Chai Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake

It’s almost fall! Although I don’t start school until October (love the quarter system, just love it), I can’t deny that the season is starting to change. The days are getting shorter, it’s cooling off… Actually who am I kidding, it’s SoCal, it never cools off. But the sun is going down earlier, which means less time for outdoor ultimate unfortunately. But in order to console myself, I can just start baking with fall produce! Pears are a lovely fall fruit, sweet and juicy when ripe, and they add a lovely sweetness to baked goods. Apples are a more classic fall fruit for baking, but I decided to go with pears for this recipe. I recently got into a chai spice craze, so I took this recipe from Fine Cooking and added some chai spice to it, for a little extra flavor. The results? A wonderfully juicy, moist, spiced pear cake, that looks pretty as well!

Upside down cakes are always a little nerve-racking, since it’s never a sure bet that they’ll come out of the pan in one piece. I remember the first upside down cake I made with Shelby, she made me invert it since she didn’t want to be responsible for messing up. But it turned out great! Same as this upside down peach cake I made last summer. Just make sure you grease the pan thoroughly and you’ll be fine!

This cake is a nice way to ease into fall recipes. It was moist, just sweet enough, and nicely spiced with chai. The juicy pears topped with sugary chai caramel were a lovely topping to the dense, brown sugar cake, and the spiced juice added even more moisture to the cake. It popped beautifully out of the pan, and was enjoyed by many of my roommates, friends, and coworkers. So if you need something sweet to say goodbye to summer, give this cake a try!

Chai Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake

Adapted from Fine Cooking



2 medium-firm pears

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cold water

1/4 tsp lemon juice

4 tbsp butter, cut into 4 chunks

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ginger


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cardamom

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cloves

1/4 cup salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk (I used skim)

2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350˚F and thoroughly grease a 9 inch round cake pan. To prepare the pear topping, slice the pears and arrange in a circular pattern, the pointy end facing inwards, overlapping slightly.

To make the caramel, heat the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a saucepa. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the caramel starts to color. Cook, stirring, until the mixture turns an amber color, then remove from heat immediately and pour into a separate bowl. Stir in the butter and spices until the butter is melted and the spices are evenly distributed, then pour the caramel over the pears.

To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.

Beat together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Stir the flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture in alternate batches with the milk mixture. Stir until just combined. Spoon batter over the top of the pears and spread evenly. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You may want to place a baking tray under the cake to catch any overflow juices that may spill. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, then run a spatula around the edge of the cake to loosen it and invert onto a plate to cool completely. Slice and serve. Enjoy!



Such a pretty cake!


Look at that dense, moist cake. Yum!


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