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!
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°
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Have ready a 9-inch round pan (without removable bottom is my recommendation, unless you know you pan has a very tight bottom).
- Peel, core and cut pears in large pieces or halves.
For the caramel:
- 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.
- Add 20z (60g) of the total amount of butter in pieces to the pan. Pop into the oven and let melt.
- Remove, scatter the brown sugar on top and the bourbon and return to the oven until it starts to dissolve.
- 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.
- Arrange the pear pieces on top and reserve.
For the cake batter:
- 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.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- 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.
- I have the dry ingredients measured and sift them directly over the butter mixture. Whatever works for you.
- Mix thoroughly but don’t overbeat or the cake will be tough.
- Pour the cake batter carefully over the pears (the caramel will have hardened).
- With the back of a spoon or a spatula, spread the batter so that it covers the fruit completely.
- 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!.
- 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.
- Lightly shake the pan sideways to loosen the fruit and caramel, and then carefully invert the cake onto the serving plate.
- 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.
- Lift the pan carefully. Some fruits or pecans might still be stuck. It happens.
- Remove them with a knife or spatula and arrange them on the cake where they were originally.
- Let cool on a wire rack.
- I like to eat it warm (with whipped cream is a good option) or at room t°.
- 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