Pear & Maple Upside-down Cake

Sunday 8 April 2018

One flavour which I really enjoy is Maple.  In Canada at this time of year, the sap is running on the Maple trees and they are tapping them so that they can make Maple Syrup.  

One of my favourite things to do when I lived there, with the family, was to take a trip into the Maple bush to watch them making the Maple Syrup and to buy some of their products.

They don't just make syrup, but also candies and sugar.  Butter, fudge, etc.  It takes about 45 litres of maple sap to make one litre of syrup.  

The harvested sap goes into a sugar house where it is put into the evaporator which boils and condenses it down into syrup, as the water evaporates.  

For other products (butter, sugar, candy) the syrup is boiled/evaporated/condensed even further.

When I first moved over here to the UK, Maple anything was very hard to procure.  I came over with a 4 liter can of Maple syrup which I carried right onto the plane.(Try doing that now!)  

Thankfully Maple products are a lot easier to find now.  You can buy the syrup in all the shops and even Maple sugar in some. 

I used some of my maple sugar the other day to make this delicious Pear & Maple Upside-down Cake, along with some maple flavouring in the batter.

 Pears and maple go very well together. I had some tinned pears which were coming close to their sell by date and this was a great way to use them up. 

Of course if you don't have maple sugar, soft light brown sugar works very well.  It is what was originally used in making upside down cakes.  Using maple sugar was my own idea, and it worked well.

I used tinned pear halves and pecans, filling in the spaces in between with some slices of pear and more pecan nuts.

The recipe itself was based on the one for Pineapple Upside-down Cake in my old Purity Cookbook.  You can't beat that book!  

It is filled with lots of very sound basic recipes.

The recipe for the batter calls for the use of white vegetable shortening, which makes for a lovely white sponge. Generally, you can use butter or margarine in place of shortening, but making this substitution may slightly alter the texture of baked goods. 

Shortening is 100 percent fat, but butter and margarine are composed of about 85 percent fat and 15 percent water.  

I have found that in cakes the substitution is barely noticeable really, except you might have a slight golden cake instead of a pure white one.

Not a problem really. Just don't use whipped or spreadable butters/margarines.  Use solid, and you will be okay.

I think I like this Pear & Maple version even better than the old Pineapple version.  My husband  ate two pieces, one while it was still warm and another one later on after it had cooled! 

Myself, I am trying hard to resist it, but it's hard to do!  A little sliver won't hurt . . .


*Pear & Maple Upside down Cake*
makes 1 9-inch cake

A delicious twist on an old favourite. If you want you can use 65g (1/2 cup) of maple sugar instead of the brown sugar called for in the recipe for an even more maple-like flavour. That is what I did this time and it worked beautifully. 

3 TBS butter
65g soft light brown sugar (1/3 cup packed)
2 (410g) tins of pear halves in juice, drained (19 ounces altogether)
(You won't need all of them)
a quantity of toasted pecan nuts
210g plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
2 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp maple flavouring
190g sugar (1 cup)
75g white vegetable shortening (1/3 cup)
180ml milk (3/4 cup), divided
2 large free range eggs


Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Melt the butter in a 9 inch round deep cake tin.  Stir in the brown sugar and spread it all out evenly in the pan.  Place 1 pecan (presentation side up) into the hollow of each pear half and arrange the pear halves in a circle, cut sides down in the tin. You can fill in any spaces with additional pecans or pears if you wish

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk in the sugar.  Drop in the shortening and 120ml (1/2 cup) of the milk.  Beat on low speed with an electric whisk for 1 minute.  Add the eggs, remaining milk and maple flavouring.  Beat for an additonal 2 minutes on low speed.  Pour over the pears in the pan.  Smooth out evenly.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes.  The cake should spring back when lightly touched.  Remove from the oven.  Immediately invert on a serving plate.  Let cool for 10 minutes before carefully lifting off the cake tin.

Cut into weges to serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

This really is a lovely cake and one I am sure the whole family will enjoy!  Bon Appetit! 


  1. Little piece of delish I bet!!:)

    1. OMG, you can't imagine Monique! Seriously tasty! xo

  2. This looks SO pretty -- and yummy, too!

  3. Thanks for another great recipe! Made this for someone leaving at work yesterday and can confirm it came out beautiful and was great success.... yum yum...
    One question though, when you talk of 'maple sugar' do you mean like sugar-sugar (as in powder?) or maple syrup? I ended up doing a mix of brown soft sugar + maple syrup, and it worked, but was wondering if maybe there was such a thing as a powdered sugar made from the maple sap?

    1. Yes there is a granulated kind of sugar that is made from maple sap! I am glad that you enjoyed the cake ! Sounds like your substitution worked great! Xo

  4. Hi Marie. What is maple flavouring? Is it a sort of essence/extract like vanilla extract or something else? Does it make a big difference to the flavour? I notice it is also in your maple and walnut cookies.


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