It was the photo that attracted me before I read the recipe. Last summer when I was in Cannes, the boat has this wonderful magazine Vogue Entertaining + Travel. It was the first time I have seen an Australian Vogue and its impressive. It was on their June/July edition that I fell in love of the upside down pear cake. I ripped the page (this is not the only one ) and vowed I will re create it.
On the upside is written by Joan Campbell, Australia’s first lady of food editing.On this page she wrote:

“I was only young when I first had an upside down cake. Mrs Dobbel, an American friend of my mother’s used to make them, but she used pineapples. New to Queensland. She had never seen so many. She was fascinated by them”

… and I was fascinated with the photo that, little did I know it involved SYRUP, which I constanly fail. Today I have to re do the sugar syrup process. The first one came out like a stiff frisbee, but if I had only some peanuts I could have used it to coat them. But they ended up in the bin. Luckily I still have some dark sugar to make a second batch. I sort of guessed what went wrong with the first. Too much heat that the sugar melted too fast. Thus second time round I was extra careful and was constantly stirring it till the butter melted.

Upside-down pear cake

  • 125g butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 pears, peeled, cored cut into quarters


  • 125 g butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp ground cinammon
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup milk

    1) Pre heat the oven to 190C
    2) Grease a 24-26cm spring form tin
    3) To make base, warm the butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat
    4) Still until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved
    5) Increase the heat, add the pears an cook turning occasionally for 3-4 mins.
    6) Pour syrup into cake thin and arrange pears in the syrup.
    7) Make the cake mixture, place all ingredients in mixing bowl and beat until well combined.
    8) Spoon the mixture over pears.
    9)Bake on centre shelf of the oven for 1 hr until a skewer is inserted into middle comes out clean.
    10) Invert cake into platter and serve warm with thick cream.

    I made a mistake for not greasing the tin but luckily it slid out easily. Those who want to try this make sure kids are not nearby. I swore too much when I opened the oven and billowing smoke came out. Some syrup fell through the tin, causing a little bit of accident. But the cake turned out soft, airy, spongy. The pear not too soft it retained its shaped and the syrup just sweet. And I fell in love not just with the photo but of the cake itself.