Roasted Pear and Rosemary Upside-Down Cake

Rachel Willen
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings


8tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick) separated into two 4 tablespoon portions
1cup sugar, separated into two 1/2 cup portions
3medium pears, skins on, cored and cut into wedges (8 wedges per pear)
1tablespoon fresh whole rosemary leaves
3tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped finely
3/4cup medium to fine ground cornmeal

3/4cup all-purpose flour
1/2teaspoon baking powder

1/4teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2teaspoons kosher salt

3large eggs
1/2teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2cup heavy cream (or half and half)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Melt half the butter (4 tablespoons)  butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, making sure to coat the sides thoroughly. Add half the sugar (1/2 cup) and cook until the butter starts to melt and turn golden brown—about 3 minutes. Add pear wedges forming a circle pattern covering the entire bottom of the pan. Sprinkle whole rosemary leaves on the pears, evenly. Place the pan in the oven for 15 minutes or until pears are tender. Set aside.
  3. While pears are in the oven, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder and soda, chopped rosemary leaves, and salt.
  4. Separately, in the bowl of a mixer (you can use a hand mixer, or do this by hand too) beat the other 4 tablespoons of butter (medium-high speed) and the other 1/2 cup of sugar, until fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time, making sure to scrape sides of bowl as you go along.
  5. Next, add dry ingredients to the egg/butter/sugar mixture and mix until just incorporated. (Don’t overwork). Finish by adding vanilla extract and cream. Batter should be on the thick side.
  6. Drop spoonfulls of batter over pears in the pan. Coat pears evenly. Ideally pears should be entirely covered with batter and not visible, but if they are it’s OK. Bake until golden brown and a tester comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. (NOTE: For maximum coverage here, a 9- to 10-inch pan is recommended. I used the only one I have, an 11-inch, and my cake came out on the thin side, but just as delicious. If using a larger pan like mine, start checking the cake for doneness at 30 minutes.)
  7. When done, let cake stand in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife or spatula around the cakes edges. When ready to turn upside-down, place a large plate (larger than the pan) or cutting board over the pan and invert in one quick motion. Inverting can be a challenge because of the weight of the pan, but resist the temptation to cut into this without turning it upside-down…it’s too beautiful to miss! Enjoy plain or with a scoop of vanilla or Dolce de Leche ice cream. Yum!

Rachel Willen, FoodFix