Pear Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Pittman & Davis

Pears come in different shapes, colors, sizes, textures and flavors. You can have them crispy, soft, smooth, creamy or textured. You can get plump and short, or slender and elongated pears that offer a sweet or tart flavor in yellow, red or green, making them an enjoyable fruit to eat either fresh or as an ingredient in different recipes.

Common Type of Pears

  1. Anjou – this pear comes in two colors – red and green – and can easily be identified by their egg-shape appearance. Anjou pears are juicy, mildly sweet, with a hint of lemon-lime flavor.
  2. Bartlett – available in green, yellow and red, with the true pyriform pear shape. Bartlett pears are tart and crunchy while the skin is green. However, once they change their color expect a moist pear that is mildly sweet.
  3. Bosc – this pear has a long, curved stem and an elongated neck that stands out. Unlike other pears, it has a cinnamon brown color with slight russeting over the surface of the skin. With Bosc expect a juicy, flavorful pear that boasts of honey-sweet taste.
  4. Comice – the Comice pear is short, plump and very juicy. This exceptionally sweet pear is succulent and buttery, and makes a great complimentary snack when served with cheese.
  5. Other popular pears sold commercially in the US are Concorde, Forelle and Seckel.

Prep Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 2 hrs

How to make Pear Upside-Down Cake


  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided, plus more
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 Pittman & Davis Lil’ Princess Pears (about 1 pound)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Whipped cream or caramel gelato (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter pan. Line bottom with a parchment-paper round. Whisk four, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Stir 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high. Boil syrup without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until sugar turns dark amber, 8–10 minutes. Remove pan from heat; add 1 tablespoon butter (caramel will bubble vigorously) and whisk until smooth. Pour caramel into prepared cake pan and swirl to coat bottom.
  2. Peel, halve, and core the pears. Place flat on a work surface and cut lengthwise into 1/8″-thick slices. Layer slices over caramel, flat side down, overlapping as needed.
  3. Mix remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 8 tablespoon butter, and vanilla in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add yolks one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping bowl. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  4. Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites on low speed in a medium bowl until frothy. Increase the speed to medium and continue to beat until whites form soft peaks. Fold about 1/4 of the whites into cake batter. Add in remaining whites. Gently fold just to blend. Pour batter over pears in pan. Smooth top.
  5. Bake cake, rotating pan halfway through, until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few small moist crumbs attached, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a thin knife around the inside of pan to release cake. Note: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
  6. Invert cake onto a plate. Remove parchment paper. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or caramel gelato, if desired.

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