This pear cake features a light and moist cake under a layer of sweet caramelized pears. Simple ingredients and ready in minutes!
When it comes to baking with stone fruits, we have a few favorites up our sleeves.
This includes a classic apple crisp, apple cinnamon muffins, and this delicious upside-down pear cake.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- The perfect fall cake. What better time to bake with pears than fall? This cake is the best way to use overripe pears.
- Rich flavor. The caramelized pears create a rich flavor with minimal effort.
- Great with tea or coffee. Whether you serve it with a dollop of ice cream for coffee or enjoy a slice of it with a cup of tea, this pear cake is good for all occasions.
- Easily made gluten-free. Swap out the all-purpose flour for a gluten-free blend and this cake is suitable for celiacs.
What I love about this cake is just how deceptively easy it is to make. Sure, it may look fancy but it comes together in no time.
This recipe calls for pantry and cake staple ingredients that you’d be familiar with. Here is what you’ll need:
For the batter:
- All-purpose flour. You can use half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour for this recipe to make it healthier.
- Butter. Unsalted butter for a tender cake with a rich flavor. While margarine works too, however, butter always wins if you want better texture and flavor.
- Sugar. You can use both white and brown sugar for this recipe. Unlike white sugar, brown sugar gives the cake a hint of caramel flavor.
- Eggs. Like any classic cake batter recipe, this one calls for eggs too. Eggs provide structure to cakes and give them stability. You will need to separate the egg yolks.
- Whole milk. Milk makes the batter lighter. It also helps activate the leavening agents.
- Baking powder. This creates bubbles in the cake batter and causes it to rise.
- Cream of tartar. I use cream of tartar to help stabilize the beaten egg whites.
- Vanilla extract. To taste.
- Salt. A pinch of salt to balance all flavors.
For the topping:
- Pears. Any type of pears will work so long as they are ripe, peeled, and cored.
- Light-brown sugar. When combined with the butter, this gives the pear topping a light golden brown color and caramelizes it.
- Butter. Unsalted.
How to make a pear cake
This recipe works a little differently, as we’ll make the topping before the batter. Besides that, there isn’t much else that goes into baking this cake.
Step 1- Prepare the pear topping
For the topping, start by adding the butter to a non-stick pan and placing it over medium heat. Once melted, add the sugar and reduce the heat to low. Let everything caramelize for a minute or two, before removing it from the heat.
Wash and peel the pears. Slice the pears thinly and set them aside. In a greased cake pan, spread out the caramel syrup and place the pears in top.
Step 2- Make the batter
Start by whisking together the dry ingredients – the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. In a different bowl, cream the butter using an electric mixer until it’s pale yellow and fluffy. Add a dash of vanilla extract and start adding the egg yolks one by one.
Set the mixer to low speed and start adding the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter mixture. Alternate between the batches of milk and flour to achieve a smooth batter consistency.
Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
Step 3- Bake the pear cake
Pour the batter over the pear layer. Bake the cake for approximately 45 minutes or until it browns. Insert a cake tester or a toothpick into the center of the cake. Remove the cake from the oven if the cake tester or the toothpick comes out clean.
Use a knife to pull the sides of the cake from the skillet. Invert the pear cake over a serving dish. Serve warm or at room temperature.
How do I know if a pear is ripe?
The easiest way to tell if a pear is ripe or not is to press on it gently with your finger somewhere near the stem. If the flesh feels too firm, then the pear is unripe and it is still not good for a cake.
If the pear feels soft and yields to gentle pressure, then it’s ripe and good to be eaten or used for a cake.
Tips to make the best recipe
- The cooking time of the cake may differ depending on your oven and the size of the baking pan. Use a toothpick or a cake tester to check the doneness of the pear cake.
- For a richer pear flavor, add a few tablespoons of pear puree to the cake batter. Note that the cake may take a few extra minutes to cook through.
- Sprinkle some walnuts on the pears before pouring the batter over them. Walnuts will add a nice flavor and texture to the pear cake.
- Add cinnamon to the pear cake batter to create a warmer flavor. Cinnamon pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the caramelized pears.
To store: Leftovers will keep at room temperature, covered, for up to three days. If you’d like the cake to keep longer, store it in the refrigerator for up to one week.
To freeze: Place slices of the cake in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More cake recipes to try
- Tiramisu cake
- Opera cake
- Petit Fours
- Pumpkin cake
Frequently asked questions
To cut pears for a pear cake, first, wash and peel them. Next, cut the pear in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds from each half and cut out the stem. Put the pear halves on the cutting board with the flat slice down and start slicing it lengthwise.
Yes, you can freeze pears for later use. Cut or slice the pears however you want. You may or may not peel the pears. Arrange the pear slices on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Freeze the pears for a few hours until solid. Once they are fully frozen, transfer the pear slices into an airtight plastic bag or a freezer-safe container.
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For the topping
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 large pears sliced in half
For the cake
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs separated
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line and grease a springform cake pan and set aside.
- In a non-stick pan, add the butter and place it over medium heat. Once melted, add the brown sugar and melt it down. Once melted, remove it from the heat.
- Transfer the syrup into the lined pan and place the pears in a single layer.
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the egg yolks, until combined.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until fluffy.
- In the bowl with butter and sugar, gradually stir through the milk, followed by the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently fold through the egg whites until combined.
- Transfer the cake batter over the pears and syrup and use a rubber spatula to smooth out the top.
- Bake the pear cake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, before inverting the cake onto a plate. Let the cake cool completely, before slicing and sercing.
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yum, great idea for a cake, not too sweet but sweet enough and such a unique flavor with pears, thank you!
I’d love to make with pears— unfortunately unavailable here now. Only fruit have: peaches. I will try with them.