breakfast saturday | buttermilk pear upside-down cake

How about we have a little breakfast Saturday?

You cool with that?


I just got back from Ohio Thursday night and had a major day of catch-up on Friday, including re-baking this cake to get photographs in daylight.  Such a shame that I had to eat this twice.

The photo below was from my first attempt while at home, but the light vanished right after this photo.  Daylight savings time is silly.


My initial thought for this recipe was to make a pineapple upside down cake.  It was going to be the dessert to accompany the loaded veggie lentil sloppy joes for the last big dinner with my family.  But then I got to thinking and felt like highlighting a seasonal fruit instead.  Apples are typically the go-to when it comes to baking and fall, but I absolutely adore pears as well.

It may have something to do with their adorable shape.   


A juicy, ripe pear is one of my favorite things ever around this time of year.


For the second go at this cake I used about double the amount of pear, overlapping them slightly in the pan.  I didn't put pear in the cake, so I wanted to top it with as much pear as possible.


I promise this is one of the easiest and prettiest brunch cakes you will ever.  You don't have to worry about a glaze or frosting or even a crumb topping.  All you have to do is melt a little butter or coconut oil in a pan, sprinkle--my favorite--muscovado sugar on top, and top with the pear slices.

With both cake trials it released perfectly from the pan, so this really should be a no-fuss cake!


The result?  A thick and dense cake but in the best possible way.  You can eat it as is for brunch with a giant cup of coffee or tea, or dress it up with a little whipped cream or ice cream for dessert.  

If you have the patience to let it fully cool the edge turns a bit crispy and melts in your mouth.

cake pears.jpg

If pears aren't your thing--the horror!--you can definitely sub your favorite sweet + crispy apple instead!  Although, I may suggest peeling the apple since the skin is a bit tougher.


The curvy shape from the pear slices contrasts so well with the clean cut slice.


And lightly toasted pecans add a nice little crunch.


Print this!

Buttermilk Pear Upside-down Cake 

gluten-free, dairy free option // yields 1, 9-inch cake

  • 3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 6 tablespoons sweet rice flour
  • 6 tablespoons muscovado sugar, or coconut sugar/sucanat/brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 3 tablespoons butter*, melted + slightly cooled
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce, or pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste, or pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 pears, with a little give
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup muscovado sugar
  1. Preheat your oven to 350*.
  2. In a large bowl stir the oat flour, almond meal, sweet rice flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and clove until combined.
  3. In another bowl whisk the eggs then whisk in the buttermilk, butter, applesauce, and vanilla bean paste.
  4. In a 9-inch cast iron skill melt the 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  
  5. Once melted turn off the heat and tilt the pan to grease all sides.  There will be a pool of butter in the bottom of the pan.
  6. Sprinkle the muscovado sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan and gently spread with a spatula so the pan is evenly coated.
  7. Whisk the wet ingredients with the dry until just combined and set aside.  Avoid over stirring.
  8. Holding the pear upright make 4 slices around the stem so you have 4 large pieces of pear.  Place each on its largest flat edge and slice into 1/8-inch pieces.  Discard or eat the small end pieces.
  9. Place the pear slices in the pan overlapping slightly with the skinny tip towards the center. [refer to photo 5]
  10. Slowly pour the batter over the pears trying not to disturb them and gently spread the batter to the edges of the pan with a flexible spatula.
  11. Place on the center rack of your oven for 28-35 minutes.  The liquid in the bottom of the pan will be bubbly around the sides.  The cake should look golden brown and a toothpick should come out slightly sticky, not gooey, wet, or bone dry.
  12. Let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes then place a plate over top and with oven mits on hold the plate and pan together then flip the pan over.  The cake should release easily to the plate.
  13. Let cool for at least 5-10 minutes before serving.  Cake will firm up as it cools and develop a crunchy crust around the edges.
  14. Serve as is or with vanilla bean ice cream, pecans, or whipped cream for dessert.

notes/substitutions: *For a dairy-free version: instead of buttermilk: whisk 7 tablespoons of unsweetened almond or soy milk with 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and let sit for at least 5 minutes - instead of butter: substitute coconut oil [I tried both versions with success].  If using an extra thick pumpkin puree use 2 1/2 tablespoons with 1/2 tablespoon of water mixed in.  For altitude around 5,000' set your oven to 365-370* and decrease your baking powder by 1/8-1/4 teaspoon.

If you don't have a cast iron skillet: Place the 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil in a 9-inch, round cake pan and place in the oven for 2-3 minutes until melted.  Carefully tilt the pan to grease all of the sides and proceed with step 6.


Hmmmm....perfect for Thanksgiving breakfast?  I'm thinking, YES.

Weekend breakfast is served.  Enjoy! #bfastfridayclub