Whole Wheat Pear Upside Down Gingerbread Cake with Caramel Sauce

Pear Upside Down Gingerbread Cake Caramel Sauce

Did you know it’s National Caramel Day today?  I stumbled upon that little fact by accident this morning and I am so glad I happened to notice that.  Because had I not, this Daring Gourmet original would never have been born!  It’s like happening to be at the right time and place when an unannounced sale starts and you’re able to nab a smokin’ deal.  And you think yourself, “Wow, had I come 5 minutes earlier or later, I would have missed it.”  That’s kinda how I feel about this cake. To think it might never have been born is…is…unthinkable!  So, thank you National Caramel Day for giving me a reason to create this goopey-gooey, oozing-ooey, caramelicious cake!

Back to this morning.  Having just realized it was National Caramel Day I stood pondering in my kitchen what I could make to honor a day of such importance.  I was holding my 10 month old daughter in my arms and my toddler came wandering in.  He pointed to some organic pears I had  just purchased to make baby food with for my daughter, and said enthusiastically, “Apples!”  I chuckled and held up a pear to show him the difference in shape.  I smelled it and then had him smell it.  Then I smelled it again.  And again.  And I rotated it around in my free hand as the wheels began to turn.  I started thinking how nicely pear and caramel would go together.  And then suddenly I had it.  Eureka!  I asked my baby daughter for permission to use some of her pears for this cake and she smiled happily, squealed with delight, and gave a little jump in my arms (honestly truly), and so having received the green light I set my mode to “GO!”

I knew I had about 30 minutes of overlap time in which my kids would be napping simultaneously and I went to work.  Prep time only took about 20 minutes, and that included brainstorming final ingredients and ratios.  It turned out perfectly.  I couldn’t have been happier with it.

You are going to looooooooove this cake.  Don’t sit and debate the idea.  Just make it!  Trust me.

The cake itself is rich and super moist with deliciously gooey areas where the buttery brown sugar sauce soaked in.  It is served with creamy caramel sauce drizzled over the top.  And, if you like, for some added decadence add a dollop of whipped cream.

And…drum roll, please…it’s 100% whole wheat!  But healthy alternatives aside, I prefer the flavor of the whole wheat in this cake.  It’s richer, deeper, earthier, nuttier, and complements the gingerbread undertones and caramel much better than white flour.

Upside down cakes can often look a little intimidating, but they’re actually pretty easy to make.  Some recipes will have you take unnecessary steps to melt dry sugar over the stove top first, which can be a little irking.  This cake is straightforward and no tricky techniques required.

Let’s make that Whole Wheat Pear Upside Down Gingerbread Cake with Caramel Sauce!

Grease a 9X3 inch baking pan.  I use and LOVE Magic Line pans.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 1

Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar in the bottom of the pan and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 2

Spread out the butter pieces on top of the brown sugar.  Place the pan in the preheated oven and leave it in there for about 8 minutes.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 3

In the meantime, peel, core, and slice two pears.  Whether the pears are large or medium, two should be enough.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 4

Remove the pan from the oven.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 5

Stir the butter/sugar mixture until combined and smooth.  Spread it out evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 6

Place the pear slices on top of the butter/sugar mixture, fanning them out like spokes in a circular fashion.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 7

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 8

Add the oil, eggs and milk (sorry, added the milk after the pic).  Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer just until combined.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 9

Grate about 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 10

Add the ginger to batter and beat just until combined.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 11

Pour the batter evenly over the pears.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 12

Bake in an oven preheated to 325 degrees F for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 13

In the meantime, to make the caramel sauce, add the butter, sugar and cream to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  As soon as the butter has all melted, continue to boil for 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Set aside until ready to serve.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 17

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 14

Invert the cake onto a cake platter.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 15

Spread just a couple of tablespoons of the caramel sauce over the top.  Reserve the rest to serve with the cake.

Pear Upside Down Cake prep 16

Serve the cake with the remaining caramel sauce to drizzle over.

Pear Upside Down Cake 4 sm_edited

Whole Wheat Pear Upside Down Gingerbread Cake with Caramel Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
:
Recipe type: Cake
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into several pieces
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • For the caramel sauce:
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9X3 inch round cake pan (I use Magic Line)
  3. Spread the brown sugar out evenly on the bottom of the cake pan and spread out the butter pieces on top of the sugar. Place the pan in the oven for 8 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan and stir the butter/sugar mixture until combined and smooth. Spread it out evenly on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Lay the pear wedges on top of the butter/sugar mixture in spoke/circular fashion.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger. Add the eggs, oil and milk and beat just until combined. Add the fresh grated ginger and beat just until combined.
  7. Pour the batter evenly over the pears in the pan. Bake in an oven preheated to 325 degrees F for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting it onto a cake platter.
  8. To make the caramel sauce: Place all sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the butter is completely melted, let the sauce simmer for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  9. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce evenly over the warm cake (on top of the pear wedges).
  10. Serve the cake with the remaining caramel sauce to drizzle over.

 

Pear Upside Down Gingerbread Cake

24 Responses

  1. wrote on

    Woww… Looks so so delicious and tempting… nice step by step pics too.. thanks for the recipe :)

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thanks so much, Hari! By the way, I’m still working on my blogroll but I’ve already included yours as one of my favorites :)

  2. Susan

    wrote on

    Wow, this is a mouthful to say and I bet it’s a mouthful of yumminess too! I can’t wait to make this one sometime. Mmmmmm.

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      ‘Tis true. And that’s the abbreviated version, haha! It was soooooo good! Todd doesn’t like cake, never has, but he really enjoyed this.

  3. wrote on

    this look and sound soooo delicious! thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thank you! Honestly, this was one of the best cakes I’ve had, ever. Definitely one I’ll make again…and again.

  4. huntfortheverybest

    wrote on

    yum! looks delish!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thank you and thanks for visiting!

  5. Anonymous

    wrote on

    half the sugar,replace the oil with apple sauce and mix your flours eg spelt,barley,wholewheat and brown rice flour.
    Result-moist and not overly sweet .Yummy ,yummy.

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      For a healthier alternative, that sounds great! I use buttermilk a lot as well, particularly when I’m using whole grain flour – it does absolute wonders for generating a moist crumb. Did you still serve it with the not-so-healthy, super sweet caramel sauce?

  6. Erin

    wrote on

    This looks delicious! It’s in my oven right now..unfortunately my pan is a tad bit shorter so I’m kind of expecting it to overflow. Fingers crossed hey!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Aaaaaaaah, my fingers are crossed, too! I used a 9X3 inch pan which was perfect. Hope you lined the bottom of your oven with some aluminum foil! But overflow or not, it will still taste the same :)

  7. Susan

    wrote on

    I finally made this a couple of weeks ago and it was delicious! A tasty bit of happiness.

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      That’s a great way of putting it :) So glad you liked it and thank’s for the feedback. I can’t wait to make it again myself!

  8. Erin

    wrote on

    Well it sat on the edge torturing me but never went over! Hooray!
    It was delicious and I got so many compliments. I only took a little credit and sent people your way for the recipe. Will definitely be making this again(and again and again) :)

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Wahoo!!! SO glad it didn’t spill over! Sorry you had to experience so much anxiety over the course of that 1 hour baking period, but I’m glad it paid off in the end :) It’s one of my new favorites, too. And YES – thanks for sending those friend my way!

  9. wrote on

    I was just wondering if you use fresh or over ripe pears

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi LaDonna! You can use either. But the riper the fruit is, the more flavor it will have.

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