Traditional recipes

Upside-down pear pudding recipe

Upside-down pear pudding recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Dessert
  • Fruit desserts
  • Pear desserts

This comforting pudding is sure to become a family favourite, being perfect for a Sunday lunch on a chilly autumnal day. Pears and blackberries are topped with an orange-scented sponge mixture and baked, then the pudding is turned out upside-down to serve, so the luscious fruit is on top.

101 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 55 g (2 oz) golden syrup
  • 3 ripe pears
  • 170 g (6 oz) fresh blackberries
  • 115 g (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 115 g (4 oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 170 g (6 oz) self-raising flour
  • finely grated zest of 1 small orange
  • 2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk, or as needed
  • To serve (optional)
  • Greek-style yogurt

MethodPrep:25min ›Cook:1hr ›Ready in:1hr25min

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Grease a 20 cm (8 in) round, deep cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.
  2. Heat the golden syrup gently in a small pan until it is runny, then pour it over the bottom of the prepared tin. Peel, halve and core the pears. Arrange them, cut side down and in one layer, in the syrup. Scatter over the blackberries.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour, orange zest and milk to give a soft, dropping consistency. Add a little more milk if needed. Spoon the sponge mixture evenly over the fruit in the tin and level the surface.
  4. Bake for 50–60 minutes or until risen and golden brown. If the pudding seems to be browning too much towards the end of cooking, cover loosely with foil.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then place an inverted serving plate on top. Turn the tin and plate over, holding them firmly together, so the pudding falls out onto the plate. Serve warm, cut into wedges, with Greek-style yogurt, if liked.

Each serving provides

A, * B12, C, E, calcium, copper, iron

Some more ideas

For a quick storecupboard pear pudding, use 6 canned pear halves, canned in natural juice, well drained, in place of fresh pears. * Substitute maple syrup for the golden syrup. * Try an upside-down pineapple and blueberry pudding, replacing the pears and blackberries with 4 canned pineapple rings, canned in natural juice, well drained, and 170 g (6 oz) fresh blueberries. * Make an upside-down ginger and plum pudding. Instead of pears and blackberries, arrange 6 halved plums in the syrup. For the sponge mixture use 85 g (3 oz) each of self-raising white flour and self-raising wholemeal flour. Omit the orange zest and add 1½ tsp ground ginger and 3–4 pieces preserved stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped.

Plus points

Blackberries are high in fibre and vitamin C. They are also one of the richest fruit sources of vitamin E. * Golden syrup is derived from molasses. It is predominantly made up of the sugars glucose, sucrose and fructose, but because it contains more water and less glucose than table sugar it is not as sweet.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(5)

Reviews in English (6)

A little too sweet for my taste, but a very pretty pudding overall. Next time, I'll reduce the sugar.-11 Aug 2008

just made this with my 8 yearold goddaughter and it got rid of some very ripe pears and dried blackberries I had going spare....very very yummy-31 May 2009

Used different ingredients.Used fresh peaches instead of pears.-11 Aug 2008

Nashi Pear Upside-down Gingerbread Pudding

Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Line a 23cm cake pan with baking paper. Melt together the butter, first measure of brown sugar and golden syrup, stirring to make a smooth mixture.

Remove the cores from pears and slice each quarter into 3 slices. Arrange the pear slices in a decorative pattern over the lined base of the pan. Pour over the caramel mixture.

In the bowl of a food processor, place the flour, baking soda, ginger and second measure of brown sugar and pulse until well mixed. Add the eggs, milk and second measure of golden syrup and blend until smooth and golden.

Pour the gingerbread mixture over the pears. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until a skewer can be removed cleanly from the centre. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.

Serve with ice cream, custard or whipped cream. Drizzle with golden syrup if desired.

Courtesy of Food Magazine. Recipe by Jo Wilcox. Photography by Shaun Cato-Symonds.

