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Pear Upside-Down Cake

Pear Upside-Down Cake


  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided, plus more
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons coarse yellow cornmeal or polenta
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 medium pears (about 1 pound)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream or caramel gelato (optional)

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Butter pan; line bottom with a parchment-paper round. Whisk four, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Stir 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high. Boil syrup without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until sugar turns dark amber, 8–10 minutes. Remove pan from heat; add 1 tablespoon butter (caramel will bubble vigorously) and whisk until smooth. Pour caramel into prepared cake pan and swirl to coat bottom.

  • Peel, halve, and core the pears. Place flat on a work surface and cut lengthwise into 1/8"-thick slices. Layer slices over caramel, flat side down, overlapping as needed.

  • Mix remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 8 tablespoon butter, and vanilla in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add yolks one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occassionally scraping bowl. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

  • Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites on low speed in a medium bowl until frothy. Increase the speed to medium and continue to beat until whites form soft peaks. Fold about 1/4 of the whites into cake batter. Add in remaining whites; gently fold just to blend. Pour batter over pears in pan; smooth top.

  • Bake cake, rotating pan halfway through, until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few small moist crumbs attached, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a thin knife around the inside of pan to release cake. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

  • Invert cake onto a plate; remove parchment paper. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or caramel gelato, if desired.

Recipe by Karen DeMasco Locanda Verde New York City,Photos by Hirsheimer HamiltonReviews SectionI took the warning about the possible burnt topping very seriously as Kryan said in their review. I went ahead and went for a golden caramel color instead of a deep amber so that I wouldn't risk burning. I did not transfer the glaze fast enough to cover the whole parchment round, but in baking it did not seem to matter as it spread out and soaked into the pears during the bake. I'm a fairly inexperienced baker that has stuck in cookies and some easy cakes in the past, so this was a challenge and I read the recipe and suggestions in the reviews many times before I attempted. I went ahead and prepped my pears ahead of everything else and put them in Tupperware in the fridge - I left them in there for about a half hour only and they had a very faint browning that happens when pears sit. It did not decrease my enjoyment of the end product, so you may want to do the same.When I do this recipe again I will go as follows: section, cut, and peel pears ahead of anything else, pop in the fridge, pre-heat oven, butter the bottom and sides and parchment line the bottom, get my caramel going to only a faint golden color and transfer QUICKLY, then get my pears out to arrange on the bottom. I think I would then move on to the cake fixings as described in the recipe. (I had to use a stand mixer for whipping the egg whites just from the length of time that took - possibly 7 to 10 minutes). I only baked the cake for 45 to 47 minutes instead of an hour like was suggested in another review. Because of the head's up of the decrease in bake time, I rotated the cake at twenty minutes instead of a half hour.I used anjou pears that were so ripe that liquid brown spots had to be cut off and then I had roughly two or so layers of thin pear slices. I used a 9 inch round non stick pan.I wish the recipe was a little better organized and had more details like the amount of time this takes and what size pan to use, otherwise I would rate this five stars. A huge shout out to the other reviewers that had excellent tips to modify this recipe with - I feel so proud that I made this when I never make anything this complicated. I think it took me about three and a half hours to prep and bake and then cool enough for me to taste it. I hope this helps anyone looking to try this out.elsamsPortland, OR07/21/20The recipe says to caramelize the sugar to dark amber. I didn't do that. I caramelized it to golden. I think it could have handled a bit more caramelization. Next time I will caramelize to medium at least.Maybe even dark amber. The caramel didn't darken during baking. When I poured the caramel into the pan and swirled to coat, the caramel seemed to roll around on the parchment paper. I didn't get a good coating. It turned out not to matter. The recipe says to cook it for an hour. I started smelling the cake at 45 minutes so I tested it. It was done so I took it out of the oven. The recipe doesn't specify a pan size. I used an 8-inch cake pan. It was perfect. The cake has a delicate flavor. My husband and my guests liked it.First- BE WARNED about this recipe- something is off-!st- use an 8 inch round pan2nd- recipe is awkwardly arranged- you need to separate ingredients into glaze, pear topping & cake3rd- VIP- if you caramelize the sugar topping and then bake the cake for an HOUR as recipe says- your topping will be burnt rather than a mellow caramel flavor- this is SAD since the burnt taste RUINS your wonderful cake- I made this after having pears in the winter- the cake looks fab but needs tweaking to make perfect- if you work it out- PLEASE POST- thxkryanAlexandria Va01/17/19What size pa should I use?????mermom65New Smyrna Beach, FL12/22/17

  • 3 medium ripe, firm pears (preferably Bosc or Anjou)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed, light or dark
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (6 3/4 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (scant) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons softened butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Put the 1/4 cup of butter and brown sugar in a 10 1/4-inch skillet and place it over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Turn the heat off and set aside.

