Ginger-Brandy Pear Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Updated on June 29, 2018
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Pears are a nice fruit, mellow and yet sweet too, and soft and easy to eat. They only get better when they're embedded in a rich caramel with nuts and raisins sprinkled over them... and then made into a sweet cake with the mild sharpness of brandy and ginger's tantalizing taste. All of this forming a tantalizing and gorgeous upside-down cake. It looks beautiful like the blazing sun with the pears radiating outwards from the center, set into the deep-brown caramel and on top of the golden cake itself. The only thing easier than admiring it is eating it! The soft layers melt away in your mouth; the fruit and sugar melding together in glorious splendor. This dessert is equally parts sophisticated and elegant. It's great for a dinner party or something to enjoy yourself with only the whispering voice of your guilty conscience as you dig in to keep you company.

I have adapted this recipe from Flavorful: 150 Irresistible Desserts in All-Time Favorite Flavors by Tish Boyle, which is just as good as the name would recommend itself in my opinion. It has a splendid variety of desserts. The recipe that I have here has quite a variety of differences, and thus I do recommend getting the book to see the original recipe.

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  • 3 pears
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup raisins


  1. The first component to making the pie is the caramel. Combine together 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 4 tablespoon butter, and 1 cup brown sugar in a saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat until the butter melts together with the brown sugar and it turns to caramel. Pour into the bottom of a 10 inch pie bowl.
  2. Cut the pears into 1/2 inch wide slices, removing the cores. Layer them lengthwise facing into the center, in rows, covering the bottom of the pie dish and if necessary stacking. Once done, add the 1/2 cup of raisins over the pears, trying to evenly distribute them.
  3. In a small saucepan, perhaps the one previously used, combine together 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Coat the walnuts in the caramelizing sugar then pour them over the pears, trying to evenly distribute them.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, the baking powder, the baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a small bowl, mix together the heavy cream, brandy, 2 teaspoons dried ginger, vanilla, and the orange zest.
  5. In a large bowl, beat 8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick), until it is creamy. Add 1 cup of brown in gradual allotments, beating at medium speed until it is well incorporated, at least a minute. Then add in the 3 eggs, 1 egg at a time, beating constantly and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Proceed to add in the dry ingredients and the liquid ingredients, in 3 and 2 allotments respectively, beating until it is smooth and well integrated.
  6. Pour the batter over the pears and make sure it is smooth. Place it into a 350°(f) oven for 55 minutes. Once out, allow it to cool, then use a cake blade to push away the cake from the sides. Then upend it over a large dessert plate, through the standard method of placing the dessert plate over the pie dish then flipping both to remove it. Serve hot or at roomed temperature.

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    © 2018 Ryan Thomas


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