Upside Down Caramelized Pear and Almond Cake {Gluten-Free}

Vanilla and brown sugar baked pears top this recipe for pear upside down cake. The bottom-turned-top boasts a soft, gluten-free almond cake with a light texture just firm enough to stand up to the caramelized pears.
Upside Down Caramelized Pear and Almond Cake #recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com


The sun shines warmer this week, evidenced by puddles that have replaced layers of ice pack and the softening snow. Each afternoon the kids stomp through the door, their coats draped over their arms, cheeks flushed and their nostrils flaring in the brisk air. Smiles adorn their faces as pink skin soaks up vitamin D during their post-school traipsing.

Our neighbors have opened their garage door, pulling lawn chairs onto the slick black driveway and observing the slow melt as we head into spring. The children celebrate in boots and snow pants and t-shirts, climbing the mounds of snow that line the driveway before sliding down on wet bottoms again and again. Impromptu dinners eaten surrounded by mounds of snow in the fresh air are held in celebration.
Upside Down Caramelized Pear and Almond Cake #recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com
I recently purchased a few pears for a client project I am working on, and once the food had been staged and shot, two brown-skinned Boscs remained on the counter. After slicing into one, dipping it gently in lemon juice, and packing it away in a lunch box, there was a lone pear that remained, stolid.

There it sat until yesterday, when it became the focal point for a cake. The sun shining outside, a cake still warm from the oven greeted my coat-shirking bunch. When the door swung open they were hit with the redolence of baking pears and light almond cake coming together in the oven. Browning sugars had caramelized to a high gloss over the baked fruit, and soon there were takers flooding the kitchen, the promise of cake hanging in their nose.
Upside Down Caramelized Pear and Almond Cake #recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com
This Thursday is a get-together worth getting out for. James Beard nominated Michelle Gayer of Salty Tart in partnership with Share Our Strength and their Minneapolis chef chair James Beard winner Tim McVee of La Belle Vie are hosting another Minneapolis Cakewalk event. Each dollar of ticket sales will go towards ending childhood hunger in America. Share Our Strength is dedicated to helping the 17 million children that struggle with food insecurity through initiatives like the Cooking Matters program and No Kid Hungry, which educates families about nutrition, cooking, and including healthy food on a budget.

You can still grab a ticket to join us this Thursday, March 13th at 8p in Minneapolis. Aria at The Jeune Lune is hosting, and there will be drinks, dancing, and plenty of cake for everyone. When the weather is warming, there is little else to do but celebrate and eat cake that benefits others. Perhaps I’ll see you there?

4.8 from 4 reviews

Upside Down Caramelized Pear and Almond Cake {Gluten-Free}

 

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Bosc pear
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8″ cake pan with parchment.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the brown sugar and the salt and stir, cooking until the edges bubble and the sugar is dissolved stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Immediately pour the sauce over the parchment, spreading with the back of a spoon or spatula if necessary.
  3. Slice the pear in half and core using a melon baller. Thinly slice each half into ⅛-1/4″ pieces. Arrange the slices over the caramel, fanning them out from the center.
  4. Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the yolks using a hand beater until they are thick and pale yellow. Slowly mix in the sugar, followed by the almond extract, the almond flour, arrowroot powder, and the cardamom. The mixture will be quite thick.
  6. Gently mix in half of the egg whites. When they are incorporated, fold in the remaining egg whites. The batter may be slightly streaked with white. This is fine. Be careful not to overmix when folding.
  7. Pour the cake batter over the pears. Spread into an even layer, fully covering the pears.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the center is set. Remove from the oven and invert onto a plate while still warm. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe type: Dessert
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6

 

Upside Down Caramelized Pear and Almond Cake #recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com
Behind the Scenes:

  • This cake finished baking minutes after the kids ran through the door. As I pulled it out, flipped it onto the plate, and then set up a space to photograph it, I was bumped and badgered by one small soul in particular. He informed me of his thoughts on the whole process by explaining, “I don’t like pictures of cake. Cake is for eating, not for pictures.”
  • After consuming her piece, a small girl in raspberry-colored pants let me know what she thought of my cake attempts, “It’s kind of like pie because you get all the warm fruit and the cake, too. Much better than frosted cake.”
  • And finally, as I was cleaning up the dishes and hiding away a piece for their father I heard, “Why did you only make one?”

Comments

  1. This is so pretty!! I am not normally a pear person, but I am pretty I would go crazy for this! I love how the pears get nice and caramelized on the bottom!

    Great post, I loved reading it!

    Oh and ya for snow melt!

  2. LOVE the comments from the peanut gallery. So familiar. :)

    Seriously, I need a slice of this to go with my afternoon tea. I’m sitting and watching the snow come down and fighting the urge to scream. It’s supposed to get cold. Very cold. Winter is back and how to cope? I’m thinking you have the answer right here.

  3. My kids would agree that food is for eating, not photographing! They are often hovering just outside of all the food photos I take saying “now can we eat it? now? now?” ha!

    This cake looks delicious – this is my favorite kind of dessert, well this and pudding of any variety. mmm!

  4. P.S. Those plates are gorgeous – I love them!

  5. Beautiful, my friend! Love pears in anything, and also love that it’s gluten-free! :)

  6. Upside down, girl you turn me… inside out ; ) …. Love this cake!

  7. This is my kind of cake, I want to sit down to a big slice of it along with a nice cup of tea.

  8. This is so gorgeous! Wish I had a big slice right now!

  9. Just love the almond, cardamom and pear combination. And the comments! So cute.

  10. I love the simplicity of this dish. Looks delicious and a great dessert for spring. I will have to try this summer. We get so many pears from my parents garden!

  11. Looks delicious!

  12. gorgeous and gluten free! I am giving this a try!

  13. My WORD this looks lovely. I love pear desserts. I love almond desserts. I LOVE this.

  14. I am in serious need of this cake! love it!

  15. So gorgeous. Hmmm…I have 2 Bosc pears sitting on my counter right now… (love your family’s comments!)

  16. So pretty – I used to make pineapple upside down cakes when I was a kid – love this more elegant version.

  17. It was warm for about five minutes this week. And now it’s cold again. At least it’s sunny and with the clocks going forward, the days are longer. So, there are a few positives. I just can’t wait for it to be 20+ degrees warmer. That would bring it to the 50s. :-/

    Love everything about this pear cake. How rustic it looks and that it utilizes almond flour (so much more flavorful than other gf flours).

    • Thanks, Brian! I jinxed the weather with this post. It was -2ºF again last night, 11ºF right now. Sigh. Spring is coming, right? I hope it warms up for you, too!

  18. I love your behind the scenes! Your family is so cute :)

  19. This looks beautiful. I love pears and I love upside down cakes so this is close to perfection.

  20. Carolee Noury says:

    This cake was delicious!

    I have an ingredient question for you:

    This recipe my first experience using almond flour. The bag I bought has a recipe for a lovely sounding cake. It calls for 1 1/2 cups of almond flour and 1/2 cup of coconut flour.

    I did some research, but couldn’t find the answer–is the coconut flour necessary, do you think? Or could I do all almond?

    Thanks, Shaina! Love this recipe!

  21. Larissa says:

    Whipped this up in 10mins before a dinner party of 4. In our Ozzie winter of 20 oC we needed some warming up! Well we ate it all….. Yum. Thank you.

  22. Michelle says:

    Thanks for sharing this!! Made this when I sliced too many pears for the kiddos we had over for lunch and it turned out SO yummy!! :) A gluten-free keeper!!

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