Friday, September 27, 2013

Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread

When a friend heard I was dealing with pears the other week she made a point to tell me about a pear recipe she recently tried that her family loved.  And, come to find out, it's found in a cookbook I already own. How many recipe gems are lurking in those cookbooks on my shelves?  I can't even bring myself to think about it.

This recipe was a hit at our house, too, and my friend was right on another count- it made the house smell amazing as it baked.  If you can scrounge around a few pears, please-oh-please make this soon.  The cake is moist and spicy (but not overly so).  The gooey pear top is warm and sweet.  Pear and gingerbread, it turns out, are an absolutely lovely couple.

Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread (adapted slightly from a recipe submitted to Simply in Season by Bernita Boyts)
If you don't have access to pears, I think apples would be delightful, too. There are several steps to this recipe, but they're all very easy.  I made this cake in a 9-inch round baking pan.  This was a good choice size-wise, but some of the syrup baked out a bit onto the bottom of my oven.  Place a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any spills. Also, the recipe suggests you combine the first set of ingredients in your baking pan and then microwave it.  Since I wanted to bake in a metal pan, I used a glass bowl for this first step and then transferred it to my pan.
Serves 8

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. water
2-3 large ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp.baking soda
1 tsp.ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. each of ground nutmeg, ground allspice and salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses or honey (I used mostly molasses and a little honey)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, sugar, 1 tbsp. butter and water in a glass bowl and microwave on low until the butter melts.  Stir to combine.  Pour into a greased 9-inch round baking pan.  Layer prepared pears on top of the syrup.  Set aside.

In a bowl, combine both flours, the baking soda, spices and salt.  Set this aside, too.  In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat 1/3 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar until fluffy.  Add the egg and beat again.

In a small bowl or glass measuring pitcher, combine the molasses (or honey) and buttermilk.  Alternately add the dry ingredients and the molasses mixture to the butter mixture until all are well combined.  Pour and spread batter over the pears.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the upper half of the cake comes out clean.

Let cool a few minutes, run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto a plate.  If some of the pears stick to the pan (some of mine did) just transfer them to the top of the gingerbread.  No one is going to mind.  I promise.  Serve warm.  Once it cools, it refrigerates nicely.

Pin It


  1. Thanks! Sounds delicious. Especially as I love gingerbread. We had per pear last week & the only way it could possibly have been better would have been the addition of gingerbread.

  2. Oh... we've become absolutely smitten with upside down cake around here lately. After the pear/gingerbread one we did peach/praline with the very last of the fresh peaches. Up next apple spice and cranberry almond.... I'll let you know how they turn out.

  3. Oh! This is happening for Bible study this week! Gingerbread is a Christmas tradition at our house topped with chunky pear sauce- this might be a great adaptation! Thanks!

  4. I've been wanting to try this recipe. Thanks for the visual motivation. Did you use softer, ready-to-eat pears or crunchier, less-ripe pears?

    1. The pears I used were ready-to-eat but very firm (almost apple-like). They are an old-timey variety. The ripeness helps with the flavor but there isn't much concern about whether they'll get soft enough- they will:-).

  5. That's funny. I just made a variation of this recipe with inspiration from the same cookbook (which I got after reading about it here!), but I used a 9x13 pan (which didn't give enough goo on the top), and a gluten-free vanilla cake mix with the spices added. I know the original would have been MUCH better, but this mama wanted a sweet treat that wouldn't make her tummy hurt. I'll make the original for my family (and maybe enjoy a bite or two). I never enjoy GF as much as the real deal, but that's okay.

    Oh, I'm lovin' the Sonlight, by the way! Thanks for the help!

  6. I made this for my family on Sunday and it was a huge hit! I used gluten-free flour for my husband, and it turned out surprisingly well. I do add Xantham Gum to help it rise, and was pleased with the results. Thanks for a fun Fall recipe!

  7. I made the mistake of trying to use a pie pan for this recipe and it resulted in a big mess! Wonderful flavor, though, and parts were still edible. I plan to try it again using my springform pan as I don't have any cake rounds. Here's hoping for better results next time! I wonder if a person could also use an 8x8 square baking pan. The Simply in Season cookbook just says "casserole dish" which is unfortunately not specific enough for me. Hopefully these are two good alternatives. :)

  8. Hello... I just want to let you know I just took this "delicious" smelling cake out of the oven.
    It is for a ladies tea tomorrow, and I just know they are all going to want the recipe :) Thanks for posting it.
    I baked mine in a 9" square glass dish and have turned it out onto a plate and it all came out perfect.


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

Please choose the Anonymous option if you prefer not to sign in to comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails