Pear Upside-Down Cake

In this update of a retro dessert, a judicious amount of caramel coats the bottom of the pan before the fruit and batter are added. If you have a melon baller, pull it out—it's the perfect tool for coring pears.

Pear Upside-Down Cake
Photo: Johnny Autry
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
55 mins
Nutrition Profile:


  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1/2 cup, divided

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided

  • 3 medium pears, cored and sliced into eighths

  • ½ cup cake flour

  • ½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour

  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 vanilla bean, split

  • 2 large eggs

  • ½ cup nonfat plain strained yogurt, such as skyr or Greek


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until it melts and turns a deep amber color, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Immediately add 2 tablespoons butter, stirring vigorously. When the butter is incorporated, spread the caramel in an even layer. Shingle pear wedges on top.

  3. Whisk cake flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Combine oil with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 4 tablespoons butter in a large bowl. Scrape in vanilla bean seeds. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add yogurt and beat until blended. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating on low speed just until blended and scraping the sides as needed. Spoon the batter over the pears and spread with an offset spatula to cover.

  4. Bake the cake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

  5. Run a knife around the edge to loosen. Carefully pour out any excess liquid from the pan into a measuring cup. (It's OK if there isn't any excess liquid—it all depends on how juicy your fruit is.) Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate and drizzle with any reserved liquid. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

To make ahead

Store, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

252 Calories
12g Fat
32g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 252
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 18g
Protein 4g 8%
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 56mg 19%
Vitamin A 277IU 6%
Sodium 146mg 6%
Potassium 89mg 2%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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