Chocolate Pear Pudding

This is a cross between Pears Belle Helene and Eve's Pudding, but the only important thing to remember is that this is easy, quick, very comforting and seems to please absolutely everyone. It's not hard to ensure you always have what you need in the house to make this. And, for hot days when baked sponge and sauce seems inappropriate, then bear in mind that canned (or bottled) pears and chocolate sauce - with or without vanilla ice cream - make a lovely pudding on their own.

As with any baking, you really do want to have all ingredients at room temperature before you start.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

This is a cross between Pears Belle Helene and Eve's Pudding, but the only important thing to remember is that this is easy, quick, very comforting and seems to please absolutely everyone. It's not hard to ensure you always have what you need in the house to make this. And, for hot days when baked sponge and sauce seems inappropriate, then bear in mind that canned (or bottled) pears and chocolate sauce - with or without vanilla ice cream - make a lovely pudding on their own.

As with any baking, you really do want to have all ingredients at room temperature before you start.

Upside Down Ginger Pear Pudding

This is one of those “pudding that is really a cake” recipes. Upside down cakes were tremendously popular in the mid 20th century as they look so fancy once turned out for serving. But, they are pretty simple really! Slice your fruits and arrange them in a pattern in the bottom of your baking pan, then pour the batter over top and bake according to the cake instructions. The fruits & sugars at the bottom form a syrup or glaze that when turned out makes the cake moist and sweet. This particular combination of ginger & pear is delicious and sounds like something you would have in winter. Pear harvest begins in August and continues until all the fruit is removed from the tree. Certain high-end orchards grow or import fancy pears at the Christmas season as well. Gingerbread combined with the ginger-pear topping sounds very “holiday” to me.

Upside-Down Ginger-Pear Pudding

Arrange in rows in bottom of well greased square pan (9x9x2) about 2 pears, peeled and sliced thin (in 16ths or less)

Pour over the pear slices 1/2 cup corn syrup & gingerbread batter

Bake about 40 minutes in moderate oven (350º)

When done, turn pan upside-down on serving plate. Do not remove from pan for a minute to allow syrup to run down over cake instead of clinging to pan. Serve warm with whipped cream or your favorite hot pudding sauce (vanilla, lemon, etc).

Slow cooker pear upside-down cake

Grease the inside of a 6-litre oval or round slow cooker, then line it with foil. Lightly grease the inside of the foil. Turn the slow cooker on to low.

Dot 50g of the butter spread over the bottom of the slow cooker, then scatter over the light brown sugar. Arrange the pears on top. Beat the remaining butter spread with the caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Briefly beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, ground ginger and ground almonds and beat until just combined. Fold in the milk. Pour the mixture over the pears and smooth the top.

Drape a long length of kitchen paper over the slow cooker, not touching the cake, to stop condensation dripping down. Put the lid on the cooker and cook on low for 3 hours, until the cake has set and the sides are brown. Turn off the slow cooker and let the cake rest for 30 minutes with the lid on.

Lift the cake out of the slow cooker using the foil and carefully invert on to a wire rack. Remove the foil. When ready to serve, transfer to a large platter.


1. You will need a shallow 2 litre (3½ pint) ovenproof dish, measuring about 30 x 20 x 6cm (12 x 8 x 2½in). Preheat the oven to 180°/160° fan/Gas 4 and lightly grease the dish with butter.

2. Slice one pear half into thin horseshoe shapes and set these aside for decoration. Cut the remaining pears into 1cm (½ in) pieces.

3. To make the pudding, measure the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl. Using an electric hand whisk, beat until light and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk again to make a smooth, thick batter. Stir in the chopped pears.

4. Pour into the prepared dish. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes until the pudding is well risen, coming away from the sides of the dish and springy to the touch.

5. To make the sauce, measure all the ingredients into a saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Increase the heat and boil for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time until the sauce has thickened slightly.

6. Arrange the reserved pear slices along the centre of the dish. Pour half the sauce over the pudding, then pour the rest into a warm jug. Serve the pudding warm with the sauce and some ice cream, custard or cream.

