Caramelized Pear Upside Down Cake

pear cake

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  • Softened unsalted butter for the panFor the topping

    2 medium firm-ripe Bosc pears (about 1 lb.
    1 recipe Basic Caramel*
    2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

    For the cake
    63/4 oz. (11/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
    13/4 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. ground ginger
    1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp. table salt
    1/2 cup whole milk
    11/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
    1 cup packed light brown sugar
    2 large eggs

    For *Basic Caramel

    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice


  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • You will need a 9″ cake pan – do not use a springform pan or the ooey, gooey caramel will leak out!
  • Butter the bottom and then put in a parchment round. Butter the parchment round.
  • Slice the pears into 1/4″ slices. I was making two cakes so you will see double.
  • Lay the pear slices in a circle in the prepared cake pan with the pointy ends towards center. Since I was using homegrown pears they tend to be smaller than store bought.

Make the basic caramel:

  • Fill a cup measure halfway with water and put a pastry brush in it; this will be used for washing down the sides of the pan to prevent crystallization. In a heavy-duty 2-quart saucepan, stir the sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup cold water. Brush down the sides of the pan with water to wash away any sugar crystals.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan, until the mixture starts to color around the edges, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Gently swirl the pan once to even out the color and prevent the sugar from burning in isolated spots. Continue to cook until the sugar turns medium amber, about 30 seconds more. (Once the mixture begins to color, it will darken very quickly, so keep an eye on it.)
  • Pour it over the prepared pans. It didn’t “spread over the pears” quite like the recipe said but it didn’t impact the end product.

Prepare the cake batter:

  • Sift the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and salt into a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vanilla.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  • Turn the mixer to medium and slowly add the brown sugar. Increase the speed to high and continue to mix until lightened in texture and color, 2 to 3 minutes total.
  • Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Reduce the speed to low and alternate adding the flour mixture and milk mixture in five additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix each addition just enough to incorporate, as overmixing will lead to a tougher cake. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one last time and mix briefly to blend well.
  • Spoon the batter in large dollops over the pears and smooth it into an even layer with an offset spatula.
  • Bake the cake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Turn a cake plate upside down on top of the cake pan and, using pot holders, carefully invert the cake pan onto the plate.



The cake unmolded well. It did require a little bit of rearranging but nothing major

Prep time includes the caramel making time

Keywords: pear, upside down cake, caramel