Upside down gingerbread pear cake

Gingerbread and stewed pears are on most tables at Christmas. That makes this gingerbread pear cake the perfect dessert for the holidays.

The pears in this cake are an old Dutch recipe. The trick is to take them out of the pan before they become too soft. We always add the zest of an orange to the stew.

We only want the orange part of the peel. The white part is bitter. The white part is not really tasty, but it contains just as much vitamin C as in the flesh of the orange. Just some information.

We use a special cake skillet. The edges are much more diagonal, which makes the cake come out easier. We grease the bottom and the edges of the skillet with butter to make that even easier.

The top of the upside-down cake becomes a caramel sauce. So we start with that. Caramel is simply caramelized sugar. The caramel stays soft by adding the butter. When the sauce begins to bubble, we put the pears in the sauce.

Then pour the dough over the pears. Try to stay half an inch below the edge of the skillet. The dough will expand slightly during baking. The caramel sauce also rises between the dough and the skillet. If this overflows, it ends up on the plate setter and starts smoking. If you knock the skillet on the grates a few times, you will lose the air bubbles in the dough, and it will cook more evenly.

This is the result after about an hour. Here you can clearly see what happens if not all the air bubbles were out of the dough. A thick crack is a result. It doesn’t taste any less tough. Now it is time to let the cake rest and turn it over on a plate.The water in the dough keeps the cake moist. We like that. This gingerbread cake is so tasty you have to take that into account. Save a spot for this dessert.


  • 800 grams of cooking pears (Bosc, Anjou, Concorde or French butter pears)
  • 500 ml of red wine
  • The peel of one orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 100 grams of brown sugar
  • water

For the cake batter

  • 200 grams of butter
  • 250 grams of brown sugar
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground aniseed
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 ml hot water
  • 500 grams of self-raising flour

For the caramel sauce

  • 100 grams of butter
  • 100 grams of brown sugar


  1. Peel the pears, slice them in half and cut out the core. Slice the peel of one orange (only the orange part).
  2. Put the pears in a pan with the red wine, the orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and brown sugar. Pour in the water until the pears are completely under. Let this simmer for 3 quarters to an hour until the pears are just soft enough to be eaten.
  3. While the pears are cooking, we are going to make the cake batter. Melt the butter in a pan and take it off the fire. Stir in the brown sugar, salt, spices, eggs, and hot water. Mix in the flour until you have a smooth batter without lumps.
  4. Fire up your grill to a temperature of 180 degrees Celsius (360F). Put the platesetters in, and the grill grates. Place a cast-iron skillet off 25 cm (10 inches) on the grates and let it heat up.
  5. Melt 100 grams of butter in the pan and pour in the 100 grams of brown sugar. Keep stirring until the sugar is solved in the butter.
  6. Layer the pears on top of the caramel sauce and pour the batter over the pears.
  7. Close the lid for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. The cake is ready when you can stick a toothpick in the batter, and it comes out clean.
  8. Take the pan off the grid and let it cool for 20 minutes before turning the pan upside down on a plate.

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