Thursday, April 7, 2011

Upside-Down Pear Cake


Blame the very talented Jennifer from Delicieux, whose beautiful Upside Down Pear Cake started all of this.

See, my initial plan was to simply bake some pears. Delicious. I love baked pears. But then SHE had to come along and infect my mind with gorgeous images of upside down cakes and really...let’s be serious. How could I refuse? So, rather than baked pears as I had intended, I bring you a Honey and Orange Upside Down Pear Cake (honey and orange seems to be a theme with me lately... honey and orange mascarpone anyone?

Anyway, I looked long and hard for a recipe that I liked, and one that could be easily tweaked to suit me and finally decided on this one from Gourmet Traveller, which I then mutilated changed it.


This is the recipe, with my amendments:

Honey and Orange Upside-Down Pear Cake
150g caster sugar
100g almond meal
100g hazelnut meal
60g desiccated coconut
100g rye flour
200g canola oil
200g honey
3 eggs, at room temperature, lightly whisked
Zest of two oranges
1 tsp vanilla essence (if you can though, DEFINITELY se scraped vanilla seeds as they give a MUCH better flavour).

Roast pears:
4 large pears (I used Williams)
Juice of 1 orange
Honey to drizzle
3 or 4 tsp granulated sugar to sprinkle.

1. Preheat oven to 150C.
2. Peel pears and halve lengthways.
3. Place cut-side down in a baking dish, sprinkle over sugar and drizzle with honey and orange juice.
4. Cover with foil and bake for up to 4 hours or until tender.
5. Cool. (At this stage you can remove the cores and stems, however I left mine on because it added a rustic charm...or so I think)
6. Strain liquid through a sieve and reserve. Pears may be cooked the day before and refrigerated.

1. Preheat oven to 160˚C.
2. Place caster sugar in a small saucepan, add enough water to dampen and cook over high heat for 10 minutes or until caramel in colour.
3. caramel into a 20cm-round cake pan with high sides and swirl to coat base and sides.
4. Mix together almond and hazelnut meal, coconut and flour.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange zest, vanilla and honey. Add eggs a little at a time, whisking to incorporate before adding more.
6. Mix dry mixture into wet.
7. Arrange roast pears, round-side down onto cake pan, then spoon over the cake mixture.
8. Place the cake pan into a baking dish and cover base with 5mm of water.
9. Bake for 2 hours, or until firm and golden.
10. Allow cake to cool in pan, however, before inverting onto a plate, warm the base over the stove to melt the caramel.



This would be sensational served with some vanilla bean ice cream or some Chantilly, though being lactose intolerant myself, I haven’t tried it with either. On its own it was incredible!


The cake has a distinctly nutty flavour, unsurprising given the amount of almond and hazelnut meal in it! It’s beautiful, moist and just sweet enough. And the pears! Oh dear sweet lord! The pears! Heavenly. Seriously, I have never had pears that good in my life. They were like...oh, I don’t even know. Better than chocolate. Yes. Better than chocolate. That’s a big call. But they’re pretty special pears.

I had a few that wouldn’t fit in the pan, so tentatively I tried a piece of one that had sort off...fallen off. And then I pretty much inhaled the others. I couldn’t stop myself. Peary perfect.



  1. I'm glad to be the cause of this fabulous cake! It looks amazing and I love the combination of flavours. Mmm honey and pears and coconut. Yum!

    I've never used hazelnut meal before. Did you buy this or make your own?

  2. I bought some from Woolies. I have made my own before, but unfortnately our food processor is being a little bit tempermental at the moment so I decided to be safe and buy it.
    I personally love hazelnut meal. I used some in a yule log I made over Christmas and fell in love with it. It's a lot like almond meal, but the particles tend to be rougher and slightly bigger too, not that it makes much difference. :)

  3. Thanks for info, I will keep an eye out for it, or even make my own ;)

  4. Hi, just discoverd your blog! Amazing pictures and tasty recipes :) Some time ago I made this upside-dwon apple cake, but your pear version looks fabulous :)

  5. Thanks so much! :D
    Yummy! I love apple cake of any description!

  6. wow! those pictures look out of control good!

  7. Wow!!! This looks incredible!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  8. @Mary
    Thanks for the kind words! Your blog's amazing too! (I'm a dysfunctional dieter myself. :P)

  9. I made this cake and it is awsome!!! I had friends over for afternoon tea today and they just loved it! Thanks for the recepee....

    The Queen

  10. @Anonymous

    Thanks so much! I'm really glad you and your friends enjoyed the recipe!

  11. This looks awesome, sweet and moist. Whats the photo on your title - the pastry?

  12. @Three-Cookies
    Thank you! :D
    The photo in the title is of a lemon merangue pie I made. :) There's a recipe for it somewhere on here...

  13. The cake looks amazing and I would like to try it but rye flour is not easily available where I live! Can I substitute with anything?