Prepare ahead: Can be made and cooked, without the sauce, up to 6 hours ahead. Sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead.

Get your copy of Mary Berry's essential guide to comfort cooking, with over 120 foolproof recipes.

The recipe

The original recipe for this delicious pear and ginger upside down cake comes from Australian Vogue Entertaining magazine which at the time had the doyenne of food, Joan Campbell, as food editor.

At the time the Australian food scene was just emerging and Joan’s influence over many young chefs at the time was formidable.

Thankfully Joan has left us all her legacy of cookbooks with recipes that are just as delicious today as they were when published back in the nineties!

Caramel Pear Pudding Cake

This lightly spiced cake is filled with pears and pecans, and baked on top of a butterscotch sauce.


  • 1 cup (120g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash of cloves
  • 1/2 cup (113g) milk
  • 2 cups (397g) peeled, cored, and diced pears
  • 1 cup (113g) chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (213g) brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 1/4 cups (283g) hot water


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 9" square pan, or eight 8-ounce ramekins.

To make the cake: in a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and cloves. Add the milk, and beat until smooth. Stir in the pears and pecans.

To make the pudding: Mix the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt together. Heat the butter and water together just until the butter melts gradually stir this into the brown sugar mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan 9" pan, and carefully pour the pudding mixture on top. If using ramekins, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each, then divide the pudding mixture among them.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes for a 9" pan, or 30 to 33 minutes for ramekins, until the tops are firm. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving warm.

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for a day or two freeze for longer storage.


I should have listened to the smart reviewer who warned about burning the butter and brown sugar while sautéing the pears. It smelled burnt, but I shrugged and used it anyway. Sadly, the cake is inedible. It looks pretty, if you like a black cake. So learn from my sad lesson — if it smells burnt, start the topping over with a lower flame.

Thanks to all the helpful commenters who've gone before! Doubled the spices, used oil instead of butter for the batter (not for frying the pears), used a large springform. Ridiculously simple but delicious cake. Definitely a keeper! Served it with sour cream. Oh, and I added juice of a lemon to the frying pears.

This was amazing! I also doubled the ginger - but it would have been scrummy either way. Next time I will also double the other spices, and I will use more pears or apples. The fruit shrinks quite a bit so you should really crowd it in there.

Oh my god--what a total disaster! I made in a standard (Lodge) 10" cast iron pan as directed, and it spilled all over the edges and all over my oven. What a complete mess. Maybe a 12" would have worked. I have no patience for recipes that let me down like this.

just wonderful. Like others suggested, I increased the ginger to twice the amount in the recipe, maybe even more, but otherwise followed the recipe without changes. Served it to a dozen people--it's a generous sized cake. I would just comment that my batter was thinner than I expected when I read that you should smooth it over the pears--it smoothed itself. I worried that Iɽ made a mistake but it baked perfectly. I will add this to my fun desserts for the future.

Absolutely wonderful. Gorgeous! Impressive! Delicious!

incredible cake - absolutely delicious and beautiful presentation. We upped the pear amount to 4 pears, and upped the ginger to 1 1/2 tablespoons to produce a spicier cake. Was definitely not overwhelming, recommended for anyone that is interested in a more powerful spice component. We also used dark molasses instead of mild. It was a gorgeous dark color, super moist, and not overpowering. HIGHLY recommended!

This was awesome! I made this for a dinner party with 12 guests. I read all the reviews and chose to make this in 2 8" cake pans. I buttered the bottom and lined them with a circle of parchment paper. I doubled the topping ingredients and sauteed the pears and syrup until the sugar was all melted. I spooned the ingredients into the cake pans, however I did not use all the syrup. I did not change anything with the filling just split it between the 2 pans. The cooking time was much quicker, about 30 minutes so watch the time if you choose to do it this way. Everyone loved it.

