Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Gooseberry Upside-Down Cake with Honey

Slice of honey gooseberry upside-down cake on a plate with cake slice.

Large Cakes, Summer | 30th July 2019 | By

Do you like gooseberries? This honey and gooseberry upside-down cake is a fabulous recipe to use them in. You get all of that lovely gooseberry flavour with the addition of warm aromatic honey. It’s a super easy cake to make requiring one pan to prepare the ingredients and one tin to cook it in. Serve it warm from the oven for dessert with custard or cream, or cold for afternoon tea or even elevenses.


Britain is blessed with the variety of its summer berries. Gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa) are one of these and are generally ready for harvest in July. They’re easy to grow, although care needs to be taken when picking as the bushes are thorny. And luckily, they fair particularly well in the British climate. Sadly, they’ve fallen out of favour in recent years, so they’re not as easy to find as they used to be. Nevertheless, lots of people grow their own and I’ve seen them on some supermarket shelves.

Did you know there are hundreds of varieties of gooseberries? There are tart ones for cooking and sweet dessert ones that are delicious raw. And they come in a host of colours. I’ve seen green, yellow, pink, red and purple. Gooseberries can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes, though sweet ones are more common.

Although we Brits think of gooseberries as a very British fruit, they’ve only grown here since the mid 1500s. They actually originate from southern Europe, north Africa and Asia.

Red gooseberries waiting to be made into a cake.

Gooseberry bushes are said to fruit for about twenty years, but my mother still gets gooseberries on her fifty year old bushes. It must be something to do with the Cornish weather. We’ve just taken on a new allotment, which is a bit of a scary prospect as it’s in a terrible state. But it came with two gooseberry bushes complete with red gooseberries. They were a bit past their best as you can see from the photograph above, but still worth cooking with.

Interesting Gooseberry Facts

  1. Gooseberries are also known as goosegogs and fayberries. I grew up with the name goosegogs, but the name fayberry is an interesting one. It was believed (a long time ago) that fairies used to hide in gooseberry bushes when they were in danger because of the prickles. I’m rather taken with the idea of a fairy bush.
  2. There used to be a whole host of gooseberry shows around the UK, but there are now only two. There’s one in Cheshire and one at Egton Bridge where official records go back to 1800. The purpose of these shows seems to be a contest to see who can grow the biggest gooseberry.

Gooseberry Nutrition

Gooseberries are related to blackcurrants. For more information on this astonishing fruit, head over to my post, all the blackcurrant recipes you will ever need. An average portion of gooseberries, about 100g, contains 40 calories and about a third of the daily Vitamin C requirement. Gooseberries are also high in vitamin A, manganese, copper and dietary fibre. As they contain a heap of antioxidants, they’re said to help prevent cancer, diabetes, inflammation and cardiovascular diseases.

Gooseberry Preparation

Gooseberries are a little more fiddly to prepare than many berries. If you are using them whole, it’s best to top and tail them first. This isn’t difficult, you just need to pinch out the tops and tails with your fingers, but it does add a bit more time to proceedings. If you buy them, you may find they’re already topped and you only have to do the tails. You can also buy them frozen.

Honey Gooseberry Upside-Down Cake

This honey gooseberry upside-down cake is a really simple one to make. It doesn’t require many cooking implements so washing up is kept to a minimum. That’s always a big plus for me. I spend far more time at the kitchen sink than I’d like. You need just one large saucepan to prepare the batter. Just make sure you use the same one to first melt the butter for the upside-down bit.

Why is this cake so easy to make? Unusually for a sponge, you melt the butter and honey together rather than beat them, so there’s much less effort involved. This method is normally used for dense cakes such as brownies and ginger cake. Despite this, the honey gooseberry upside-down cake has a really light sponge as you can see from the photo below. And don’t forget I’ve made it with my favourite baking flour, wholemeal spelt.

The secret is twofold. Use kefir, buttermilk or sour milk with a little bicarbonate of soda to help with the rise. And when you sieve the flour, discard any big bits of bran that are left behind in the sieve.

As the sponge rises, the gooseberries cook and the butter and sugar coalesce. This caramelises the edges beautifully and when you turn the cake out, you get a fruity toffeeish top which has partly sunk into the cake. It’s so good. You’ll just have to try it for yourself.

Close up of a piece of honey gooseberry upside-down cake.

