Upside Down Pear Cake may look all elegant and fancy pants, but don’t let it fool you. This dessert recipe is so easy! It’s made with a moist, fluffy spice cake mix, which is the perfect foundation for slices of delicious caramelized pears lining the top. The perfect fall sweet treat that’s sure to impress!

Upside down pear cake on a white serving plate.

This pear cake is as delicious as it is gorgeous! The rich, cinnamon-infused flavor of spice cake combined with the buttery brown sugar coated pears is absolutely divine! I could almost just eat the pears off the top and leave the cake on my plate… well, almost.

Dessert is taken seriously at our house, and this one never fails! This pear cake is perfectly moist, sweet and delicious, and will hit the spot and be the star of the show at any get-together. It comes together so easily, too! So, be sure to whip this recipe up to impress your guests. They will all be asking for the recipe by the end of the night! Serve this with some vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, and they won’t be able to stop at one slice.

Made this for a girl’s night last night and it was SO good! There wasn’t a slice left by the end of the night. Thanks for the great recipe!

— Kristin

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Easy. It’s super easy to make this recipe with a spice cake mix and few other simple ingredients!
  • Uses up pears. I’m always looking for ways to use up this underrated fall fruit!
  • So moist & delicious. Feast your sweet tooth on a generous slice of this incredibly moist, flavorful cake that has such a wonderful texture! It’s perfectly spiced and loaded with tender, sweet pears.
Spice cake topped with thin slices of pears and brown sugar.

Ingredients needed 

I love that everything in this dessert is simple with no hard to find ingredients! Here are the ingredients that you’ll need:

  • Butter. The small amount of butter needed for this recipe will be melted in the cake pan to make the pears buttery and delicious.
  • Brown sugar. Sprinkle this over the melted butter before placing the pears in the bottom of the pan. The butter/brown sugar combo caramelizes the pears and turns them into an irresistible treat!
  • Pears. You’ll want to use ripe pears that are not too soft. I like to use Anjou (red or green), Bartlett pears (red or green), or Bosc pears in baking recipes. We’ll talk about the pears in detail below.
  • Cinnamon. Added to give the pears the perfect fall flavor. You could try using pumpkin pie spice instead.
  • Spice cake mix. No need for flour, salt or baking powder. Simply, use any 15-ounce boxed cake mix. I chose a spice cake mix, which includes ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. The warm spices give me all the fall feels. This cake looks and tastes amazing, but it will save you time and effort in the kitchen.
  • Water & oil. My cake mix called for 1 cup water, 1/3 cup oil and 3 eggs. Use whatever ingredients your cake mix instructs.
  • Eggs. You’ll need three! It’s best if these are room temperature.

How to make this recipe

This pear cake really couldn’t be easier to make! Instead of baking from scratch, we’re using a spice cake mix, and no one will be able to tell the difference. It’s great to make things from scratch, but when you’re short on time and don’t have the patience for it, using a boxed cake mix is an awesome kitchen shortcut. Here’s the simple process:

  1. Melt the butter. Place butter in a round cake pan and heat it in the oven until melted. Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the oven and add the brown sugar over the butter.
  2. Arrange the pears. Peel and slice the pears and toss in the 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Then, place the pears over the brown sugar in the cake pan. You’ll want to slightly overlap the pears as you place them into the bottom of the cake pan. You can see how this is done in the photos.
  3. Prepare the cake batter. In a large mixing bowl, stir the cake ingredients as the box instructs (wet and dry ingredients). No need for a mixer! Gently pour or spoon the cake batter over the pears. Carefully, without moving the pears around, spread the cake batter evenly over the pears.
  1. Bake and enjoy. This cake will need to bake for 45 minutes and until a toothpick comes out clean. I know 45 minutes seems like it may be too long, but trust me, it will take about that amount of time. Let cake cool for about 5 minutes and then invert the cake onto a serving plate. Now let everyone oooh and aaaah over your gorgeous creation before diving in! It really is something to be marveled at : ) Enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Frequently asked questions

What pears are best for baking?

