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Pear Maple Upside Down Cake

Pear Maple Upside Down Cake

Pear Maple Upside Down Cake is a wonderful fall treat. Luscious fall pears and sweet maple syrup are the perfect combination to top this sweet cake with a hint of spice.

There seems to be a debate about when it’s really fall. Of course there’s the date on the calendar, but that’s so boring. Then there’s September 1, which is when fall starts according to meteorologists, but that’s more science than I want to get into. Of course, the pumpkin spice latte crowd claims fall starts when Starbucks tells us it starts, and I think that’s now some time in August! Pretty sure it was about 85 degrees here that day…

For me, fall starts when there are pears at the farmer’s market. That’s my signal. Apples aren’t reliable, there are so many varieties and some of those start coming in at the end of July. Pears though, those you can trust. They’re going to show up in late September, right on time. The only downside is that they stay for such a short time. Pear season comes and goes too quickly, so I need to make the most of it before it slips away. My favorite way to enjoy pears is in this Pear Maple Upside Down Cake. It’s heavenly. Pear and maple are a great combination in the topping, and the cake has a hint of spice without being too heavy.

Ingredient Notes

  • Pears – I used Bartlett pears, because those were what my farmstand had that day. I’ve also made this cake with Bosc and Comice pears and they are all great. I’ve never used Asian pears in this recipe, and they have a slightly different texture than other varieties. I don’t know how they’d work here. If you try it, drop me a comment and let me know! Ripe pears are a bit soft, where unripe pears are very hard. You want your pears to be ripe for this recipe. You can press on them and see if the flesh gives a bit. Ripe pears also have a beautiful aroma to them. If they smell like absolute heaven, they’re ripe!
  • Maple Syrup – Please, please use real maple syrup when you’re cooking and baking. Pancake syrup is not the same thing. The syrup in the plastic squeeze bottle is primarily corn syrup and flavoring agents. It isn’t the same substance as real maple syrup, and you won’t get the same results when you cook or bake with it. If “No maple tree was harmed in the making of this syrup” then put it on your waffles all you want! Just stick a bottle of the real stuff in the baking pantry.
  • Almond extract – Almond is the ideal flavor partner for pears. I always put a little almond extract in any pear dessert. I also don’t have anyone in my home or my close circle who is allergic to tree nuts. If you do, or you’re not crazy about the taste of almonds, or you just don’t have almond extract and don’t feel like going to the store, leave it out. It’s completely optional.

How to Make Pear Maple Upside Down Cake

The process for this cake is very similar to making Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Combine butter and sugar (in this case syrup), lay in your fruit, and top with cake batter:

  • Maple Syrup Topping – In a cast iron or other large heavy skillet, melt the butter and then add the maple syrup. Let this come to a boil and then cook for a few minutes to reduce down.
  • Pears – Getting your pears ready is just a matter of peel, core and slice. Pear skin comes off easily with a vegetable peeler. Slice the pears in half and scoop out the core with a spoon or a melon baller. Then slice each pear half into 6 slices. Lay the pear slices into the pan.
  • Cake Batter – This is a basic “creaming method” style cake. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl. In your stand mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugar, add eggs and extracts, then add milk and dry ingredients in thirds, alternating one and then the other. The cake batter will be thick. Drop it by spoonfuls over the pears, and then smooth it out to cover.

Pear Maple Upside Down Cake

Course: Cakes, Desserts, Fall, Holidays, Recipe, ThanksgivingCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time



Pear Maple Upside Down Cake is a wonderful fall treat. Luscious fall pears and sweet maple syrup are the perfect combination to top this sweet cake with a hint of spice.


  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

  • 11 tbsp unsalted butter, divided

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp almond extract, optional

  • 2/3 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 3 pears


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Cake Batter
  • Add flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • Add 8 tbsp (one stick) of butter and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer, and beat with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add eggs, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add 1/3 of dry ingredients and mix, followed by 1/3 of milk. Continue adding the two in turns, ending with the last of the milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and give it one last mix. Set aside.
  • Pear Maple Topping
  • Melt remaining 3 tbsp of butter in cast iron or other heavy skillet.
  • Add maple syrup and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes to reduce. Remove from heat.
  • Peel, core and slice pears. (see notes above)
  • Layer pears in rings into the butter and maple mixture. (see photo above)
  • Assembly and Baking
  • Drop cake batter by the spoonful on top of the pears. Batter will be thick. Use a spatula or knife to evenly spread the batter to cover all of the pears.
  • Bake for 26 – 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with a few crumbs stuck to it. NOT completely clean. Clean toothpicks mean overbaked cakes!
  • Invert pan onto serving platter and let cool.

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