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.




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