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Upside-Down Pear Cake with Brown Butter

Upside-Down Pear Cake with Brown Butter. This slightly sweet fall cake is studded with nutty brown butter, warm spices, and covered with pears. Easy to make, and even easier to impress with!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword upside down cake, pear cake, buttermilk cake, pear upside down cake, brown butter
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 slices
Calories 391 kcal


  • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp + pinch kosher salt
  • 2 pears, halved, cored and sliced into 1/8-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan VERY well. Cut a circle of parchment big enough to fit in the bottom of the pan. Nestle the paper in the pan and then butter the parchment paper. Add flour the the pan. Evenly coat the butter in flour, shaking out any excess flour.

  2. Add seven tablespoons of the softened butter to a large saute pan. Heat to medium-high. Swirl the pan until the butter starts to brown on the edges. Continue to swirl the pan until the butter turns a deep golden brown and smells nutty. Remove from the heat. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to get all the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan. Transfer all but two tablespoons of the butter to a small bowl. Transfer the bowl of melted brown butter to the freezer. Stir every three or four minutes until the butter has solidified again, and is in a softened state. (You want to it to be the same texture as the softened butter, so make sure you don't freeze it until it's hard. Stirring every few minutes is key!)

  3. While the butter solidifies, add brown sugar to the two tablepsoons of brown butter in the saute pan. Turn the heat on medium and cook until the brown sugar has melted. Add pears and toss in the sauce. Cook pears 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Turn the heat off. Season with a pinch of salt. Set aside.

  4. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, and cinnamon to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

  5. Once the butter has come to a softened state, add it, along with the remaining 4 tablespoons softened butter and sugar to the bottom of a stand mixer. Beat on a medium speed until it's light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

  6. Reduce the speed to low and eggs, one at a time, until each is incorporated. Add vanilla, mix until combined.

  7. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar. Mix on low just until the flour Has been combined. Add half the buttermilk. Again mix on low, just until the buttermilk is combine. Add another 1/3 of the flour, and mix on low just until combined. Pour in the remaining buttermilk and mix until combined. Finally, add the remaining 1/3 of the flour and mix on low just until combined.

  8. Arrange the pears in the prepared pan. Pour any remaining caramel sauce on top. Working carefully, dollop the batter over the pear mixture and spread the batter evenly over the pears, making sure to not move the pears. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden skewer or toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

  9. Let the cake rest for 1 minute. Use a knife to loosen all the edges. Place a large plate or platter on top of the pan. Flip and use a knife or spoon to tap the top so the cake releases. Remove the pan. Gently remove parchment paper. Cut into wedges. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Recipe Notes

*Be sure to butter and flour the cake pan VERY well or it will stick! 

*If any of the pears do stick, don't worry, just peel them off the pan and arrange them on the cake. Dust with powdered sugar.

Nutrition Facts
Upside-Down Pear Cake with Brown Butter
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 391 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 99mg33%
Sodium 247mg11%
Potassium 210mg6%
Carbohydrates 52g17%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 31g34%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 629IU13%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 82mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.