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Spiced Pear Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Spiced Pear Upside-Down Cake Recipe

The flavors of fresh, sweet pears and gingerbread blend beautifully in this intriguing variation on pineapple upside-down cake. Leftovers—if there are any—taste great with coffee or tea the next day. —Lisa Varner Charleston, South Carolina
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 35 min. + cooling YIELD:9 servings


  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large pears, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • Ice cream, optional


  • 1. Pour melted butter into a 9-in. square baking pan; sprinkle with nuts and brown sugar. Arrange pears over nuts.
  • 2. In a large bowl, cream softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with water, beating well after each addition.
  • 3. Spread batter over pears. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm with ice cream if desired. Yield: 9 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 piece: 419 calories, 25g fat (13g saturated fat), 77mg cholesterol, 347mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate (25g sugars, 3g fiber), 4g protein.

Reviews for Spiced Pear Upside-Down Cake

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debpetersen User ID: 452182 254694
Reviewed Sep. 27, 2016

"Everyone loved this. I substituted pecans for walnuts."

XYZgracie User ID: 8918619 252967
Reviewed Aug. 21, 2016

"Despite realizing at the last minute that I was out of nuts (I would have used pecans, subbed dried cranberries) and molasses (had to sub dark Karo), this recipe was a hit. To the reviewer who suggested that the cake had problems rising because of juice form the pears, I wonder if it might have been that the pears were cold? After getting all ingredients out and assembling the bottom layers, I put the pan in the preheating oven while I mixed the batter. By the time the batter was ready, the pears were warm (not hot) and the cake baked with no problem spots. I actually used extra pears, cut in chunks."

Nanny175 User ID: 6720228 242760
Reviewed Jan. 28, 2016

"Delicious, didn't change a thing!"

nancycen User ID: 1183581 220711
Reviewed Feb. 17, 2015

"There was too much juice using 2 pears (bosc), so the middle of the cake never cooked completely. I tried it again using only 1 pear and it turned out perfect, baking it for 40 minutes. Delicious!"

BethRJarvis User ID: 7697676 184446
Reviewed Sep. 27, 2014

"Delicious gingerbread and pears. I used 1/2 light molasses and half dark because I ran out of light. It turned out quite dense."

spronovo User ID: 3118526 194995
Reviewed Apr. 16, 2014

"Delicious pear cake and easy to make!"

jbrough1984 User ID: 6603755 111642
Reviewed Jan. 30, 2014

"I made this exactly as written except I left the nuts out (personal choice). My husband loved it. I agree with a previous review that I think I'll use another pear next time."

KarisAnn User ID: 6548036 212521
Reviewed Nov. 6, 2013

"I made this cake exactly as directed and while I really liked it, I didn't love it. I think the name is deceptive because to me it tasted like a plain gingerbread cake with just a hint of pear flavor. Perhaps I should have added more pears. I was very impressed with how well the cake came out of the pan (I used a non-stick pan). It looked beautiful...I only wish the taste matched the beauty of it."

mcjaeger68 User ID: 4138737 195082
Reviewed Oct. 28, 2013

"Yum! This cake is delicious warm out of the oven and at room temperature. It has a wonderful blend of spices. One of my friends who tasted it asked if there were graham crackers in it."

Melrn1 User ID: 7266247 178178
Reviewed Oct. 2, 2013

"I made this last night; it's delicious & great to celebrate the fall. The only thing I would do differently is add a little more of the topping (nuts, butter, sugar) because some can stick to the pan & I will make it in a 13"x9" dish & add a little more to the recipe because the cake went fast with several people in the house; leaving some to want more. **Could use apples instead of pears also**"

Panopedro User ID: 5730331 193369
Reviewed Oct. 1, 2013


BCRN User ID: 4930168 191819
Reviewed Sep. 30, 2013

"I made this as written. Really good but I do prefer old fashion plain gingerbread. I do not understand substituting molasses and ginger in a recipe discribed as a gingerbread and pear combo--gingerbread is molasses and ginger. However, some of the substitutions sounded good."