Peel the pears. Trim the stem end and blossom end and then slice the pears in half lengthwise. With a melon baller or a 1-teaspoon measuring spoon, cut the core out of each half. Place the pear on a cutting board, cut-side down, and slice thinly. Arrange the pear slices on top of the brown sugar mixture in the skillet.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the 6 tablespoons of softened butter with 3/4 cup of granulated sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well blended.

With the mixer on low speed, add about one-third of the flour and half of the milk and mix until blended. Add another one-third of the flour and the remaining milk and mix until blended. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until well blended. The batter will be thick.

Spoon the batter evenly over the arranged pears. With a spatula, gently spread the batter out, taking care not to disturb the pears.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.

Remove the cake from the oven to a rack and let it stand for 4 minutes. Place a plate or platter (heatproof) over the skillet and carefully invert the cake.

Tricks to Creating a Beautiful Spiral Topping

Upside down cakes are all about the gorgeous spiral patterned topping. Here are some tips to create this pattern easily:

  • Line the bottom of the cake pan with parchment paper. I use a pencil to trace the pan on the paper then cut it into a circle. You definitely don’t want the pear slices to the stick when you flip the cake upside down.
  • Use ripe pears that are still firm enough to slice easily. Mushy, overripe pears won’t hold their shape well.
  • Try to slice the pears into similar sizes so you have a uniform pattern. It’s also important to use 2 pears that are similar in shape and size as well.
  • Space out the slices evenly. They don’t have to be perfect but you’ll find it much easier to close the pattern into a circle with you do!

Don’t stress out if it doesn’t look as nice as you want it to. The cake layer will press down on the pears as they baking together and it’ll be quite forgiving towards any imperfections you have.

I hope you enjoy this yummy and decadent Paleo Pear Upside Down Cake, especially if you have some delicious seasonal pears on hand!

Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake

An impressive Autumn-spiced dessert that’s made from pantry basics.

Serves 12

Prep time 10 min.

Cook time 55 min.


⅔ cup packed light brown sugar

1 pkg. (15.25oz.) yellow cake mix


Preheat oven to 325°F. Melt butter in a deep 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Remove from heat.

Drain pears, reserving 1 cup of pear syrup. Arrange pear slices on the bottom of the skillet.

Combine cake mix, oil, eggs and reserved pear syrup (instead of water) in a large bowl and mix according to package directions. Carefully pour batter over pears. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Place on cooling rack for 5 minutes. Loosen cake from pan edges and invert onto a large flat dinner plate or round platter.

-May use 1 can (15 oz.) Del Monte® Sliced Pears in 100% Juice or 1 can (15.25 oz.) Sliced Pears in Heavy Syrup instead of Lite Sliced Pears.

Recipe Summary

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 2 Bosc pears, cored, peeled, and cut into 1/4-in.-thick slices
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • ⅓ cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ cup plain whole or low-fat yogurt

Preheat oven to 350°. Generously butter a 9-in. cake pan and arrange pear slices in a pattern on the bottom of pan. Set aside.

Bring 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a 10-in. frying pan (not nonstick) over medium-high heat. Lower heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook, undisturbed, until mixture starts to brown (swirl pan to help mixture brown evenly). When mixture turns a medium amber color, add 1/2 cup pecans and cook until fragrant but not burning, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and slowly stir in bourbon and 1/2 tsp. salt. Pour over pears in buttered pan.

Put 3/4 cup butter, the brown sugar, and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl. Beat until smooth and a bit fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Add half of the flour and beat until combined. Then beat in half of the yogurt. Repeat with remaining flour and yogurt. Stir remaining 1/2 cup pecans into batter (it will be thick).

