Darkened Cardamom Pear Upside Down Cake

Time: 90 minutes

Music Selection: Joji – Head In the Clouds

My 14 YO introduced me to Joji’s music this week. It is so calming and soulful and DARK! I had a hard time picking a song with lyrics that were ok (but I LOVE his music). I also found this interesting recipe that I wasn’t sure would work as I was a bit skeptical about the molasses syrup because it looked burnt, but it worked. My hubby and kiddos really liked this recipe. It is a great way to use up ripe pears (alternatively try my breakfast pear souffles – we made this, too)… Enjoy.


2 Tbsp butter, plus more for pan

1 ½ cups flour

3 Tbsp lemon juice (alternative – use orange juice)

¼ cup dark molasses (alternative – try pomegranate molasses), plus more to serve

1 ¾ cup sugar, divided

2 – 3 large ripe pears, pealed and cut in halves or quarters

1 cup walnuts, pecans or almonds

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1/s tsp salt

½ tsp ground cardamom

4 large eggs

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest (alternative – orange zest)

1 cup olive oil

Optional: 1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary


Preheat oven to 350 deg F.

Butter a round cake pan (I used a deep ceramic pie plate) and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Heat the lemon juice, molasses and ¼ cup sugar with butter in a skillet or the microwave. Set aside, after stirring to dissolve the sugar.

In pan, place the pears in the design that you’d like. Pour the warm molasses syrup over the pears.

In a food processor, pulse the nuts until finely ground.

In large bowl, place ground nuts, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Mix well. Add the flour, lemon zest, remaining sugar, (rosemary) and mix. In a small bowl, mix the eggs and the olive oil, until well mixed. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until well blended.

Gently scoop the cake mix over the pears, trying not to alter the design.

Place in oven and bake for 55 – 60 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes, then take a knife and run it along edge of pan to loosen cake. Then, place a large serving plate over the cake and carefully flip.

Serve with whipping cream, ice cream (vanilla or rum raisin) and if desired more molasses and/or cut fresh banana slices!

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