Pear & Cardamom Caramel Upside-Down Cake

September 22, 2021
12 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland Prop Stylist: Suzie Myers Food Stylist: Ericka Martins
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 55 minutes
  • makes One 9-inch cake
Author Notes

The winds are changing and autumn is in the air, which means pears are now in season. This warming, comforting cake makes the most of these gems and is just right for this time of year. The pears get softened by the aromatic, cardamom-infused caramel sauce, and the almond-scented sponge with a hint of orange is the perfect partner for sweet fruit. This cake can be enjoyed warm with some cream or ice cream, making it a triumph of contrasts, but it is just as lovely when eaten fully cool.

This cake pan will fit 3½ pears, so buy 4 pears and save the leftover half for a snack!

Note: The recipe calls for superfine (aka caster) sugar, but if you can’t find it, granulated sugar should be a fine substitute. —Chetna Makan

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Pear & Cardamom Caramel Upside-Down Cake
  • Caramel
  • 50 grams (3½ tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 100 grams (heaping ½ cup) light brown or muscovado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 1/2 medium Bosc pears, peeled, halved, seeds removed
  • Cake
  • 150 grams (¾ cup) superfine sugar
  • 200 grams (½ cup plus 6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 150 grams (1 cup plus 5 tablespoons) self-rising flour
  • 50 grams (½ cup) blanched, finely ground almonds or almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons orange zest (from 2 to 3 oranges)
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Use butter to grease a 9-inch round springform cake pan.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the 50 grams butter, sugar, and cardamom, swirling the pan until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Cook for 2 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth, stirring it well with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Carefully pour this into the prepared cake pan and spread evenly with whichever tool you stirred with. Place the prepared pear halves, cut side down, into the caramel.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine all the cake ingredients and whisk for 2 minutes, until the batter is light and creamy. Spoon this mixture carefully over the pears, without disturbing them. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the cake pulls away from the edges of the pan and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  4. Leave the cake in the pan and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before carefully removing the sides of the springform pan. Place a plate or cake stand on top of the cake, then carefully invert the cake. Enjoy it warm or cold. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • chefrockyrd
  • Jay
  • roxndt
  • Jessica Stanforth
    Jessica Stanforth

9 Reviews

Jay December 24, 2021
I made this today as a gluten-free cake (Isubbed KAF measure for measure). Not only was this super simple to make, but it looks BEAUTIFUL...I was so worried about releasing it and it just was perfect. Tastes lovely as well (a bit denser than a mainstream flour cake but we are celiac and know what to expect). Quite a showstopper without all the fuss.
roxndt December 20, 2021
I think we need to add some sour cream or cream Fraiche to make the cake a little moist… it’s too dry. Otherwise, it’s tasty and beautiful when it comes out… could be a wonderful Xmas torte
Jessica S. November 11, 2021
This looks amazing! If making for someone with tree nut allergies, could the almond flour be replaced with cornmeal? Or something else?
Imawall October 27, 2021
I've made this twice and it was a total HIT!! So easy and so delicious! My only problem is i don't have the correct plate to make the flip. I have plates with a bit of a well, so it slides a bit and it broke the first time. This last one i controlled a bit better. No matter, it was delish and part of my baking arsenal!
chefrockyrd October 28, 2021
Try flipping on to the bottom a flat baking sheet or pan larger than the cake. Sometimes you can flip it to the bottom of your dish with the lip if its flat enough.
Rebecca O. October 10, 2021
Delicious! I used Anjou pears because they were in my fruit bowl, used cake flour and regular granulated sugar and a tsp of elderflower and no orange zest (which I really truly yearned for but was too lazy to go to the market) and a Square pan. Still awesome! Just proves if you have the will and the basics you will surprise yourself! Thank you
chefrockyrd September 29, 2021
I loved seeing Chetna again. She did the same cake around 5 years ago on youtube and has longer hair in the video.
My question is why add more baking powder if the flour she is using is self rising?
bwarriner September 26, 2021
I watched the video on YouTube and wanted to make it. Had to buy cardamom and a 9" Springform cake pan. Also my grocer only had Bartlett pears. All that to say it turned out great. I loved it. My wife loved the cake but not the pears (something about the texture), my daughter loved the pears, but thought the cake was too sweet. I think it was perfect, but I'd like to make it again with bosc pears.
zipper12 September 29, 2021
Hello! I'm making this tonight and am glad it turned out well for you! Did you use All-purpose flour or self-rising flour? I only have all-purpose and am wondering if I should add some extra baking powder to compensate.