This cake is my nod to fall. My nod that it’s coming. But not here yet. I may be wearing my favorite sweatshirt and yoga pants already. Working with the windows open. That’s allowing the tinniest of chills to blow through our apartment. Drinking warm coffee in the morning instead of iced. And we may have gone pear-picking already.

But we also just bought a pile of bright red tomatoes from that same farm we picked our pears. Summer can’t be over yet. I just made my first batch of salsa for the season. And probably my last. I’m not sure what it is I’m hanging on to. I love autumn. And bonfires. And burnt marshmallows. And warm sweatshirts. I hear fall paints a pretty picture in the northeast.

But it feels like we’re just getting settled. I’m ready to take our grill out back and have a cookout with our new friends. We’ll eat homemade ice cream for dessert. And complain about how warm it is. And how we can’t wait for … fall.

Maybe I’ll serve acorn squash risotto instead. And this little number for dessert—a dense yet flavor-filled almond cake. Just the way I like it. Topped with autumns offspring—pears. It tastes like fall. And I guess that’s a good thing—I think it’s coming. If not already here.

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Pear Upside-Down Cake

  • Yield: two 6-inch cakes or one 9-inch cake 1x


  • Pear Base
  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) salted butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 large or 2 small pears, cored, thinly sliced
  • Dry Ingredients
  • heaping 1/4 c. almonds
  • 1/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 c. + 2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. potato starch
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • Wet Ingredients
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Creaming Ingredients
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line bottom of pan(s) with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Pear Base. Mix together butter, brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Spread evenly on bottom of pan(s). Place pear slices in a circular pattern. Set aside.
  3. Dry Ingredients. In a food processor, blend almonds and powdered sugar together until fine. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.
  4. Wet Ingredients. In a small bowl, stir together wet ingredients. Set aside.
  5. Creaming Ingredients. In a standing mixer using a paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugars on low speed until mixture begins pulling away from sides. About 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between mixing.
  6. On low speed, alternately add the wet and dry ingredients into the creaming mixture. This should take about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat on high speed for 30 seconds to build structure into the batter.
  7. Add or evenly divide batter into pans. Bake for about 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from pan to allow the pears to set. Invert and place on cooling rack. Serve or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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 Recipe adapted from United Cakes of America.

PS—check out my post over at Mint today.

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