Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Paleo Pineapple Spoon Cake

Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Paleo Pineapple Spoon Cake

{Gluten-Free, Vegan, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free}

This gluten-free, vegan, and paleo pineapple spoon cake came to you as an outcome of a heated discussion over the weekend. I didn’t actually intend on making it for the blog. I made it super casually, shared it with friends, and had no idea it would generate such a heated debate afterwards — so much so, that I felt I had to share the recipe with you and see what you think. My little munchkin has been staring at the spoon cake all day too — perhaps it’s because I often feed her pineapple and she thinks it’s a treat for her, but she seems eager to know your thoughts on the matter as well ;)

Here’s the story behind it: I saw a genius recipe for a crustless apple pie from Shirley @ Gluten-Free Easily the other day and thought that recipe has got to go into my “to try out” pile. Why genius? Well, it’s the simplest, laziest, least-amount-of-work-required, anybody-can-do-it kind of delicious fruit pie. And it’s a great way to use up extra fruit. This weekend I realized I had some pineapple I had completely forgotten about that needed to be eaten fast. I had company and decided to share it with them in the form of a baked treat. Now, I knew right away that using pineapple means it’s not going to come out like Shirley’s beautiful peach pie or apple pie because pineapple has so much water in it, but I decided I’d use her recipe for inspiration and modify it slightly and just had a feeling I’d come up with something delicious as a result nonetheless. I mean, caramelized pineapple combined with sweet and crusty almonds = deliciousness, right?

The main thing I really modified is using maple syrup instead of coconut sugar, and with a few other minor tweaks the result was actually really incredible. It got eaten up in less than 10 minutes and people wanted more. I couldn’t believe it. Someone said that they hate pineapple desserts but they had three bowls of this spoon cake and wanted more. So what’s a girl to do? I made another one. The second time around I tried to use different ingredients. I cut some of the oil and used apple butter instead, and I also added in half a cup of coconut flour to see if it’d make the crust more crusty. It did and looked a whole lot more like a baked treat. And while the second spoon cake came out delicious as well, almost everyone said the first version was by far the best. Someone actually said “Next time, don’t mess with perfection!”

For the record, here’s what the second version looked like in case you want to try it out:

Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Paleo Pineapple Spoon Cake

Here’s the thing. I am a perfectionist when it comes to presentation. I was not perfectly happy with the way the first spoon cake looked. When I pulled it out of the oven it actually had a lot of liquid in it, which subsided and got absorbed into the batter within a matter of minutes. I agreed with everyone’s feedback — it was absolutely scrumptious, but I hesitated to share the results here because of the look. Now it did look fine as a homemade fruit bake. But it wasn’t perfect. Audrey perfect. That is when everyone got on my case and a heated debate ensued. Most said that this is exactly the kind of dessert they would want to eat at a family gathering or amongst friends, and that it didn’t need to be fancy or look pretty. They said if they ordered this at a restaurant they would have been absolutely amazed and happy to have gotten that dessert. I’m still not convinced, but the pressure was on me to publish this and see what you guys think? Are you the kind of person who’s really affected by a perfect look or texture? Or would you forgo those things to experience a healthy, super amazing and flavorful treat? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. There are so many delicious desserts I make that don’t make it on here because they’re not perfectly perfect in my eyes looks-wise. I sometimes wonder if anyone else cares as much as I do. Perhaps I should share more of those nonetheless?

Anyways, here’s the recipe — you be the judge :)

Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Paleo Pineapple Spoon Cake Recipe

* Adapted from Shirley’s “New and Improved” Crustless Apple Pie


  • 4-5 cups fresh pineapple chunks, strained (mine were cut into 1″ squares. Reserve any juice and set aside)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 cup olive oil (coconut oil or any other liquid oil would work fine too)
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup maple syrup (or another liquid sweetener of your choice)
  • up to 1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice (or any amount you may end up with, but only up to 1/4 cup)
  • a pinch of raw ground vanilla (or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • pinch of salt


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a 9″ pie pan and spread pineapple chunks evenly throughout pan. Set aside.

2. Place the ground flax seeds in a small cup and pour 2 tbsp boiling (or very hot) water over them. Stir and set aside for a few minutes while working on the next step. This will gel up a little and act as a thickener in place of an egg.

3. Place all remaining ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix everything together by hand for a few seconds until the mixture is uniform. Add the flax “egg” to the mixture and mix everything again to combine. Pour mixture over the pineapple chunks and use a spatula to even everything out.

4. Bake for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. Watch the edges of the pan and make sure they are not burning. You’ll know it’s done when they are a deep amber brown color (this will be the most delicious part of this spoon cake ;) ). Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Don’t worry if there’s any water or juices near the top when you pull the cake out — it’ll get absorbed into the batter as it cools.

Serve warm in a bowl with a spoon in tow. Optional: top with some toasted slivered almonds or serve with a side of sweet yogurt or vanilla ice cream. It’s also perfectly delectable on its own. Watch it go real fast ;)


xo Audrey

P.S. Don’t forget to give Shirley’s original recipe a try too!


This Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Paleo Pineapple Spoon Cake recipe has been shared with Natural Living Monday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesday, Natural Family Friday, Let’s Get Real Friday Party, #glutenfreefridays, and with Fat Tuesday.



  1. says

    Oh, Audrey, I love that my Crustless Apple Pie inspired you to create your Pineapple Spoon Cake! I’m all about messy and delicious recipes. My recipes rarely have the perfect look that so many strive for. That’s true of the recipe that was your inspiration, too. ;-) I was already thinking that a little sifted coconut flour would help when you shared that note for your second version. I would have probably only added a tbsp or so though, and you’re right that the liquid often gets absorbed upon cooling. Now I want to make your recipe! The first messy one. LOL


    • Audrey says

      Thanks Shirley! It was definitely messy and most definitely delicious :)

    • Audrey says

      Bella was acting so funny all day. Anywhere the cake went, there she was awaiting patiently (as you can see) as though it was made just for her :)

    • Audrey says

      That’s awesome, Julia! It did go really well with a warm cuppa :)

  2. Charlotte Moore says

    I really like the looks of the first one better.

    • Audrey says

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Charlotte. The more I look at the two pictures the more I start to agree with you :)

  3. says

    This looks delicious! Question: how necessary is the tapioca flour? i.e. do I have to go buy a bag of tapioca flour just for one tablespoon? If it is for thickening the juices, do you think arrowroot would work? I already have that :) Thanks!

    • Audrey says

      Hi Rachel, thanks so much! The tapioca isn’t really necessary and arrowroot (or any other thickening starch) will work just fine. Enjoy it!

    • Audrey says

      Thanks Gaye! Always a pleasure to take part in your party :)

  4. says

    Audrey, both look delicious, though the first looks especially enticing. But I so understand about presentation. And the better it looks, the more likely it is to be pinned, shared, and noticed.

    One of my recent dilemmas – do I post photos that look downright unappealing even though I love the recipe? I have in the past, and those posts sink quickly.

    Anyway, I enjoy all your creations, regardless of presentation.

    • Audrey says

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Linda! Yeah, it’s always tough when something tastes delicious, but looks off somehow — tends to happen to me a lot since I usually use ingredients that can pretty much be eaten on their own and taste great, so even if something doesn’t come out, it turns into delicious mush :) . Presentation is a big deal to me though, so while I may enjoy eating my “mush,” I suspect others may not find it that appealing…

  5. Brittney says

    I completely understand why you don’t post the “ugly” foods… But I find sometimes the messiest unphotogenic food is the most delicious. I will definitely be making this on Saturday night! While not beautiful it certainly isn’t an unattractive cake… It looks indulgent! I for one (for the most part) will choose taste over presentation any day!

    • Audrey says

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Brittney! I know what you mean — some of the most amazing desserts aren’t made to be photogenic (I’m thinking sticky date pudding, etc.) — perhaps pineapple spoon cake is one of them ;) This cake was definitely most delicious the first time around! Enjoy it :)

  6. says

    Hi. Can I substitute tapioca flour for the almond flour? Please say yes!

    • Audrey says

      Hi Kathy. Theoretically it would work — though the consistency would be different.

      To be honest though, a lot of the flavor in this cake comes from the almond flour, so if I had so substitute it I would go with any other ground nuts or seeds instead. If you go with just tapioca anyhow, I would maybe add a bit more flavor with something like pure almond extract, or some fresh vanilla bean, or a hint of khalua, etc. Or maybe throw in some raisins or chopped dates just to give it a boost.

      If you give it a go let I’d love to hear how it turns out with just tapioca, since I never tried it! Enjoy it!

  7. Susan W. says

    I think the first one looks absolutely delicious! It looks gooey and caramelized. My husband only eats gluten free because of me and Shirley’s Crustless Apple Pie is his favorite dessert that I make. Now he’s not a pineapple fan but I’ll make this for me and see what he says about it.

  8. Julia says

    I made this today and it came out way too greasy. Like WAY too much oil, it was literally sitting in oil all around the bottom of the pan. The only thing I changed was I used an egg instead of flax as I couldn’t find my flax and I’m not vegan. The batter was complete liquid, no need to even it out. Thoughts on what went wrong? Thanks!

    • Audrey says

      Hi Julia, thanks so much for the feedback — sorry it didn’t quite work out. I haven’t tried this recipe out with an egg, but I don’t think it would make too much of a difference in terms of oiliness. You’re making me wonder though! It’s hard to tell from a distance, but by the sounds of it if the batter was really runny it seemss like something was off with the proportions before it even started baking {too much liquid to dry ingredients, and not enough emulsification}… What I would do is just use less oil next time — like start with half the amount and only add more if the batter is too thick to scoop out easily over the cake. Or alternatively you can just add in more tapioca — like 3-4 tbsp to thicken it out. I hope that helps and sorry it didn’t work out as you expected this time around.

      I appreciate you taking the time to share though — I haven’t encountered this problem myself yet nor heard of it from other readers, but it’s good to hear things like that in case it happens to anyone else, so thank you for sharing!


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