Drop spoonfuls of batter over pears and sauce and spread evenly. Bake cake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool on a rack 15 minutes. Run a knife between cake and pan sides and invert cake onto a plate or serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Betty Crocker’s Quick & Easy Pear Upside Down Cake

Here’s a quick and easy pear upside-down cake. Highly rated on the Betty Crocker website, it’s a variation of the pineapple upside-down recipe from the Betty Crocker Ultimate Bisquick Cookbook (affiliate link) which dates back to the 1950s.

I decided to give this pear upside-down cake recipe a try recently. Using Bisquick made it really quick and easy to make and it turned out of the pan perfectly.

But as I cut into it, I couldn’t help but think that it smelled a lot like pancakes. And after taking a bite, can you guess what Rod said? “This tastes like a pancake, but in a good way – Light and fluffy.”

Upon finishing his piece, he declared it “good” and enjoyed a warmed up slice for dessert the following night.

While, I liked the texture of this quick and easy pear upside-down cake, I couldn’t get beyond the fact that it reminded me just a little too much of pancakes. It would be a delicious as a decadent breakfast, but not dessert.

Since I love the idea of upside down cake, next time I will try this delicious Skinny Vanilla Buttermilk Cake recipe for the cake batter instead.

If you’ve made this Upside Down Pear Cake, please give the recipe a star rating below and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. And stay in touch on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates.

Pear Upside-Down Cake

Preheat the oven to 325°. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 10-inch ovenproof skillet set aside. In the skillet over medium-high heat, stir the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons butter until melted. Add the pears. Sauté them until fork-tender and start to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour the pears and the juices into a large bowl and allow to cool slightly. Clean the skillet.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ginger. In a large bowl, with a mixer set on high speed, beat the remaining 12 tablespoons butter and the granulated sugar until fluffy. Reduce the speed to low beat in the eggs and vanilla until well blended. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat just until blended.

Coat the skillet with vegetable spray or butter. Place the parchment paper in the skillet and arrange the pears in overlapping circles. Pour the remaining pear juice mixture over the pears and scatter the cranberries. Carefully spoon the batter over the fruit. Using a rubber spatula, spread the mixture evenly. Bake the cake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges to loosen from the sides of the skillet. Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Remove the parchment paper. Serve the cake by itself or with ice cream, whipped cream, or crème fraîche.

Recommended variations: Apples and cinnamon: Substitute 3 peeled apples for the pears. When sautéing the apples in the skillet, add 1 additional tsp. of cinnamon.
Pumpkin and maple syrup: Peel and seed a small pumpkin and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices 3 to 4 inches long. Substitute maple syrup for the brown sugar and sauté the pumpkin meat and 1/4 of the seeds 6 to 8 minutes, until fork-tender.

Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.

For the topping, in a small bowl, combine the melted butter and maple sugar. Spread this in the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Arrange the pear slices on top of the butter/sugar mixture.

For the cake, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and maple sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and beat until combined. Add the milk and beat again. Add the remaining half of the dry ingredients and beat.

In a clean, medium-sized bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Gently and gradually fold into the cake batter in a few additions. Spread the batter over the pears in the pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 40&ndash50 minutes, or until the cake is golden-brown and it springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.

Invert onto a serving plate or cake stand. Serve warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or custard.

Adapted from my Rhubarb Upside Down Cake recipe, which was adapted from Taste of Home.

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Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (I always use the convection setting on my oven because it seems to cook more evenly.) Lightly butter the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan.

Step 2: Combine the 4 Tbsp butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small saucepan and heat to boiling, then remove from heat. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Step 3: Then arrange the pears over the butter mixture and press down.

Step 4: Beat the 6 TBSP butter and white sugar with an electric mixer until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until very smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Step 5: Sprinkle in the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, and beat 10 seconds. Pour in the milk and beat just until the batter is evenly moistened, about 1 minute. Pour the batter over the pears, then carefully lift the pan and bang back down on the counter once or twice to release any air bubbles.

Step 6: Bake approximately 35 minutes (watch closely if using convection setting!), or until a knife comes out clean. Run a knife along the outer edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Place a plate over the cake, then flip it over to invert the cake onto the pan.

Step 7: Let the cake cool completely before serving. Best served the same day.

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