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Paleo Apple Honey Cake

Paleo Apple Honey Cake

Pretty enough for a holiday dessert but yet healthy enough for every day… this paleo Apple Honey Cake is soon to be your family’s favorite treat!  Plus, this apple rose cake is gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo!

The cake portion of this upside down apple cake is essentially a giant, delicious, lightly spiced muffin.  It is not overly sweet and goes perfectly with the baked apple slices.  This is definitely one cake you can feel good about enjoying… even for breakfast!

rose shaped paleo apple honey cake

Paleo Apple Rose Upside Down Cake

Have you ever made an upside down cake?  The fruit topping is placed on the bottom of the pan and then topped with cake batter. 

Unlike some upside down cakes, these apples are pre-baked.  This makes the apples flexible enough to create the beautiful rose pattern and also ensuring the cake cooks through completely.  By placing the apples on the bottom of the pan, you ensure a beautiful flower pattern remains in the finished cake.

Gluten free apple honey cake

Simple steps to make a large Apple Rose

Baked apple roses are the base for this unforgettable apple rose upside down cake.  Baked apple slices are shaped into a flower and topped with a simple almond flour based cake batter.   

In less than an hour, you can have a beautiful dessert your whole family will love.

uniformly sliced apples on a parchment lined baking sheet

When making apple roses, it is important to slice your apples as uniformly as possible.  This ensures the apple flower petals are roughly all the same shape.  I have found that 1/8 inch thick apple slices are ideal

baked apple slices on parchment lined baking sheet

After about 20 minutes in the oven, the apple slices are flexible enough to shape into a flower.  Let the apples cool for slightly until you can easily shape them.

arrange apple slices into strips and start rolling into an apple rose

As the apple flower gets larger, you may find that it is challenging to coil into a flower shape.  I often start moving the rows of apple slices over to the flower once it becomes cumbersome.

shape baked apple slices into a flower. use a spatula to help you move the flower

Once the apple rose is finished, you can fan out the apple slice petals to open up the flower and coat the apple slices in cinnamon syrup.

flatten apple slices to create an open flower the size of cake pan

Finally, invert the apple flower so that it is face down on the bottom of the cake pan and pour the paleo cake batter on top.

inverted apple flower on bottom of prepared cake pan

Simple Paleo Cake Batter

This almond flour based cake batter is so easy to make.  Simply combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined. 

paleo cake batter ingredients for apple honey upside down cake

No need to worry about over mixing the batter!  Almond flour is gluten-free, so it will remain soft and delicious no matter how much you mix it!

Once the batter is ready, simple pour over the prepared apple flour and bake!

Paleo Apple Rose Upside Down Cake Recipe

paleo apple upside down cake pin image

Paleo Apple Honey Cake

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This Paleo Apple Honey Upside Down Cake is the perfect fall treat! Sweet, sticky apples shaped into a rose and topped with a fluffy, moist muffin. Gluten free, dairy free, and so delicious!


Apple Flower:

  • 3 apples (any apple will work, though I typically use Fuji or Gala)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Paleo Cake:

  • 1.5 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 mint leaves, for garnish (optional, basil and sage also work well)


Apple Flower:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Peel and core washed apples
  3. Cut peeled apples in half and uniformly slice into thin strips
  4. Transfer sliced apples to baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon baking liner
  5. Bake in oven for 20 minutes at 400°F and then cool for 5 to 10 minutes on baking sheet
  6. Once cool, use your fingers and gently arrange sliced apples to create a long strip. Ensure that apple slices are evenly distributed. Check out this my Baked Apple Rose video showing how to make an apple rose
  7. Gently roll apple slice strip into a tight spiral until all apple slices have been used to create one large flower.
  8. To create an open rose, you can gently press the apple petals starting from the middle and working out
  9. Microwave honey (or maple syrup) in a medium size dish for 1 minute . Add avocado oil and a pinch of cinnamon (if desired) and mix until combined
  10. Using a pastry brush (or back of spoon), coat flattened apple flower in honey cinnamon mixture

