Pear upside down cake, to be honest, I have never been the worlds biggest fan of pears and always been of the opinion that if I could take them or leave them, I would leave them. However the other day, I had a large amount of pears for juicing and then broke my juicer, so until I got a new one I didn’t want these pears to go to waste, so I decided to make this pear upside down cake.

Pear Upside Down Cake

I have seen a lot of pear cakes before and the feeling that perhaps I was missing out on something truly tasty was at the back of my mind. So I was very pleased that I decided to make this cake as it really is a delicious cake, so moist and light and the pears are caramelised on the top of the cake.

Pear upside down cake

As the Pear upside down cake also has stem ginger in it, with the occasional bite you get a hit of ginger which is really quite wonderful. So, I will admit that my aversion to pears is over for now. However, this doesn’t mean that I will eat them plain, oh no, this just means that I will need to make more pear cakes.

Pear upside down cake

This recipe is adapted from You Lets Bake, which is a wonderful book full of recipes from South Africa. A lot of them really do take me back to growing up and make me just a little bit homesick. Still, at least I can eat a slice of the pear upside down cake with a cup of tea and think about growing up in Africa.



Pear upside down cake

You see that you use melted butter for the caramel layer, I recommend that you use a cake tin which has a lip so that if it runs out, it won’t go all over your oven, or if you don’t have a cake tin with a lip, then you should place your tray on a baking tray with sides as some of the butter will run out, it is just the nature of it.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x


Caramel Layer:

  • 80 grams butter melted
  • 180 grams soft brown sugar
  • 4 firm pears sliced


  • 300 grams plain cake flour
  • 160 grams demerara sugar
  • 3 tbps ginger preserve chopped
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 125 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 orange zest only
  • 250 grams pears grated
  • 8 sprigs thyme leaves only


    Caramel Layer

    1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees no fan.
    2. Melt the butter and carefully pour it into the cake tin. Sprinkle the soft brown sugar over the bottom of the cake tin in an even layer, then layer the sliced pears in a pretty pattern over the sugar and butter trying not to leave gaps.


    1. Mix the flour, sugar, thyme leaves, ginger preserve, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger and salt together in a small bowl, set aside.
    2. Whisk the eggs, oil and vanilla essence together in a large bowl, then grate the orange zest into it and mix again.
    3. Stir the grated pears into the oil and egg mixture and mix it well to combine.
    4. Add the flour mixture to the oil and egg mixture and mix well to combine. Once combined, carefully spoon the cake mixture over the pears in the cake tin, level to make it flat, then place in the oven
    5. Bake it for 40 – 45 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
    6. Once ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes.
    7. To invert the cake, carefully run a sharp knife around the edges the inside of the cake tin to pull away any bits which are sticking. Place a large plate on top to the cake tin and carefully turn it upside down, the cake should fall down and you should have a wonderful looking upside down pear cake.
    8. To serve, allow to cool completely, then serve with ice cream.


    My version of a wonderfully spicy, pear upside down cake which has a hint of ginger.

    Enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments below.