Pear & Vanilla Upside Down Cake


Pear & Vanilla upside down cake recipe


We have an abundance of pears at the moment, and I wanted to put them to good use.  This pear and vanilla upside down cake was a wonderful way showcase how delicious pears can be.  So delicious in fact that even my non pear loving boyfriend loved the cake and asked for more.   I think I may have converted him!  Which is a good thing as we still have quite a few pears left, which I already have plans for.

Another wonderful benefit of this recipe, other than it’s deliciousness, is that poaching the pears for the topping fills your house with an absolutely deliciously intoxicating aroma.  Pears and fresh vanilla – what could be better than that?

Pear and vanilla bean upside down cake

For this cake I’d recommend using pears that will hold their shape, such as Williams or Packham, during poaching and cooking.  Just make sure the pears are ripe, but not overly so.

So tell me, have you been able to convert someone to enjoying a fruit they didn’t like through your baking?


Poached Pear Vanilla Bean Upside Down Cake recipe

Pear and Vanilla Upside Down Cake



  • 3/4 cup of raw caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) of water
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 2 pears, peeled and cored and cut into eighths


  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of raw caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of self raising flour
  • 1 cup of almond meal



  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (320 Fahrenheit).
  2. Heat a large ovenproof non stick frying pan, over a medium heat.  Add the water and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the vanilla bean, pears and lemon juice and cook for 15 minutes, or until the pear is soft.  Remove from the heat and set aside while you make the cake base.
  4. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and thick and about 3 times it’s original volume.
  5. Switch the mixer to it’s lowest speed and sift in the self raising flour and fold through before adding the almond meal, oil and lemon juice.
  6. Pour the cake mixture on top of the poached pears and bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out cleanly.
  7. To serve turn out onto a cake platter and serve as is or with some freshly whipped cream.




Fun Fridays: French Martini
Rosemary Focaccia

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  1. muppy March 30, 2011  8:02 am Reply

    This looks really delicious, I have some pears that I want to bake with so maybe I should try this.

    • delicieux March 30, 2011  8:08 am Reply

      I may be biased, but I think it's delicious Muppy. :) I think it's best served slightly warm, to make the most of the flavours.

  2. Kayla March 30, 2011  8:03 am Reply

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! This is gorgeous. I love how the vanilla bean sticks out. It adds a rustic touch to the cake. Oh yes, fresh vanilla smells awesome! Hmm... now I craving for some pear dessert...
    My recent post Broiled Cinnamon-Maple Grapefruit

    • delicieux March 30, 2011  8:09 am Reply

      Thanks for your kind words Kayla :D I love the rustic touch that the vanilla bean adds too. It's not a fussy cake, just plain delicious.

    • delicieux March 30, 2011  8:10 am Reply

      Thank you Trudy :D It's definitely pear season and I can't wait to make some more pear dishes. Are you going to post your upside down pear cake? Great minds must think alike ;)

  3. Heidi March 30, 2011  8:56 am Reply

    Delicious! I love a good upside down cake. I get my man to eat quinces in cakes like these. If I poach them he doesn't love them but in a cake it's alllll good!
    Heidi xo
    My recent post My Foray into Footscray

  4. sandraleegarth March 30, 2011  8:56 am Reply

    Beautiful cake and not much luck in the convincing department. Maybe this could be the recipe that changes things!

    • delicieux March 30, 2011  10:04 am Reply

      Thanks Stephanie. I'll show more pear recipes next week :D

  5. Dzenana March 30, 2011  9:32 am Reply

    Yum! Now I want to make one of these with the rest of the pears I've got lying around! It looks so moist and delicious!

    As for making somebody like a fruit they don't usually like...well, its never happened with fruit, but my best friend is renowned for changing her mind about food she hates after I make them! Everything from couscous to peanut butter with chocolate (how could she have ever thought she didn't like that flavour combinationt!?!)

    My recent post Red Wine Poached Baby Pears with Honey Orange Mascarpone

  6. foodies at home March 30, 2011  2:29 pm Reply

    Oh thats a good question! Probably figs. My husband was never a fig person until I made simple roasted figs for a salad. This cake looks so moist! I think pears and vanilla is a great combination!
    My recent post Grandmas Classic Pot Roast

  7. CC11 March 30, 2011  3:50 pm Reply

    Pear and vanilla are a perfect combo - your cake looks so moist and yummy

  8. Ruby March 30, 2011  8:43 pm Reply

    Gorgeous! I've got a few under-ripe pears in the fruit bowl that might do well in this. And I'm thinking a rich, dark-chocolate sauce would not be unwelcome either... ;-)
    My recent post Blooming Champagne Cupcakes

    • delicieux March 31, 2011  7:32 am Reply

      Hi Ruby :D A chocolate sauce would be lovely with is, although it really is nice as is. :)

  9. mollyparr March 31, 2011  3:01 am Reply

    I was at a dinner party a few months ago, and they served a similar cake, but with apples. I love this combination of pear and vanilla. Can't wait to try it out once we have some good pears.

  10. Susi March 31, 2011  6:29 am Reply

    What a gorgeous cake and wonderful combination. I love this twist on an old classic. Looks incredibly elegant!
    My recent post Asian Inspired Cucumber Salad

  11. Soma April 1, 2011  9:43 am Reply

    I adore cakes with fruits - much better than any other cakes. I have done apple and pineapple upside downs, never pear. Looks so beautiful I shld make one soon,


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