Upside-Down Pear and Pecan Cornmeal Cake

Cinnamon, pears, and pecans pack plenty of warm and cozy notes into this simple treat.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Upside-Down Pear and Pecan Cornmeal Cake
Yields: 1 (9-Inch) Cake
  • 1 Bartlett pear, halved, cored, and cut lengthwise into 16 slices
  • 1 cup Schermer Pecan halves and pieces
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened and divided
  • ⅓ cup plus ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup fine-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • Sorghum syrup, to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.
  2. Arrange half of pears, cut side down, in prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of pecans. Repeat layers once.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt ¼ cup butter over medium-high heat. Stir in ⅓ cup brown sugar and cream; bring to a boil. Pour mixture over pears and pecans.
  4. In a large bowl, beat granulated sugar, remaining ½ cup butter, and remaining ½ cup brown sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Fold in sour cream. Carefully spread batter over pears and pecans.
  6. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a plate, and let cool completely. Cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Drizzle with sorghum syrup before serving.

We used a Bartlett pear, however, your favorite pear variety or even a sweet apple will work well.


  1. Most people don’t realize how good pears and pecans go together. These are delicious. I am also looking into a gluten-free version for our gluten intolerant daughter by swapping out the all-purpose flour with pecan meal/flour. We’ll see how that turns out.


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