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By Tom Midford

Orange and Pear Upside-Down Cake Recipe


1/2 cup butter, cubed

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons grated orange zest, divided

2 medium ripe pears, peeled and quartered

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 large egg, room temperature

1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup half-and-half cream


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place butter in a 10-in. cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet; place pan in oven until butter is melted, 3-5 minutes. Carefully tilt pan to coat bottom and sides with butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and 1 tablespoon orange zest. Arrange pears in a single layer over sugar.

2. In a large bowl, beat sugar, coconut oil, egg and remaining 1 tablespoon orange zest until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into sugar mixture alternately with cream.

3. Spoon over pears. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm.

Pear Varieties

There are many different varieties of pear. Pears are usually harvested in the fall. The varieties of pears are:

  1. Anjou pears: these pears are known for having a firm texture and mild flavor. Ripe anjous are known for dripping juice, so be careful if you are eating them out of your hand. They come in red and green varieties.

  2. Asian pears: Asian pears are known for being crunchy and more like apples than pears. Asian pears in the USA have a matte tan color. They are great for eating raw, and are also great in tarts and crisps.

  3. Bartlett pears: Raw bartletts are incredibly juicy and are great for pear sauce or butter.

  4. Bosc pears: boscs are crisp when raw but they keep their shape when cooked.

  5. Comice pears: comice pears are great for eating raw. They have a fruity aroma and flavor, and are more rounded and apple-shaped than other pears.

  6. Concorde Pears: Concorde pears have long necks, and are a bit of a combination of comices and boscs. They can be green or have a red or russet blush.

  7. Forelle pears: forelles are great for snacking due to their size.

  8. French Butter pears: french butters are great for cooking, and have a pretty green color.

  9. Seckel pears: seckels are tiny and have firm flesh. They are great canned, poached, and baked.


  1. Taste of Home Editors. (2022, June 10). Orange and Pear Upside-Down Cake. Taste of Home. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from

  2. Varieties of Pears From Anjou to Williams. (2020, March 25). The Spruce Eats. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from

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