I like to use Anjou pears (red or green), Bartletts (red or green), or Bosc pears when baking. To avoid the pears getting overly mushy, look for pears that are slightly firm. I recommend purchasing about 4 pears, then place them in a paper bag for around 2 days to ripen up a bit. Keep an eye on them because we don’t want them to get too soft. You’ll only need about 2 pears for the cake, but I suggest picking up a couple of extras in case any develop soft spots.

Do I have to peel pears for baking?

Yes, we recommend peeling the pears before cooking them, as their skin grows tough when heated.


Can you use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar?

We only recommend using brown sugar for this particular recipe. It’s what makes the pears become caramelized and extra delicious.


How to make this gluten free?

I have not tried using a gluten-free cake mix for this recipe, but I’m pretty sure it would work well. 

Slice of cake made with pears on a white plate with a fork.

Tips for recipe success

A few notes for recipe success and a delicious pear cake!

  • Inverting the cake is easy, but timing is important. If the cake is too hot, the fruit layer is still too juicy to flip. However, if the cake cools for too long, you run the risk of the pears sticking to the pan. Cool the cake for 5-10 minutes and you’ll be good to go!
  • Brown sugar is a MUST for this cake recipe. It’s what gives the pears that caramelized flavor. Don’t replace the brown sugar with granulated sugar or coconut sugar.
  • Toppings are optional and honestly this cake is pretty amazing on its own. But I’ve never been one to pass up a scoop of ice cream! You can pair this cake with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce or a dusting of powdered sugar to make it even more fancy.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you like the cake warm (I do!) just pop a slice in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds.

Variations

We love this pear cake recipe as-is, but it can also be easily customized to include your favorite flavors.

  • Nuts. For an added crunch, you can toss sliced almonds, chopped pecans, or walnuts over the brown sugar before layering on the pears. Or sprinkle the nuts over the top of the cake, prior to serving.
  • Pear + apple cake. Use a combination of pears and apples for the top.
  • Upside down apple cake. Replace all of the pears with apple slices.
  • Upside down yellow pear cake. Switch it up and use a yellow cake mix instead of the spice mix.
Slice of spice cake topped with pear slices, cinnamon and brown sugar.

A beautiful addition to your fall spread, this upside down pear cake is full of flavor and is sure to impress your friends and family. I hope you get a chance to make this dessert very soon because it’s truly one of my favorites!

More fall recipes

Looking for more fall desserts? Give these other favs a try!

If you try this easy recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

Upside down pear cake on a white serving plate.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
4.97 from 26 votes
Leave a Review »

Upside Down Pear Cake

Upside Down Pear Cake may look all elegant and fancy pants, but don’t let it fool you. This dessert recipe is so easy! It's made with a moist, fluffy spice cake mix, which is the perfect foundation for slices of delicious caramelized pears lining the top. The perfect fall sweet treat that's sure to impress!
Author: Kim

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 medium pears, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 (15.25 ounces) package spice cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3 large eggs

Instructions 

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place butter in a 9″ round cake pan and heat in oven until butter is melted. Once melted, sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter.
  • Cut peeled pears in half lengthwise and remove cores. Cut pears again lengthwise in 1/4″ thick slices and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle pears with cinnamon and gently toss to coat. Arrange pear slices over the butter mixture in pan, slightly overlapping.
  • Prepare cake batter as directed on package using water, oil, and eggs. Carefully spoon and spread cake batter over the pears.
  • Bake cake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 5 minutes on a wire rack, then carefully invert cake onto a serving plate.

Notes

Cake mix. I used a Betty Crocker Super Moist spice cake mix, but any cake mix will do. This mix called for 1 cup water, 1/3 cup oil, and 3 eggs, but use the cake recipe as instructed on your package. Yellow cake mix works great too!
Storage. Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you like the cake warm (I do!) just pop a slice in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds.
Find more tips for making this cake within the post. 
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 435kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 61mg, Sodium: 405mg, Potassium: 258mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 44g, Vitamin A: 222IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 76mg, Iron: 3mg

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @kimscravings on Instagram and be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy and delicious recipes straight to your inbox!