Honey Pear Upside Down Cake

Jan 11

Honey butter cake layers, baked with caramelized pears and covered in a honey cream cheese frosting.

As I’ve combed through Pinterest, Instagram and my go-to food blogs lately, I’ve noticed a trend in honey and fig cakes, especially for weddings. Seeing so many of these beautiful cakes, I wanted to make one for myself and see what the hype is all about. However, before even searching for recipes, I reminded myself that I don’t really like figs (why make a cake I wouldn’t love?). I do, on the other hand, love honey. So that ingredient was a keeper, and I just needed to come up with another fruit.

Pears were an obvious choice. They’re a perfect match for honey, in my opinion.

Before making this cake, I knew that I didn’t want to do a fruit filling and I didn’t want to put the pears into the batter (for no particular reason – just the mood I was in, I guess). That left me with one option: cooking the pears on top of the cake because putting them in the batter just seemed to hide the fruit instead of highlight it.

I caramelized the pears a bit and used some of the leftover sauce to pour on top of the pears before adding the batter to the cake pan. This step gives the cake a bit of a brown sugar glaze, another solid flavor addition to the honey and pears.

How good does this cake look? Even without the honey cream cheese buttercream, it’s already got great flavors and texture. You could cut a slice right now and walk away happy… but don’t… the honey cream cheese frosting is definitely worth waiting for.

 And if pictures aren’t enough, here’s a quick video of this step:


Honey Pear Upside Down Cake

Yield 1 3-layer, 8-inch cake

Honey butter cake layers, baked with caramelized pears and covered in a honey cream cheese frosting.


For the Honey Pear Upside Down Cake (adapted from The Cake Blog)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 pears, pealed and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the Honey Cream Cheese Buttercream (adapted from The Cake Blog)

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 7 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 tablespoons honey


For the Honey and Pear Cake

  1. Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the water and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar has completely melted. Add the sliced pears and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 8" round pans.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk, honey and vanilla. Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  7. Gradually add in the dry and wet ingredients, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  8. In two of the pans, evenly place the pears on the buttered and floured parchment paper. Pour 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce over the pears in each pan. Save the remaining sauce in an airtight container to use as a cake soak for the pear-less cake after it's baked. 
  9. Evenly divide the batter between the three cake pans, being careful to gently spread the batter over the pears. 
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  11. Let cool in pans for 5-10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

For the Honey and Cream Cheese Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  2. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar on low speed until it is all combined. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Mix in honey.


  1. Place first cake layer, pear-side up, on a cake plate. Cover the top of the layer with about a cup of buttercream. I like to use a piping bag to ensure I evenly cover the cake.
  2. Place second cake layer, the one without pears, on top of the frosting and cover it in frosting.
  3. Place the third cake layer, pear-side down, on top of the second layer of frosting. Frost a crumb coat around the entire cake and set in the freezer for about 15 minutes to set before applying the remaining frosting.

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