Pear upside-down cake is a simple but show-stopping dessert perfect for fall and winter. The cake is easy to make and is a hit with everyone who tries it–top with a scoop of ice cream for an irresistible treat!
This post is sponsored by Sprouts. As always, opinions are 100% my own—thank you for supporting the brands that make IBK possible!
You guys! I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! Not only is this pear upside-down cake completely and totally delicious, but I get to share my love of Sprouts Farmer’s Market with you!
No joke, I’m at Sprouts at least four times a week. Their produce is the absolute best and they make it so affordable to buy organic ingredients (not just produce but baking ingredients, snacks, etc.).
So when I had the opportunity to work with them it was a no-brainer. If you have a Sprouts in your area but don’t shop there regularly, definitely change that. (I’m bossy. I know.)
Why you’ll love this pear upside-down cake
- It’s easy even though it’s made completely from scratch
- The ingredients are mostly pantry staples you probably have on hand already
- It lasts for a couple days at room temp so you can easily make it ahead
How to make pear upside-down cake topping
- Slice your pears into slices about 1/4-inch thick
- Stir together brown sugar, melted butter, and maple syrup
- Pour the sugar-butter mixture into a cake pan
- Arrange the sliced pears over that
How to make cake batter for pear cake
- Cream together unsalted butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy
- Beat in vanilla and eggs
- Stir together your dry ingredients
- Beat milk and the dry ingredients into the sugar-butter mixture
- Gently pour the cake batter over the pears and smooth out
- Bake for about an hour, then carefully invert onto a serving platter
- Be sure your butter is at room temperature or it won’t cream properly with the sugar.
- If you don’t care for ginger you can substitute cinnamon in the cake batter.
- Pour the batter over the pears as evenly as possible so you don’t have to spread the batter out too much; you don’t want to disturb the pears.
- Pear upside-down cake is delicious served right out of the oven but I think it’s even better the next day; the flavors develop a bit and the pears sort of melt more into the cake.
What kind of pears to use for upside-down cake?
I used Bartlett pears for this recipe. Bosc and Anjou are also good choices (actually they might be better choices—they hold their shape better under heat than Bartlett pears do so they tend to be better pears for baking).
Be sure your pears are ripe before you use them or they’ll be hard even after the cake comes out of the oven.
If you’re looking for more info on pears (which types are best for eating, for baking, etc.) Sprouts has a great resource you can find right here.
What can I use substitute for maple syrup?
You can substitute honey if you don’t have maple syrup or don’t like it. (You can’t really taste the maple so don’t worry if you don’t like the flavor.)
Just don’t use pancake syrup! Be sure you’re using pure maple syrup.
Note that if you want the topping to have maple flavor you can add half a teaspoon (more or less to taste) of maple extract.
How to store pear upside-down cake
Once your cake is cool, cover it loosely with plastic wrap and you can store it at room temperature for up to 2 days.
You can also store your pear upside-down cake in the freezer (tightly wrapped) for up to 2 months.
I like to slice the cake first, wrap each slice individually with plastic wrap and foil, then freeze. That way I can pull slices out of the freezer as I want them. Eat them frozen or zap them in the microwave ’til warm.
Did you make this pear upside-down cake? Yay! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. Then post a pic on IG–tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see your delicious creations!
Pear upside-down cake is a simple but show-stopping dessert, perfect for the holidays or just a regular afternoon. Easy to make, lightly spiced, and topped with sweet, juicy pears, this recipe is always a hit!
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Sprouts brand ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons Sprouts brand pure maple syrup NOT pancake syrup
- 2 to 3 medium pears cored and sliced*
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups Sprouts brand all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Sprouts brand ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.
Combine the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir together to form a paste. Use your fingers to eliminate any big chunks of brown sugar. Spread into the bottom of the cake pan.
- Arrange the sliced pears into a single layer in the bottom of the pan and set aside.
- Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, a couple of minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Whisk the dry ingredients (flour through salt) together in a medium bowl.
- With mixer on low, beat in half of the dry ingredients followed by half of the milk until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Beat in the remaining dry ingredients, then the remaining milk, again beating until just combined.
- Carefully pour the batter over the pears, trying not to disturb them. Use a small offset spatula to spread the batter out (gently!) if necessary.
- Bake 55 to 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan a few times to loosen. Place a cake stand or large serving plate on top of the pan and flip.
- If the cake sticks, turn the pan back to right side-up and run your knife around the cake a few more times and use a small offset spatula to lift the cake (again gently!) up. Then invert onto the serving plate again.
- If the fruit sticks to the pan you can just remove it with the spatula and place it on top of the cake (where it should have been).
- Cool for 20 to 30 minutes, then serve and enjoy.
- Uneaten pear upside-down cake can be stored at room temperature (covered) for up to 2 days. Be sure the cake is cooled completely to room temperature before you cover it.
- Cake can also be stored in the freezer, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months.
- *Enough to cover the bottom of the cake pan.
- You can substitute honey for the maple syrup in the topping
- The maple flavor of the syrup doesn’t really come through in the topping; if you want it to taste like maple you can add a 1/2 teaspoon of maple extract
- If you don’t like ginger you can substitute cinnamon
- I like to serve this cake with ice cream or whipped cream. A dusting of powdered sugar is delicious too.