Caramelized Pear Upside Down Cake

My life is stressful. It’s the best thing ever and I wouldn’t change it, but it’s stressful. Between gymnastics and viola and school, time for anything else (namely…friends- remember when I had those?) is limited. However, time for baking is never limited. In my mind, Baking>Viola>Schoolwork. So when I had pears that were patiently waiting to be made into something delicious, I just can’t pass up on an opportunity like that. 😉 So this cake was born. I was thinking of making an apple pear crisp (which I will do later, but meanwhile this one will have to do), but since I had just made one, this cake sounded absolutely amazing. And it was. And you should make it.

Caramelized Pear Upside Down Cake: Adapted from Fine Cooking


For the Topping

  • 1 pound ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 recipe caramel*
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • Crystallized ginger (optional)

For the Cake

  • 6 3/4 ounces (1 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon (or about 10 grates) ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup milk ( or Vanilla Soy Milk!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 7 1/2 ounces (1 cup) light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs

Basic Caramel

  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped out (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×2 inch cake pan (make sure it isn’t a springform)
  2. Arrange the cut up pears in a circle around the bottom of the pan, having them slightly overlap. Have them with the point facing towards the center of the pan. If they don’t fit perfectly, you can cut the ends off, and if they are too short to reach the middle, add a few smaller pieces in the middle to cover it.
  3. To make the caramel, put the sugar over medium heat and stir until brown and liquidy. Add the vanilla bean. Remove from the heat and whisk in the 4 tablespoons of butter, one at a time, until completely combined.
  4. Pour the hot caramel over the pears. It should spread evenly across all of the pears. Sprinkle on crystallized ginger if desired.
  5. For the cake, whisk together in a medium bowl, the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a small bowl, stir together the vanilla and the milk.
  6. Cream the butter and the sugar, and then add in the eggs one at a time. Once combined, alternate adding in the flour mixture and the milk mixture until just incorporated.
  7. Spoon the batter in large dollops over the pears and smooth into an even layer. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then carefully flip the cake onto a plate

Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. 😉

-Rayna 🙂


One thought on “Caramelized Pear Upside Down Cake

  1. Katie September 28, 2011 / 9:57 pm

    HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry I missed your actual one. :/

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