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Caramelised and Boozy Pear Upside-Down Cake

Vania Cotta
This cake is super moist, light, fruity and so moreish.
Prep Time 15 mins
Baking Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 20 pieces


  • 1 traybake tin measuring 27x17x5cm or you could also use a cake tin instead


To caramelise the pears

  • 6 nos Ripe Conference Pears large ones, cored and quartered lengthwise.
  • 40 g Unsalted Butter
  • 80 g Granulated Sugar or Caster Sugar if available
  • tbsp Lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 130 ml Whiskey or Brandy of your choice

For the sponge

  • 160 g Unsalted Butter
  • 160 g Caster Sugar
  • 4 nos Eggs large
  • 200 g Plain flour
  • Pinch of Salt
  • tsp Baking soda
  • ½ cup Warm Milk
  • 3 tbsp Whisky

Extra ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Blue Poppy Seeds


  • Preheat the oven to 175°C/Gas mark 4/350°F.
  • Line the tin with baking paper and set it aside.
  • To make the caramelised pears, simply mix the pears in lemon juice as soon as they're cut.
  • In a large pan, melt the butter and sprinkle half the sugar. Put the pears into the pan and let it steep for 5mins until slightly caramelised on one side. Flip them to the other side and cook further.
  • Carefully remove the pears from the pan and set them aside to cool slightly.
  • Now add the whisky to the pan with the remaining sugar and boil it until you get a syrup-like consistency.
  • Arrange the pears in the baking tin and pour this syrup over them. Sprinkle over some poppy seeds and set it aside.
  • For the sponge, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda and set it aside.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and whisk well. Only mix until well incorporated.
  • Add some poppy seeds and whisky and mix well.
  • Now alternately, add the flour mixture and warm milk folding both in gently.
  • Pour this batter onto the well-arranged pears and bake for 25mins. Reduce the oven temperature to 165°C/Gas Mark 3/325°F and bake for another 10-15mins.
  • Remove it from the oven and leave the cake to cool in the tin for an hour or so.
  • Run a knife around the edges, place a tray or cooling rack on top of the tin and carefully turn the cake upside down onto a cooling rack. Do this quickly to avoid the cake breaking or crumbling.


  • Add more warm milk until you get a thin ribbon consistency to the batter. 
  • You can also choose to add warm spices like ground ginger, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, ground cloves or mixed spice if you want the cake sponge to be a little spiced. 
  • Add more boozy of your choice to the cake once cooled down if preferred. 
Keyword Boozy Cakes, Caramelised and Boozy Pear Upside-Down Cake, Pear Cake, Traybakes, Upside-Down Cake