 of the cake, and it is holding up quite well. But once the sugar syrup soaks into the cake, it’s not sweet enough for me. Could it be the maple syrup rather than the honey? I have a terrible sweet tooth. Thank you for a lovely recipe.

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