This was a nice holiday cake - very moist. I only had strong molasses in the house and agree that milder molasses would be better - it was a bit overpowering in my rendition. I might actually use only 3/4 cup in my next attempt.

Delicious, moist and very fragrant! I made this in 9 in cake pans and the batter was enough to fill 2. I substituted about 1/4 C grated fresh ginger for the ground ginger so perhaps the ginger flavor was not too pronounced. Next time I would up the fresh ginger to 1/2 C.

Autumn and winter fall crowd pleaser, guaranteed. When I'm jammed with time, for sure the gingerbread mix is a good cheap savior. Yes, I toss in some candied ginger bits (thank you, Penzeys) in the gingerbread. Quick and easy to top with whipped cream or ice cream (vanilla obivous, but also ginger, or Toscanini's burnt caramel if you're in the area). BUt if you're into it -- try a nice creme anglaise sauce in a small pool, a little drizzedl over the top. Or (this is my day for cheap tricks) simmer some sweetened condensed milk with a little rum and add ginger bits if you like for a dulce de leche type sauce.

This dessert was not only beautiful but also really good. Sugar is just right and with some ice cream it is a great fall dessert. I did use a seasoned cast iron pan. Be careful not to burn the sugar/butter combination at the beginning. I had to do it twice. The second time I just put the butter and sugar together and simmered about a couple of minutes. Other than that, it worked great. Make sure to cool the molasses water combination also before pouring into the butter batter.

Everyone loved it! Looked beautiful.

Great cake. I did a test run for Thanksgiving. I like the suggestions for adding extra pears. Also, I think I'll cut down on the butter based on others' suggestions. The top came out a little goopy and messy, but as it cooled it got a little more manageable. I used an 11-inch cast-iron skillet and it fit the batter perfectly. I'm guessing the extra butter made the top a little messier though.

This is a wonderful dessert. I would make no changes. I did not have light brown sugar, so used dark. Did not have light molasses, so used dark. Still great. Only problem is that the batter was too much for my iron pan, so I put some in a little bread pan. which was great for snacking! Also, it feeds about 12 people, not 12! I have now made this twice and it is in my BEST recipe pile.

I can't believe the reviewer that said this "wasn't pretty". It is unbelievably gorgeous and the presentation is spectacular. It has just about every texture and taste sensation any food could have. It's my favorite dessert,for fancy and casual dinner finales. If I could only have one food on a deserted island, it would be this.

This recipe never misses. My family won't let me in the door without this cake over the holidays. If you follow the recipe faithfully you can't go wrong. And if you like a stronger ginger flavor, you can double the ginger and/or add candied ginger to give it a kick. This is a rich, decadent, gooey holiday treat that will be remembered by all who enjoy it.

I love this recipe! My daughter made a similar recipe one year for christmas and I wanted to learn how to make it. I went on this website and found this recipe. This recipe is actually much better. I now make it for Christmas every year

I used gingerbread mix (horrors) and it came out just fine though a bit much for the cake pan but I had put it on a baking sheet in anticipation. This time I'm going to add candied ginger to the mix and serve it with whipped cream with a bit of ground ginger and cinnamon.

This was moist and very flavorful. I didn't have enough molasses (only about 1/4 c.)so I used what I had and substituted maple syrup for the rest. Though this recipe was VERY good, I would try all molasses next time and maybe more ginger (only because I love a strong ginger flavor). Yum!

I loved this recipe. perfect for a cool fall evening. I had to substitute blackstrap molasses for the mild but I thought it was still good. I love the deep rick favors. Will make it again very soon but will use mild molasses as called for.

Very easy, even for a non-baker like me, and very good but not nearly gingery enough. Note that the Guinness Stout Ginger Cake recipe on this site calls for 2 Tablespoons of ground ginger!

I made this recipe to the exact specs, EXCEPT I had regular unsulfured molasses, not mild. It turned out horrible. The gingerbread was far too strong for the more subtle -- albeit sweet -- pears. When the recipe says it prefers mild molasses, make it a must!

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