LEEMON User ID: 7243024 117283
Reviewed Sep. 30, 2013

"I haven't made this yet but sounds like a cake I had before and if so, I can taste it just thinking about it. Anxious to make it."

bakergirlmd User ID: 6045723 117282
Reviewed Sep. 30, 2013

"Excellent cake; might suggest subbing pure maple syrup for the molasses which adds sweetness without the overpowering taste of the latter. You can also cut ginger to 1/4 teaspoon and add 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg to vary taste. 1/2 cup (1 stick of butter) seems excessive; I agree with another reviewer to use 1/4 instead."

JenfromFlag User ID: 2604063 132975
Reviewed Apr. 27, 2012

"This was fairly quick and easy to make. I substituted applesauce for the molasses which seemed fine. I might try apples instead of pears sometime also."

kayesandra User ID: 2865031 195078
Reviewed Feb. 3, 2012

"This is an excellent recipe!! Made it just as written, perfect combination of spices. I baked it for 40 minutes and it was done, not gooey as one reviewer said. Will definitely make it again."

Dinalynn User ID: 1979597 117193
Reviewed Jan. 28, 2012

"I was able to make this recipe gluten-free and egg-free. It turned out great!"

cebulas User ID: 1767033 194965
Reviewed Jan. 2, 2012

"WOW! I had never made an upside-down cake before this one. I did have to cook it an extra 5 minute. I was worried about the amount of spices, but it worked out perfectly. A definate keeper for when we want an "healthy" dessert, there's fruit, right!"

Joy Lang User ID: 5929488 150265
Reviewed Apr. 12, 2011


mloh User ID: 1015477 196162
Reviewed Mar. 28, 2011

"Very good! I used 3 pears and no nuts, next time I will use 4 pears."

dgcn10ac User ID: 2324808 179233
Reviewed Feb. 18, 2011

"The combination of the pears, molasses and spices were delicious. I served it warm with frozen yogurt and it was so good! I reduced the amount of butter for the topping to 1/4 cup and it wasn't missed. Great dessert - would definitely make it again!"

ainsleyandmatthewmom User ID: 5645092 178177
Reviewed Feb. 4, 2011

"I made this today for my Ladies' Bible Study group, and it received rave compliments! The pears and caramelly topping were absolutely delicious, and the cake was moist and yummy. Next time I make it, however, I will use baking spray to coat the side of the pan. The cake and topping stuck on two of the corners and when I flipped it over onto the serving platter it broke. Regardless, it was scrumptious. :)"

LeilaDK User ID: 1657208 123701
Reviewed Jan. 31, 2011

"The magazine came in the mail, and that very weekend had to make something for Mother in laws birthday dinner. Looking at this recipe I found I had all the ingredients necessary already on hand. (Doesn't usually happen) Put this together exactly as suggested and it was a big hit. Because of the molasses and ginger, little ones may not go for this but the adults in my family loved it. Will definitely keep this one for future use."

cageller User ID: 3220683 117281
Reviewed Jan. 30, 2011

"I made this cake today and it was good, but the middle of the cake didn't completely cook, even after I added another 10 minutes . I thought it would be richer tasting, with all the butter in it, but it was just okay. I was hoping for a moist cake, but it was a bit gooey."

ElaineVV User ID: 5794781 196161
Reviewed Jan. 30, 2011

"I think the molasses and ginger combination is a bit strong. If I were to make it again I would definitely change the spices."

delowenstein User ID: 3766053 123700
Reviewed Jan. 29, 2011 Edited Sep. 30, 2013

"I made two cakes today-I substituted apples for the pears! This recipe is a KEEPER and I plan to use it as much as possible! I admit that I did make some minor changes to the recipe-I used 2 cups all-purpose flour and I greased and floured the pans to allow for easier removal of the cakes! Lisa Varner, THANK YOU for submitting this recipe! I LOVE IT! Dawn E. Lowenstein"

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