Skillet Pear Upside-Down Cake

This beautiful upside-down pear cake is perfect for fall holidays and special occasions. Whether you are baking for your family or for a potluck, this cake will get everyone’s attention. And with the gooey caramelized layer and fresh sliced pears, it is delicious.


  • 3 medium pears, preferably Bosc or Anjou, ripe, firm
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed, light or dark
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 scant teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Put the 1/4 cup of butter and brown sugar in a 10 1/4-inch skillet and place it over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Turn the heat off and set aside.

  3. Peel the pears. Trim the stem end and blossom end and then slice the pears in half lengthwise. With a melon baller or a 1-teaspoon measuring spoon, cut the core out of each half. Place the pear on a cutting board, cut-side down, and slice thinly. Arrange the pear slices on top of the brown sugar mixture in the skillet.

  4. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

  5. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the 6 tablespoons of softened butter with 3/4 cup of granulated sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well blended.

  6. With the mixer on low speed, add about one-third of the flour and half of the milk and mix until blended. Add another one-third of the flour and the remaining milk and mix until blended. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until well blended. The batter will be thick.

  7. Spoon the batter evenly over the arranged pears. With a spatula, gently spread the batter out, taking care not to disturb the pears.

  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.

  9. Remove the cake from the oven to a rack and let it stand for 4 minutes. Place a plate or platter (heatproof) over the skillet and carefully invert the cake.

  10. Serve warm with ice cream or drizzle some sweet cream over the cake.

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