Upside-down pear cake

Serve Matt Tebbutt's pretty cake as a special dessert for a family dinner
By Matt Tebbutt
Upside-down pear cake
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 4 unripe pears, peeled, cut in half and cored
  • 100 ml pear dessert wine, plus extra for drizzling (optional)
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves

For the cake

  • 175 g butter
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 150 g self-raising flour
  • 50 ml full-fat milk
  • icing sugar, for dusting


1. Put the pears, pear wine, sugar, spices and 500ml water into a heavy-based saucepan. Cover with a cartouche of greaseproof paper, weigh down with a small plate and simmer gently for 45 minutes or until the pears are tender.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the pears to cool in the syrup while you prepare the cake batter.

3. For the cake: preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm spring-form cake pan.

4. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla seeds until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, then add the flour and mix until combined. Slowly pour in the milk, mixing as you go.

5. Remove the pears from the syrup with a slotted spoon, reserving the syrup.

6. Arrange the pears, cut side down, in the bottom of the cake pan in a neat pattern (this is the side you will view when you turn it out after cooking). Pour over the cake batter and tap on the surface to remove any air bubbles.

7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is just cooked through (a skewer inserted into the centre should come away clean) and the top is golden brown.

8. While the cake is cooking, put the reserved syrup into a small saucepan and cook until reduced to a thicker, syrupy consistency.

9. When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven, turn out onto a serving plate and drizzle over a little extra pear wine, if desired.

10. To serve, slice the cake into portions, drizzle over a little of the warm, reduced syrup and dust with icing sugar.

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