Swedish Pear Upside-down Cake

Try this, not too sweet, absolutely perfect Swedish take on the traditional pineapple upside down cake. You’ll love this version with sweet pears, and an almond cake. Make it in the cast iron pan for a rustic touch!

Pear upside down cake.

This cake. Oh my goodness! This homemade cake recipe is all the good things of Swedish baking, butter, spice, fresh pears, and not too sweet.

Swedish baking lends itself to the savory side more than the sweet side. And this cake does that perfectly. This is an Upside-down Pear Cake recipe that is made in much the same way you make an upside down pineapple cake. But better. Oh, so much better.

Pears being poached for a pear cake

Tip: use an oven-safe or cast-iron skillet and you can make your cake right in it without transferring the pears to another pan. Save a dish!

I use Bosch pears for this cake because I like the texture and firmness they have when they are baked and they have just the right note of sweetness. Any pears will do just fine, though. Use your favorite.

Pears poached with fresh vanilla for pear cake

If you don’t have vanilla bean, don’t worry! You can use vanilla extract or skip it altogether. Or try a bit of Maple Syrup!

Truly, make an extra batch of the caramelized pears to snack on. If you don’t, you’ll end up eating all of the ones you need for your cake.

The carmelized pears. are. so. good! 

And that sauce!

This is the cake that makes my house smell like Christmas. And I just can’t get enough of it.

batter for pear cake

The batter is a simple eggs, milk, and flour sort of batter. It isn’t sweet. Nor is it fluffy. Like most Swedish baking… it’s a bit dense and lacking in sweetness.

batter for swedish almond pear cake

That is because it is meant to be paired with the amazing sweet, carmelized pears!

the batter over the pears for the pear cake

Spread that batter on the top of your pears. It’s good and thick and reminds me of shortbread cookies in the look and taste.

I adore shortbread cookies!

delicious cake for pear cake

Not terribly pretty, is it. That’s a-okay. Because when you flip it over…

A good Swedish cake recipe like this Almond Pear cake recipe is like magic! It makes the house smell like Christmas! An almond cake recipe for Swedes!

Heck. Yes!

Serve this cake with sweet cream, whipped cream, or ice cream for the perfect dessert. No really, this is one of the best Swedish dessert recipes I make. On some days, it beats out my chocolate cake. And that is saying something!


Swedish Upside-Down Pear Cake Recipe

| 8 slices
Prep Time | 20 minutes
Cook Time | 35 minutes
Total Time | 1 hour
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A buttery, sweet, vanilla Swedish cake topped with caramelized pears and vanilla bean.


For pears

  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 2 pears –enough to cover the bottom of the pan sliced about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean pod OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract sliced in half lengthwise

For cake

  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon milk
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
Check out our Kitchen Reference Guide for help with unfamiliar terms.


  • On medium heat, in a large skillet, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter.
  • Add the pear slices, brown sugar, and vanilla bean. Turn the pan to low.
  • Stir until a thick syrup is created (this is about 5 minutes, or so. Shake the pan a few times to keep it from burning).
  • Cook the pears for about 5 minutes or until just soft. Stir often.
  • When the pears are just soft, put the vanilla in the cake pan, followed by the pear slices, and then the sauce. NOTE: you can use an oven-proof skillet and bake the cake right in the skillet you made the pears in.

For the cake

  • Beat the butter and sugar together.
  • Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of milk and beat again, just until combined.
  • Sprinkle the flour and baking powder on top.
  • Stir gently.
  • Add almond extract.
  • Pour the batter over the pears and bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a knife stuck into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool for about 10 minutes and flip upside down on to serving platter. –don't flip over in cooking the cake right in the skillet.
  • Serve with whipped cream and ice cream.


Note: if you are using vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean add it to the skillet right before you add the batter. Stir gently. You can also omit it without any problem.
No need to peel the pears, the peel will soften nicely and be easy to eat.


Calories: 305kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 1gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 169mgPotassium: 122mgFiber: 1gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 600IUVitamin C: 1.9mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 0.3mg

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8 thoughts on “Swedish Pear Upside-down Cake”

  1. Thanks for the notes! This one smells wonderful, doesn’t it! I’ll try this one at 350 and see if I agree ;).

  2. I used ripe pears and did not cook them at all! Poured the cooked caramel in cake pan, put thhe slices of raw pears over it then the batter. Also I think that 400 degrees in oven was too high, cake was ready in about 20 minutes. Next time will try 350. Very easy and delicious cake indeed!

  3. You know, I have never frozen this cake. I think it could but my concern would be that the pear’s texture would change upon thawing.

  4. It is very, very similar to the plum cakes. They aren’t in season here ;). It’s coming. Slowly. Very slowly.

  5. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    This reminds me of the Italian plum cake I made for our daughter’s birthday. I love pears too and the cake sounds AH-MAH-ZING!! How’s the house coming along?? Have a great week!

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