Valentine’s Day: Pear Upside Down Cake with Buttermilk

Contains:  Gluten, dairy, sugar.   Is:  Vegetarian

I went surfing to find a good use for leftover buttermilk, that I’d purchased to make a recipe you’ll be seeing in (yes) March.  (I also used some for buckwheat pancakes.)

pear, upside down cake, buttermilk, egg, recipe

I came up with this one:  Makeover Peach Upside Down Cake.   Make over because it has less fat (as it uses that buttermilk), but it still looked mighty sugary to me, so I’m afraid I reduced the sugar so that I would personally enjoy it.  I also switched to canned pears instead of canned peaches (the latter always taste metallic to me).

recipe, pears, upside down cake, recipe, dessert, buttermilk, egg

The first layer in the pie pan — brown sugar, spices, pear slivers.

Back in the day, Mom used to make a pineapple upside down cake, but alas I don’t have her recipe.  As I recall, the cake part of hers wasn’t too sweet, either.

recipe, pears, upside down cake, recipe, buttermilk, egg, dessert

The final layer in the pie pan – flour, egg, buttermilk and so forth. Ready for the oven.

I don’t have an actual cake pan, so I used one of the pans I picked up specifically for making quiches.  So, it’s not going to have that “straight sided” effect that would be normal – use whatever you choose or have.  I could have also used one of my square cooking pans of the appropriate size, but I opted to remain with the quiche pan.  (You guessed it, I don’t really feel the need to make desserts often.  I know there will be at least two more desserts made here this year — and  I like trying something new for each.  If they pass muster, I’ll post…  and I doubt any will be standard cakes, since I’m not very much interested in them.)

recipe, pears, upside down cake, recipe, buttermilk, egg, dessert

Resting on a rack.

Basically, this one came about in part because of the need to use the buttermilk.  But, hey, finally… I want to make a dessert for a Valentine’s Day post.  There’s a “squidge” left; I think it will end up in scrambled eggs…

recipe, pears, upside down cake, recipe, buttermilk, egg, dessert

Moist and luscious interior. I did share this.

Prep Time:  20 minutes.
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes.
Rest Time:  10 minutes.
Serves:  How hungry are you?  Easily 8 people.
Cuisine: Dessert.
Leftovers?:  Cover and refrigerate.


Pear Upside Down Cake with Buttermilk

  • 1 can (15 ounces) sliced pears in juice.  Mine came as halves, but just slice ’em.
  • 1/3 cup / 80 mL packed brown sugar  I used brown coconut sugar.
  • 4 tablespoons butter.  Melt and divide (1 tablespoon and 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1.5 cups / 355 mL all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup / 120 mL sugar (I went ahead and used more brown coconut sugar, but feel free to use plain white)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup / 240 mL buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 350 F° / 177 C°.

Drain pears, but set aside 2 tablespoons of their juice.  Rinse off excess sweetness using tap water.

Cut pear slices lengthwise in half, and then use a paper towel to dry them.

Mix brown sugar, 1 tablespoon melted butter, the cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as  those 2 tablespoons of juice together.

Place the above mixture into a 9-in. round lightly-oiled baking pan. Layer the pear slices over the top, artistically if so inspired.

In another suitable bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In yet another bowl, mix the whole egg, vanilla, buttermilk, and the rest of the butter.

Add the contents of this last bowl to the dry ingredients and stir just until lightly combined.

Using a large spoon, layer the immediately-above over the pears in their pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes.  Test for done-ness by using a toothpick, if it comes out clean, you’re ready.

Cool 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter, and serve immediately as this is best dived into whilst warm.

Pear, recipe, dessert, upside down cake, buttermilk, egg

Dessert goals for this year or so: 

  • Cheesecake, possibly two overall different styles.
  • Pumpkin pie, from scratch (I am hoping from a home-grown pumpkin this fall).
  • Something gluten-free and dairy-free (and tree-nut free) for a large party to be thrown late April, where there will be individuals who have allergies/sensitivities.

This recipe is making the rounds at:





About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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13 Responses to Valentine’s Day: Pear Upside Down Cake with Buttermilk

  1. WT Abernathy says:

    Sounds like you should get yourself a cake pan- I put it off for years, but when I finally got them (2) I couldn’t believe I went so long without them.

    Cheesecake is also on my list of things to bake this year- my wife and I are round-robin-marathon watching the Great British Baking show, and trying at least one new recipe a week. This weekend, it’s Clangers…

    Cheers, and thanks for a great recipe share!

    • Thanks… I probably should get a cake pan. BTW, life got ahead of me, and now the photos are up on the post! I’ll have to look for the Great British Cooking Show… atm I only get shows from YouTube and from what I get from just plain antenna reception… they will be wiring cable through this burgh in a year and a half or thereabouts. Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

  2. Jhuls says:

    The cake sounds so good!! I want a slice or two right now! I haven’t had anything sweet after the Whole30 so I think it will not hurt if I enjoy a slice. 😀 It is always nice seeing you at Fiesta Friday party! Thank you for sharing a wonderful recipe.

  3. Emily says:

    This sounds like a lovely dessert for a weekday or for company! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. The Speedy Spatula says:

    Absolutely love pear cake and this looks wonderful!

  5. helenfern says:

    Looks delicious and you made it look so easy to make! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party. Have a great week.

  6. Oh my goodness me! that side shot of your deliciously light looking sponge…I’m in heaven. I reckon I could make this gluten free no problem. Can’t wait to try it for myself

  7. Miz Helen says:

    I love pears, your pear upside down cake looks delicious! Hope you are having a good week and staying warm. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

  8. Pingback: Fresh Apple & Plum Buttermilk Upside Down Cake | Of Goats and Greens

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