March 19, 2014


pear and ginger upside down cake Right in the middle of packing I started having withdrawal symptoms.  My resistance failed me and I was overcome by the need to bake something.  I always knew it was too good to last!

I had been disappointed that my self-imposed abstinence from all things cake meant that I couldn’t take part in one of my favourite monthly baking challenges, Alphabakes.  I haven’t entered every month by any means, far from it, but I have done some of the tricky letters, such as Z and I.  This was going to be the final letter, U, and I already had a recipe earmarked for it.  An upside down cake.

Then we sold the house in record time and panic set in.  So much packing to do, so little time!  Baking would have to be put on the back burner for quite a while.

pear and ginger upside down cake2 pear and ginger upside down cake3

I was looking at some uneaten pears in the fruit bowl and the idea for a pear upside down cake came to me.  I had also unearthed a jar of ginger preserve during my clearing out of a kitchen cupboard.  Perfect for sandwiching the two cakes together!

pear and ginger upside down cake4

I used the recipe I intended to use in the first place, which is on the Good Food website and you can see it here.

I simply swapped the peaches for sliced pears and added a little ginger.

pear and ginger upside down cake5 The cake turned out spectacularly well, considering it’s such an easy recipe, essentially and all-in-one sponge cake with some fruit in the bottom of one tin.

The sponge was light and moist with just a hint of ginger, the pears beautifully caramelised and the ginger jam and cream set it off perfectly.  I would definitely make it again.

The fact that it was so quick to make, makes me feel a lot less guilty about taking the time to make it when I should be packing or sorting yet another drawer or cupboard!

alphabakes Alphabakes is a monthly baking challenge organised by Caroline of Caroline Makes and, this time, by Ros of The more than the occasional baker.  You can see the details here.


For the cake

200g softened butter, or spreadable butter

200g self raising flour

1tsp baking powder

1tsp ground ginger

200g golden caster sugar

4 eggs

2tblsp milk

For the topping

3 ripe pears

75g light soft brown sugar

For the filling

2tblsp ginger preserve

125ml double cream

1tblsp icing sugar


Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160° fan / gas mk 4.  Grease two 20cm sandwich tins, line the bases with baking paper and grease again.

Sift the flour, baking powder and ginger into a large bowl.  Add all the other cake ingredients and whisk with an electric hand whisk (or use a food mixer) until fully combined and smooth.

Sprinkle the soft brown sugar evenly over the bottom of one of the tins.

Peel the pears, halve them, remove the cores (using a melon baller) and slice each half into three wedges.  Arrange the pear slices on top of the brown sugar.

Divide the cake mixture evenly between the two tins, being careful not to disturb the pear slices and remembering that the tin with the fruit on the bottom will inevitably look fuller.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cakes are done.  The one with the pears on the bottom will take about five minutes longer than the other.

Allow to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out carefully onto a wire rack.

Whisk the double cream with the icing sugar until spreadable.  When the cakes are cold, spread the preserve on the bare cake half.  (Warm it slightly in a small pan if necessary to make it runny enough to spread.)

Spread a thick layer of whipped cream on top, remembering to let the jam cool completely first.  Put the fruited cake on top of that.

Cuts into 6-8 slices.


  1. This sounds delicious! And your justification is not wasting those pears.

  2. It looks delicious too! Just right to eat for all that energy you need to pack and move boxes.

    1. PS We are a ginger loving family so this is something I shall bookmark.

    2. Gaynor, I shall remember that for future reference !!

  3. I just made a pineapple upside down cake for tea this evening - one of the kids' faves - but I like the sound of this much more.

  4. I think an upside down cake is one my favourite bakes- classic but the fruity upside twist just brings back many memories from teatimes each Sunday as a child

    1. Kate, it's the first time I've made an upside down cake (although I make tart tatin quite often) and it certainly won't be the last!
      I always assumed it would be difficult. Lots of recipes seem to suggest making a separate caramel sauce to go under the fruit, but just sprinkling in brown sugar worked really well!
      Another thing off my bucket list and another myth debunked !!

  5. so beautiful and so tasty... NOW!

  6. Oh, I didn't know you were moving Jean. Good luck. The cake looks quite spectacular and sounds rather tasty too.

  7. Would love a slice of it, Jean. Good luck with the move.

  8. Lovely looking cake. I'm very impressed by your cake commitment and time management that allows you to pack and bake. Cake always makes jobs like packing easier, though, I think.

  9. I'd have withdrawal symptoms too! I love how you've changed the recipes to suit what you have and your cake looks gorgeous. Good luck with the house move! Thanks for entering AlphaBakes.

  10. What a gorgeous looking cake. I'm glad you managed to squeeze in a bit of baking before you moved. Plus you need to say goodbye to the oven ;)