Caramelized Pear Upside Down Cake Recipe

pear cake

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I mentioned before when I shared my recipe for Ginger Spiced Pear Jam that pears are one of my favorite fruits. When I have a surplus of them I of course, love to bake with them too. I needed to make a couple of cakes for the hubby and I couldn’t decide what to make. There was my recipe for Pear Streusel Bundt Cake but I wanted something new. So I went searching and found a beautiful pear cake recipe on the Fine Cooking website. (I love Fine Cooking – it’s my favorite cooking magazine. And no one paid me to write that!) And therefore I give you, via Fine Cooking: Caramelized Pear Upside Down Cake.

pear cake recipe

Table of Contents

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Caramelized Pear Upside Down Cake

8 – 10 Servings

Softened unsalted butter for the pan

For 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
6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1-3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1-1/2 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

**The photos will show two cakes. The measurements listed are for one cake. I just needed to make two for his meeting.
  • 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

  • Slice the pears into 1/4″ slices. I was making two cakes so you will see double.

arrange the pears

  • 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 caramel over pears in pan

  • 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.

baked pear upside down cake

  • 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.

flip upside down cakes

  • 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.

After I flipped mine I was pleasantly surprised that they came mostly out. I had a little rearranging to do, but not much. I was thrilled with how they looked! For a first try of a recipe, I was one happy woman.

How Was the Pear Upside Down Cake Recipe?

The cake itself is very good; a nice spicy base for the caramel and pears on top. I had feared it would be overly sweet but it wasn’t! It was just right and perfect with a glass of milk!

upside pear cake recipe with milk
This is definitely a keeper. I can see it working with apples just as well or a mix of apples and pears. Mmmm, the possibilities! So bake up a pear upside down cake recipe, pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy the fruits of late summer!

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