Nectarine Upside-Down Cake

Vegan Nectarine Upside-Down Cake - Yup, it's Vegan

Making a nectarine upside-down cake is certainly a test in optimism. Everything goes in the oven with the nectarines tucked underneath the batter. Until you remove the cake from the oven, and let it cool, you don’t know for sure what the bottom is going to look like.

Needless to say, when I flipped over my cake and discovered this beauty, I was pretty damn pleased. My plan is for this cake to be the piece de resistance at my next vegan dinner party. It’s beautiful and delicious. The caramelized nectarine layer enhances the sweetness of this slightly tart summer stone fruit. The moist, slightly dense texture of the cake and the gentle use of spices makes for a perfect summer treat.

Vegan Nectarine Upside-Down Cake - Yup, it's Vegan

This nectarine upside-down cake is sweetened only with coconut sugar. It’s also made with 100% spelt flour. That means that you can have a couple of slices and not need to take a nap afterward =P. Coconut sugar looks similar to brown sugar when dry but when liquid and fat collide with it, it turns dark brown, which is how the caramelized nectarines get such a vibrant color.

In terms of ease of making this recipe: If you grease the pan thoroughly then there’s nothing to be afraid of. At least not any more than with making a regular cake. We still have to be careful not to over-mix the batter, so that the gluten doesn’t form. Luckily, since spelt is much lower in protein, this is less of a risky maneuver than it is with all-purpose flour. Honestly, I’m not a natural at baking things other than bread. And I found this nectarine upside-down cake to be super, super easy to make!

tl;dr upside-down cakes are the coolest thing ever, and this version is particularly awesome. Hope you enjoy!

Vegan Nectarine Upside-Down Cake - Yup, it's Vegan

Here’s a little more of a close-up of the inside texture of the cake =]

Vegan Nectarine Upside-Down Cake

Yield: 1 cake; 6-8 servings

Vegan Nectarine Upside-Down Cake

This vegan nectarine upside-down cake is sure to please everyone with its subtly sweet, summery flavor. Made with whole grain spelt flour and low-glycemic coconut sugar.


    For the caramelized nectarine layer:
  • 1 tb. + 1 tsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. coconut sugar
  • About 3 nectarines, sliced
  • For the spelt cake:
  • 1 c. almond milk (or nondairy milk of choice), room temperature or warm
  • 1 tb. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 c. spelt flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger (a pinch)
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg (a pinch)


    To prepare the caramelized nectarine layer:
  1. Add the melted coconut oil to the bottom of a cake pan. Use a brush or your hands to lightly grease the sides, then spread the rest of the oil evenly in one layer.
  2. Sprinkle the coconut sugar in an even layer on top of the coconut oil. Arrange the nectarine slices on top of the coconut sugar so that they have as much surface contact with it as possible.
  3. To prepare the spelt cake:
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the almond milk and lemon juice, and set aside until it has started to separate.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Add the coconut oil, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract. Use a fork or whisk to whisk together the liquid mixture until the sugar is dissolved and the oil is incorporate with the almond milk.
  7. In a separate bowl, sift together the spelt flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  8. Make a well in the center and add half of the wet mixture. Stir, then add the rest of the wet mixture. Gently mix the batter together (I used a wooden mixing fork) until the lumps are gone, but try to mix as little as possible. We don't want to encourage the gluten to develop, because that will result in a gummy cake.
  9. Pour the mixed batter on top of the nectarines, gently, so as not to agitate them.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes on a rack positioned in the center of the oven (important!), or until golden on the top and starting to pull away from the sides. The top of the cake will feel a bit springy, but still moist.
  11. Let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes before gently inverting it. You can then transfer it to a cooling rack, and cut yourself a slice!
  12. Leftovers can be kept at room temperature if tightly wrapped (unless your home is very warm), or covered in the refrigerator. Best enjoyed within a day or two.


For best results, use nectarines that are just barely ripe, so that they retain more texture during baking.

Sponge cakes have a habit of cracking on the top (luckily, we are flipping it over!). The taste and inside texture are not likely to be affected. Sometimes you just can't control the cake cracking, but the following steps will make it less likely: 1) measure flour by spooning it into a measuring cup, instead of scooping it out of the container. 2) mix as little as possible to discourage gluten formation. 3) test the temperature of your oven to ensure that 350 is really 350 (hotter, and the cake is more likely to crack).

Vegan Nectarine Upside-Down Cake - Yup, it's Vegan

Adapted from Peach Upside Down Cake by the Earthen Table. Shared on Virtual Vegan Potluck. Happy Friday!


  1. says

    What a beautiful summer tart, Shannon! I want to make an upside down cake one day, but this seems like a very simple process. I use coconut sugar very often, they bring a lovely caramel color and flavor. Glad the tart turned out perfect the way you wanted! Have a brilliant weekend! ❤

  2. says

    This is just BEAUTIFUL. Also love that you use spelt flour and coconut sugar.. making this basically health food. So I think I’ll start making it for dinner.

    Not for after dinner. For dinner.


    • says

      Thanks, Kelley, and thanks so much for sharing the original recipe. It is such a winner and I am very grateful. =] that’s awesome! I’m a transplant from Seattle, but I’ve been here in Maryland for the better part of 10 years now and I have really grown to love it :)

  3. says

    I am glad I showed up for this party.
    I haven’t used one stinkin nectarine all summer long, I better pick some up at my gorgeous market before summer’s end. This looks too good to pass up. Bottom’s up 😉

  4. says

    I’ve been craving an upside-down-cake this month and presto – I found your recipe on the linky this week.
    I’ll be featuring this one as my favorite and thanks so much for sharing it with us all Shannon!

  5. Marcia says

    Hello! I’ve got your luscious upside-down cake cooling as I type and it smells yummy! I used white peaches because that’s what I could find. I’m sure it will be great, thank you! My question is regarding the use of coriander seed, isn’t that cilantro? Did you mean to say that or were you thinking cardamom seed instead? I know there’s only 1/4 t. in it so my husband probably won’t even notice! I’m just curious.

    Thanks so much,

    • says

      Hi Marcia,
      Thanks for your comment. I hope you enjoyed the cake! It is supposed to be coriander seed, which has a nutty and lemony flavor that is quite different from coriander leaves (cilantro), and unlike cilantro, can pair rather nicely with sweets. A little trick I picked up from a baking cookbook a while back to enhance flavors in plain cakes. Of course, if you’re not a fan, you can leave it out next time. :)


  1. […] Vegan Peach or Nectarine Upside-Down Cake A spelt cake with a healthy dose of ginger brings beautiful pairing flavor to stone fruits. We immediately thought of adding some cornmeal to the mix for great texture too. Try this cake using coconut oil and almond milk for those that can’t do diary. Get the recipe here. […]

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