Hints, Tips & Additions

  • You can use any honey you like for this cake, but the more flavoursome your honey, the more flavoursome your cake will be. Single nectar source honey, such as clover, is some of the best, but not always easy to find. British beekeepers need all the help they can get, so if you’re able to buy local honey, that will help both them and the bees.
  • Green cooking gooseberries will give a tarter flavour.
  • Red dessert gooseberries will make the cake look prettier, but may not be quite as flavoursome as green.
  • Swap frozen gooseberries for fresh ones.
  • It’s a good cake for using up any honey that’s been hanging around a while and has crystallised.
  • You can substitute wholemeal flour or a good gluten-free mix for the wholemeal spelt flour. The results will be slightly different, but still good.
  • If using self-raising flour, omit the baking powder, but add the ¼ tsp of bicarbonate of soda.
  • Don’t over mix the honey cake batter or you might have a tougher and less spongy texture.

Other Gooseberry Recipes You Might Like

Show Me Your Gooseberry Upside-Down Cake

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this honey gooseberry upside-down cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them. For more delicious and nutritious recipes, follow me on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Gooseberry Upside-Down Honey Cake. PIN IT.

Slice of honey gooseberry upside-down cake on a plate with cake slice.

Honey & Gooseberry Upside-Down Cake – The Recipe

Slice of honey gooseberry upside-down cake on a plate with cake slice.
Print Pin
4.95 from 20 votes

Honey & Gooseberry Upside-Down Cake

An easy to make one-pan bake with lots of flavour coming from warm aromatic honey and juicy tart gooseberries. Delicoius warm with custard for dessert or cold with cream for afternoon tea.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea, Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: cake, gooseberries, honey, summer, upside-down cake
Servings: 8 large slices
Calories: 268kcal



  • 40 g unsalted butter
  • 75 g golden granulated or caster sugar
  • 300 g gooseberries - topped and tailed

Honey Cake

  • 150 g unsalted butter
  • 150 g honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225 g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125 ml kefir , buttermilk or sour milk



  • In a large pan, melt the butter. Pour it into a 22 cm round silicone mould or non-stick tin.
  • Sprinkle the sugar over the top, then tip in the gooseberries.

Honey Cake

  • Turn the oven on to 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4).
  • In the same pan, melt the butter and honey together. Remove from the heat, stir and allow to cool a little.
  • Beat in the eggs, one by one.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and stir from the middle outwards to mix the ingredients without creating lumps.
  • Stir in the kefir, buttermilk or sour milk.
  • Pour the batter over the gooseberries and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the sponge is well risen, golden and firm to the touch.
  • Allow to rest for a few minutes, then turn out onto a plate.


Serve immediately with custard or cream or leave to cool completely and enjoy for afternoon tea or elevenses.
Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on serving size and exact ingredients used.


Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 47.9g | Protein: 6.3g | Fat: 6.9g | Saturated Fat: 3.4g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 95mg | Potassium: 166mg | Fiber: 4.3g | Sugar: 26g | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 0.5mg


I’m sharing this honey gooseberry upside-down cake with Easy Peasy Foodie for #CookBlogShare.


  1. Jacqui Bellefontaine

    30th July 2019 at 11:59 am

    Well as you probably know I love gooseberries and an upside down cake seems as good a dessert to make with them as any other. I bet it tastes really delicious with the honey.

    • Choclette

      30th July 2019 at 2:52 pm

      I really wanted to make a honey cake for some reason – the gooseberries were a bonus.

  2. Camilla Hawkins

    30th July 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Ooh, yummy, this is a pudding I need to try. I never liked gooseberries as a child but now I long for them!

    • Choclette

      30th July 2019 at 2:53 pm

      You’ve got your rhubarb camilla. Make gooseberries the next to go on your grow-your-own list.

  3. Corina Blum

    30th July 2019 at 2:04 pm

    I love upside down cakes and this one sounds especially delicious! We had lots of gooseberries in the hedgerows near us when I was a child so I used to eat them a lot then in pies, crumbles and sponge puddings but I’ve never had them in a cake like this before. I’d love to try it!

    • Choclette

      30th July 2019 at 2:54 pm

      Gooseberries in the hedgerows? I’m so jealous. CT tells me they grow wild, but I’ve never seen any.

  4. sherry

    31st July 2019 at 12:03 am

    well that’s interesting. i didn’t know goosesberries came in red:=) i thought they were just green. i don’t know if we grow them here in australia at all. i’ve never seen any. definitely not the weather for it here in sunny queensland i guess. love the look of your cake!

