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Single slice of pear upside down cake with whipped cream
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Pear and Ginger Upside Down Cake

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!  
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 9-Inch Cake, Ginger, Holiday Cake, Pear, Upside Down Cake
Servings: 8 Servings
Author: Erin Cernich


  • 1 - 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
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 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.


  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'.