Pear upside-down cake is a perfect twist on the classic and it’s seriously one of the easiest cakes you will ever make!
If you think you read that wrong, nope. PEAR Upside-Down Cake. And this trumps Pineapple Upside-Down Cake any day of the week for me. Granted, I had never really been a huge fan of Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. Every cake I’d ever had was excessively sweet and, honestly, just not that good. Then my friend, Emily, introduced me to this recipe, and it’s become a favorite ever since.
The first plus about this cake is it’s just one of those nice, dense, crumby cakes. Then, don’t even get me started on the caramelized butter/brown-sugar topping! (Seriously, don’t get me started – you’ll never hear me stop raving about it…) Let’s just say, this cake has been around the block when it comes to family and friend gatherings, and I’m never surprised when I see someone sneaking back to scrape out the extra caramel that is still stuck on the sides of the pan. It’s A-MAZ-ING.
Now, I actually have made this as a traditional Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, and it is probably the best one I have ever had (both with canned and fresh pineapple). But just think of sweet, gooey, chewy, caramelized pears……..BETTER (for me, at least)! With the pear version, you can also used canned or fresh – canned being on the softer side and fresh a little chewier. So, just try ’em both out. I promise you’ll be making this cake over and over and over……
Pear Upside-Down Cake
- 1/2 cup butter aka 8 tablespoons or 1 stick
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 3 fresh or canned pear halves peeled, cored, and sliced thin
- 1 and 1/4 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar together over low heat, stirring occasionally until dissolved. (Alternatively use your microwave at half power or less in 30 second increments, stirring each time, until melted. If you go longer or at a higher power setting, you may have a buttery mess on your hands. Consider yourself warned!)
Pour caramel mixture into 9-inch round cake pan.
Top with sliced pears, working from the inside to the outside, creating a spiraled pattern.
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together milk, oil, egg, and vanilla until just blended.
Add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir until just incorporated.
Pour cake batter into pan over caramel and pears.
Place cake in middle rack in oven. On a lower rack, place a large cookie sheet directly underneath the cake pan to catch any possible drips.
Bake approximately 50-60 minutes, or until caramel has bubbled up around the sides, cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out with dry crumbs adhering to it.
Remove from oven and let cake stand for approximately 10 minutes on a wire rack. (This is an important step: if you turn cake out too soon, some of the topping of your cake might fall apart; alternatively, if you turn cake out too late, you may not be able to get the cake out because the caramel will have cooled too much and stuck to the pan.)
Flip cake out onto a serving dish and serve warm or cold.
1. It is absolutely essential to put a cookie sheet underneath the cake while baking. If not, you may be doing a thorough scrub down of your oven when you are done as the caramel may leak out.
2. A 9-inch pan the perfect size for this recipe.
Smaller - you will incur some of the caramel bubbling over as mentioned above (you can try leaving out a little of the batter to avoid this).
Larger - the caramel won't bubble up the sides quite right - still delicious, but not living up to its full potential.
Change it Up:
1. Use fresh or canned pineapple rings (approximately 6 rings) for the traditional Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. You can also try peach or apple! (Let me know how it works!)
2. Replace 1/2 of the milk with juice from the canned fruit you are using for a denser, slightly sweeter, and deeper-colored cake.
**NOTE: The last time I made this cake (the one pictured below) I was being adventurous and decided to swap out some of the milk with pear juice from the canned pears. I didn’t really notice a difference in flavor (obviously it would make it a little sweeter), but it was a little denser and made the color of the cake a deeper golden shade. So, like I said, since you’ll be making this cake over and over, you can give it a try sometime as well and let me know what you like better!
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