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Pear Ginger Upside Down Cake

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This Pear Ginger Upside Down Cake takes cues from the classic pineapple upside down cake.  Crunchy pears are soaked in a creamy caramel sauce, and a coarse butter cake is textured with cornmeal for delightful bite!  

Pear and ginger upside down cake on a cake platter

Pear Ginger Upside Down Cake

The holidays are over and I don’t know whether I should be happy or sad.  What I do know is that I have a bushel of fresh apples and fruit left from the thoughtful fruit baskets we received.  The only thing is how can two people possibly eat that much fruit!

Enter the Pear Ginger Upside Down Cake.  It is first important to note that is is not a mini cake (gasp!)  However, it is a delicious recipe for holiday’s – translation – for when you have a house full of guests.  🙂

What I love about an upside down cake is that it showcases the crisp fruit blanketed in a rich caramel sauce.   For the cake itself, you need a cake crumb that is strong enough to support the fruit, which is why we are starting with a butter cake.  And as an added note of texture, we are using cornmeal in this recipe because of its complementary texture to the pears.   

A Delicious Holiday Cake

The upside down cake is a great canvas for other fresh fruit.  I have tried it with apples, pineapple, peaches, and even cranberries.  What is always a constant is the caramel sauce.  Which for this Pear Ginger Upside Down cake, it is easy to prepare.  You simply melt the butter and sugar and pour over the fruit.  So easy, yet so yummy you’d think it took hours to get it to taste that good. 

Another secret ingredient (wait, there’s more?!) – ginger.  I love the sweet and spicy bite it adds and for this recipe.  I recommend using only crystallized ginger because it gives you the true ginger flavor surrounded by a nice sweetness.

Single slice of pear upside down cake with whipped cream

Tips for making Pear Ginger Upside Down Cake

  1. Use a pear variety that is more firm.  For this recipe, I used Bosc and Red Anjou pears.  Bartlett pears can be too soft and may turn out mushy when baked.
  2. Line the bottom of your baking pan with a piece of parchment paper that is cut to fit.  This helps the cake to release when the pan is inverted.
  3. The cornmeal is an unexpected texture in the cake, but can also be omitted.  I do recommend that you at least try it once with the cornmeal.  I am pretty certain you will find it to be a great texture to add to your cake repertoire. 🙂

Note about this post: This recipe was originally made a year ago and I have since updated the post slightly. The cake is not one of my mini cakes, but I think you will be thankful it is not! 🙂

More Cake Recipes

Slice of pear and ginger upside down cake

Pear and Ginger Upside Down Cake

Yield: 8 Servings
This Pear Ginger Upside Down Cake takes cues from the classic pineapple upside down cake.  Crunchy pears are soaked in a creamy caramel sauce, and a coarse butter cake is textured with cornmeal for delightful bite!  
Prep20 minutes
Cook40 minutes
Total1 hour


  • 9-Inch Round Cake Pan


Pear Topping

  • 3 ripe pears (I used Bosc and Anjou)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup full fat sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 350F degrees.  Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper, cut to fit.

Pear Topping

  • Peel, halve and core the pears.  Set aside 1 pear half to use at a later time.  Cut the remaining 5 pear halves into 4 wedges each.  Arrange the pears in a circular pattern on the bottom of the prepared cake pan with the pointed ends pointing inward.  
  • In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and ginger and cook over medium heat until the butter and sugar melt, stirring occasionally – about 4-6 minutes.  Pour the melted mixture over the pears in the cake pan.


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar and eggs until fully incorporated.  Slowly whisk in the melted butter until just combined.  Add in the sour cream and vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and whisk until just combined.  
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly over the apples.
  • Bake until the cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean – about 34-40 minutes.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen from the pan.  
  • After cooling, invert the cake onto a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.  Let the cake sit until it releases itself from the pan – this may take up to 1 minute.
  • Remove the pan and gently remove and discard the parchment paper.  Let the cake cool on the rack for at least 1 hour before serving.
  • The cake can be stored covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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  1. The cornmeal gives the cake a delightful and unexpected texture.  It is not necessary for the recipe if you are not a fan of cornmeal, and can be omitted.
  2. There are many pear varieties and you will want to select a firmer pear for the recipe so they keep their shape and bite.  I find that Bosc and Anjou pears work the best.
  3. The pairing of ginger and pear is such a great flavor combination, and using crystallized ginger gives you the best sweet and spicy flavor ginger.  I do not recommend ground ginger because you lose some of that ginger ‘spice’.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich
Nutrition information is calculated by a third-party and should only be considered an estimate and not a guarantee.
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about the author ...

I'm Erin and I'm all about desserts - and a little bit of butter!

I've tested, written, and photographed hundreds of recipes on my website. Here you'll find the tastiest small batch gluten free and traditional desserts - all homemade, all simple, and all for you!

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