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Partial pear upside down cake on green and silver platter; wooden table, whole pears, scattered pecans

Pear Pecan Upside Down Cake

  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Pears, pecans, and caramel form the top layer of this fabulous upside-down cake.
Juicy, sweet, crunchy and moist, look no further for one of the best fall cakes ever!



3-4 pears

For the caramel:

  • 2 oz. (60g) unsalted butter, at room t°
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or whisky or cognac
  • 1/4 cup pecans

For the cake batter:

  • 4 oz. (120g) unsalted butter, at room t°
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room t°
  • 1 and 2/3 cups (230g) all-purpose or cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I like to use 1 teaspoon vanilla paste)
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room t°


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
  2. Have ready a 9-inch round pan (without removable bottom is my recommendation, unless you know you pan has a very tight bottom).
  3. Peel, core and cut pears in large pieces or halves.

For the caramel:

  1. The next step I do it directly in the pan, but you can melt all in a small saucepan and then add it to the pan.
  2. Add 20z (60g) of the total amount of butter in pieces to the pan. Pop into the oven and let melt.
  3. Remove, scatter the brown sugar on top and the bourbon and return to the oven until it starts to dissolve.
  4. Remove from the oven, mix quickly with a spoon, spread to cover the bottom and add the pecans, scattering them or in the pattern you want. Do this quickly.
  5. Arrange the pear pieces on top and reserve.

For the cake batter:

  1. In a large bowl beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute, and then slowly add granulated sugar while beating. You need to cream it, so it will take 3-4 minutes until it is light and airy.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) and add them in 3 additions alternating with the sour cream in 2 additions. That means you begin and end with flour.
  4. I have the dry ingredients measured and sift them directly over the butter mixture. Whatever works for you.
  5. Mix thoroughly but don’t overbeat or the cake will be tough.
  6. Pour the cake batter carefully over the pears (the caramel will have hardened).
  7. With the back of a spoon or a spatula, spread the batter so that it covers the fruit completely.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes, or until dry and a tester inserted comes out clean. Some juices might appear around the rim. That is a good sign!.
  9. Remove from the oven, let stand a few minutes on a wire rack and have ready the serving platter. You have to be quick and invert the cake while still very hot to prevent the caramel from hardening.
  10. Lightly shake the pan sideways to loosen the fruit and caramel, and then carefully invert the cake onto the serving plate.
  11. Do this by putting the platter upside down on top of the cake pan. With the aid of a kitchen towel (the pan is very hot) grab the ends with your hands grabbing both the plate and the pan at the same time, and turn everything upside up.
  12. Lift the pan carefully. Some fruits or pecans might still be stuck. It happens.
  13. Remove them with a knife or spatula and arrange them on the cake where they were originally.
  14. Let cool on a wire rack.
  15. I like to eat it warm (with whipped cream is a good option) or at room t°.
  16. Keep it refrigerated after 1 or 2 days, wrapped in plastic.


Tips & tricks for making this recipe:

  • Pears: I like to cut them in halves, quarters at the most, so that they hold their shape during baking.
  • Caramel: work quickly once you put it in the pan so that you can cover the bottom before it starts hardening.
  • Patterns: I don't pay much attention to patterns, but if you do, take into account how the slices will be cut so that every one of them has pears and pecans.
  • Removing: this is the trickiest part of making an upside-down cake. The cake has to be removed while hot; otherwise, the caramel will harden and stick to the pan making it impossible to remove it in one piece.
  • Keeping: after 1-2 days I like to refrigerate it (though it usually doesn't last that long) because fruit tends to ferment, especially in a warm environment. Freezing is an option too, though it will never be the same, in my opinion. But it can be done, well wrapped.
  • Variations: most fruits are wonderful for an upside-down cake. I love peaches, mangoes, pineapple, apples, and blueberries. You can flavor the batter too with citrus zest or ground spices.

Keywords: pear upside down cake, pear pecan upsided down cake