Paleo Cake:

  1. While apple slices are baking, line an 8-inch round cake pan in parchment paper and lightly oil with avocado oil
  2. Combine almond flour, honey (or maple syrup), avocado oil, eggs, almond milk, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium size bowl. Whisk until fully combined
  3. Once apple rose is assembled and topped with honey cinnamon sauce, carefully invert the rose so that it is face down on the bottom of the prepared cake pan
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F
  5. Top apple flower with prepared cake batter and place pan in the middle of the oven
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean
  7. Remove cake from the oven and place on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes
  8. Invert cake onto serving dish and garnish with mint leaves, if using.


While the Paleo Apple Honey Cake is best when served at room temperature, it be served while still warm or after straight from the refrigerator.

This apple upside down cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 321Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 84mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 5gSugar: 21gProtein: 7g

Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.

Tips and tricks for making this paleo apple cake

  • Maple syrup and honey can be easily swapped in this recipe
  • If you aren’t dairy free, you can use regular milk in place of a healthy nut-based milk
  • Apples can be baked ahead of time.  Just make sure that you create the flower shape prior to refrigerating.  Also, the cake may need a few extra minutes in the oven if you bake with cold apples
  • Create the apple flower on a piece of parchment paper.  Parchment makes it MUCH easier to invert and transfer to the cake pan
  • If you are baking this apple rose upside down cake the day before serving, place a toothpick or two between the petals before covering with plastic wrap.  The toothpicks will prevent the plastic from touching the top of the apple slices

How far ahead can you bake this paleo apple upside down cake?

This paleo apple rose cake is best within 24 hours of baking.  Ideally, I like to make it a few hours before enjoying.

However, this apple upside down cake can be stored in the fridge for up to three days and still be delicious!  It is worth noting that the cake becomes increasingly moist the longer it is stored in the fridge. 

Paleo apple upside down cake served on a white cake stand

Other delicious paleo dessert recipes

Looking for other healthy dessert recipes?  The baked apple roses that are the base of this upside down cake are a delicious dessert on their own or with ice cream. 

And if you are looking for chocolate desserts, make sure you check out our paleo chocolate truffle cake and chocolate dipped coconut macaroons.

Apples and honey baked together to make apple roses that are delicious and beautiful
paleo chocolate truffle cake
Paleo coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate

Pin recipe for later:

rose shaped paleo apple honey cake with mint garnish


Monday 22nd of November 2021

So simple and lovely! Inspiring! I added a little cardamom to my batter. I am surprised how well the rose turned out even though it was a little tricky for me to get it into the pan upside down. Other than that part, it was pretty easy! I would love to try some little muffin sized ones with small apple roses. I made this for a friendsgiving celebration and everyone loved it.


Friday 5th of November 2021

Made this for the family today, and it could not have been easier. I was pleasantly surprised that mine turned out looking quite nice. :) The family LOVED it - will definitely be making it again. Thank you for the great instructions, and for a great recipe!


Saturday 6th of November 2021

Nicole - thank you so much for sharing your experience! I am so glad your family loved the apple honey cake - it is definitely one of our favorites.


Wednesday 7th of July 2021

What could I substitue for avocado oil, please? I am not dairy free, only gluten free. Thanks in advance :)


Thursday 8th of July 2021

Hi Annie - Melted butter would be a fine substitution for avocado oil since you are not dairy free. Unsalted butter would work best. Enjoy!


Tuesday 14th of January 2020

This apple cake looks so pretty, must try it, we have 4 apple trees!!

Don Baiocchi

Monday 2nd of December 2019

This is so beautiful! I had no idea you could do that with apples but you explain it so well! What a fun project.


Monday 2nd of December 2019

Thanks Don - thinly sliced apples taste much better in this cake. And while it may be a bit fussy to shape them into a rose, it also ensures they are uniformly distributed throughout the cake. Enjoy!

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