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Gingered Pear Brown Butter Upside Down Cake

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Sliced pears are sprinkled with crystallized ginger, then topped with a bourbon caramel and if that wasn't decadent enough... I top all that with a brown butter cake batter and baked it.
Course Desserts & Sweet Treats
Cuisine American
Keyword bourbon, brown butter, ginger, pears, vanilla bean
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Servings 8 slices
Calories 386
Author Laurie McNamara


  • 2 semi-firm Bosc pears peeled, cored and cut into eighths
  • 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter divided
  • 2 tablespoon bourbon or water
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean scraped
  • 2 large eggs
  • cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for dusting pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk



  • Preheat your oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
  • Fan out as many pear slices in the bottom of the cake pan and sprinkle with the chopped crystallized ginger.
  • In a medium skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Keep stirring until the milk solids bubble up and eventually turn a golden brown. Pour the browned butter in a small bowl, use a spatula to get it all out and set inside another bowl filled with ice to cool it down. Pop it into your freezer for 15-20 minutes until it thickens back up.
  • Meanwhile, wipe out what brown butter is left in the skillet and melt 4 more tablespoons of butter along with the tablespoon of bourbon, light brown sugar and a pinch of kosher salt over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved and the butter/bourbon/brown sugar mixture is bubbly and has slightly thickened. Pour the bourbon caramel over the pears.


  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, kosher salt and nutmeg and set aside.
  • In the bowl of you electric mixer add the remaining four tablespoons of butter, the four tablespoons of solidified browned butter, the caviar from one vanilla bean and the 1/2 cup of sugar. Mix on medium-low speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add in one egg at a time, mix until each egg is incorporated.
  • Alternate between the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, mixing until just combined.
  • Spoon the cake batter over top of the caramel covered pears and spread evenly.
  • Bake on the middle rack of your preheated oven for 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out with only a few crumbs attached when inserted into the center of the cake.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before running a knife along the edge of the cake and inverting it onto a clean cake stand or platter. Let cake cool for 30 minutes or so before slicing and serving.
  • I like mine dusted with powdered sugar. Yum!


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 380mg | Potassium: 141mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 644IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 2mg