    • Choclette

      31st July 2019 at 3:42 pm

      Thanks Sherry. I suspect Australia is, as you say, to hot for gooseberries. But it would be interesting to know if anyone grows them.

  5. Leslie

    31st July 2019 at 3:27 am

    I have never had gooseberries before! I definitely want to try them along with this recipe! Looks delicious!

    • Choclette

      31st July 2019 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks Leslie.The beauty of upside down cakes, is that you can use pretty much whatever fruit you like. Gooseberries are good as they’re quite tart which offsets the sweetness nicely.

  6. angiesrecipes

    31st July 2019 at 5:18 am

    We adore gooseberry, esp. my husband. The upside down cake looks so very tempting with that soft and tender crumb.

    • Choclette

      31st July 2019 at 3:44 pm

      Gooseberries have such a short season, they always seem quite exciting when July finally comes.

  7. Donna

    31st July 2019 at 10:53 am

    I’ve never baked with gooseberries. I do love an upside-down cake with fresh fruit though. Looks fab.

    • Choclette

      31st July 2019 at 3:45 pm

      Baking with gooseberries makes a nice change from turning them into jam. Which is also something I do if ever I have enough.

  8. Mahy

    31st July 2019 at 11:33 am

    I don’t use gooseberries often. Only when I find a good recipe to try. And I think I have just found one 🙂 – time to get some gooseberries!

    • Choclette

      31st July 2019 at 3:46 pm

      Hahaha, thank you. Good luck finding those gooseberries.

  9. johanna @ green gourmet giraffe

    31st July 2019 at 11:34 am

    i have only had gooseberries once I think and made a fool but this cake looks so much more my sort of thing that I need to come back here if I happen to find gooseberries again! Sounds wonderful

    • Choclette

      31st July 2019 at 3:41 pm

      I suspect Australia’s a bit too hot for the likes of gooseberries and blackcurrants. But you do have the advantage of being able to grow citrus.

  10. Cheese Curd In Paradise

    31st July 2019 at 1:49 pm

    I don’t think that I have had a gooseberry before, but I love upside down cakes, and I love honey! This sounds like an easy and wonderful summer dessert, and it makes me want to find some gooseberries so I can give it a try!

    • Choclette

      1st August 2019 at 1:27 pm

      It’s a super easy summer dessert and a delicious one too. Well worth making if you can find gooseberries.

  11. Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

    31st July 2019 at 2:07 pm

    What a great idea! I love gooseberry crumble, but I’d never considered making an upside down cake with them – that has to be tried… with lashings of vanillary custard! Thanks for linking it up to #cookblogshare! Eb x

    • Choclette

      1st August 2019 at 1:29 pm

      Oh yes, vanillary custard. I can attest to that working really well. As it would do with a crumble of course.

  12. Sisley

    31st July 2019 at 2:21 pm

    This looks so good! I will have to find some gooseberries to make this as I love gooseberries!

    • Choclette

      1st August 2019 at 1:30 pm

      Gooseberries are still around, I saw some in the shops just yesterday.

  13. Kylee

    31st July 2019 at 3:37 pm

    I haven’t had gooseberries in YEARS. Decades, even. I would love to get my hands on some, just so I can have this cake. I haven’t seen them in the USA, so will have to seek them out!

    • Choclette

      1st August 2019 at 1:31 pm

      I’m sure you have them in the US Kylee, but it probably depends which part.

  14. Helen @

    31st July 2019 at 5:51 pm

    This sounds absolutely gorgeous. I love gooseberries – it’s such a shame their season is so short.

    • Choclette

      1st August 2019 at 1:32 pm

      I think their very appeal is because the season is so short.

  15. Midge @ Peachicks' Bakery

    1st August 2019 at 8:12 am

    They have always been goosegogs in this house! And they are my favourites too! My little gooseberry bushes are very happy up at the allotment and they have just taken off. We’ve had a bumper crop & I’ve saved some in the freezer so definitely pinning this for later! #CookBlogShare

    • Choclette

      1st August 2019 at 1:34 pm

      Yay for goosegogs and your bumper crop. I’ve never grown enough to put in the freezer, but here’s hoping.

  16. Byron E Thomas

    1st August 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Isn’t it exciting!? I bet you’ll have your new allotment beautified in no time and growing lots of edibles. My partner and I purchased a house in late spring and much to our surprise, there were a few treats that grew in over the month of July. We got way more red currants that we bargained for! Now, the raspberries and blackberries are started to take shape. And, in the back north corner of the back yard, there’s two quince trees. Well worth the investment, I think! 🙂
    This cake sounds great, especially because of the addition of that honey. It looks light and fluffy, yet sweet with bites of the tart gooseberries. Can’t wait to try this!

    • Choclette

      1st August 2019 at 2:49 pm

      It is exciting. I love being able to cook with things we’ve grown (inherited!). Your quince treat sound fantastic. I hope they produce well for you. Looking forward to seeing what you make with them.

  17. Janice

    1st August 2019 at 3:20 pm

    What a wonderful idea. Gooseberries are such a great fruit with their tart edge that makes them perfect with sweet things.. I’ve recently found a source of local honey so will look out for some gooseberries so I can make your cake.

    • Choclette

      1st August 2019 at 8:32 pm

      Good luck with the gooseberries. Local honey sounds like a good find. I used to get mine in Cornwall from the WI market so the honey was really local, but I haven’t found a source here yet.

  18. Tandy | Lavender and Lime

    2nd August 2019 at 9:55 am

    I like the name fayberry. When I think of gooseberries the are the cape ones which are yellow. Just popping in to let you know it’s international scone week again.

    • Choclette

      2nd August 2019 at 10:15 am

      Ah yes, I’d forgotten physalis were called cape gooseberries. And eek. Would love to take part in International Scone Week, thanks for the reminder. But if it’s this week, it sounds as though I’ve left it too late. Will head over to you now to find out the dates.

  19. Neil

    4th August 2019 at 8:29 pm

    What a lovely gooseberry recipe. There’s plenty of gooseberries for picking up here in Scotland, my mum makes a mean gooseberry crumble. But an upside down cake using gooseberries is new to me. Delicious!

    • Choclette

      4th August 2019 at 8:57 pm

      Well there’s always room for gooseberry crumble and yes I reckoned Scotland would be good for gooseberries 😀

  20. Kavita Favelle

    5th August 2019 at 8:32 am

    This looks so lovely, never thought to use gooseberries for an upside down cake but like it!

    • Choclette

      5th August 2019 at 2:30 pm

      Upside down cakes are my current favourite thing. So easy to make, delicious and they look good too.

  21. Monika Dabrowski

    5th August 2019 at 11:29 pm

    I love your healthy baking, and it’s great to see an upside down cake made a little healthier too. Sounds and looks lovely!

    • Choclette

      7th August 2019 at 1:36 pm

      Thanks Monika. I do try and make things as healthy as I can, despite my sweet tooth and love of baking.

  22. Jenny Walters

    9th August 2019 at 9:53 pm

    I love your baking! Just fabulous flavours. I adore upside down cakes and this one sounds absolutely gorgeous. I need to find me some gooseberries! Thank you for sharing with #BakingCrumbs

    • Choclette

      10th August 2019 at 11:18 am

      Thanks Jenny. At this time of year I just want to bake with summer fruit.

  23. Jo Allison / Jo's Kitchen Larder

    10th August 2019 at 9:27 pm

    I grew up eating gooseberries from my grandparents allotment and loved them despite there always being few really tart ones amongst the sweet – gooseberry roulette lol. These days they are much more difficult to come by although my organic fruit/veg box sells them w which is great. Such a lovely upside-down cake, perfect way of using these little fellows. Thanks so much for sharing with #BakingCrumbs 🙂

    • Choclette

      11th August 2019 at 9:31 am

      Yes, it’s a shame gooseberries are so hard to get hold of. Though I have seen them for sale in Waitrose this year. I like the idea of gooseberry roulette. It’s a bit like that with blackberries at the moment.

  24. Helen - Cooking with my kids

    20th August 2019 at 11:39 am

    I remember not liking gooseberries when I was little, but i was super fussy back then so it could be time to try them again – this cake sounds delicious.

    • Choclette

      20th August 2019 at 2:23 pm

      Definitely time. I didn’t like them when I was a child either, nor rhubarb, nor blackcurrants. Love them all now.

  25. Kat (The Baking Explorer)

    3rd September 2019 at 3:42 pm

    I’ve never seen red gooseberries before! I love that you’ve paired them with honey

    • Choclette

      3rd September 2019 at 4:22 pm

      Red gooseberries are generally dessert fruit, so they’re often sweeter than the green ones and a bit more attractive too.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *