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Introduced in the 1930s, when cast-iron skillets were more commonly found in kitchens than baking pans, the upside-down, or skillet, cake has survived eras of modernization to remain a beloved dessert. Today, Martha puts a seasonal twist on this old-fashioned favorite, eschewing the classic pineapple for sweet and juicy Bartlett pears -- large, bell-shaped fruits with smooth, yellow-green skin.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2002





Cook's Notes

When spreading the batter, be careful not to disturb the pears, which, after the cake is baked and inverted and the fruit is caramelized, will grace its top much in the way apples do a tarte Tatin.

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How would you rate this recipe?
  • classyirishlass
    6 APR, 2019
    Very light and moist. I added 3/4 teaspoons each of powdered ginger and cinnamon to give it a bit of spice. It came out lovely. I will make this recipe again.
  • MS12241008
    22 SEP, 2018
    This turned out perfectly! The light flavors of the pears and the caramel flavor from the brown sugar in the cake are a delicious combination.
  • cindy miller
    3 JAN, 2015
    I love this cake and so does my family! Does anyone have any hints about freezing it?
  • msabbie36403
    1 JAN, 2015
    I have made this cake three times. It is one of the best cakes I have ever made. It is light and fluffy and not too sweet.
  • Kat Young
    2 SEP, 2012
    Since finding this recipe years ago, this has been my families favorite cake. This is a cake I will make the rest of my life because it is special and beautiful! Since finding out that I cannot have wheat anymore, I have still made this cake. The only thing to do different is to use a cup and a half of Pamela's Mix and leave out the baking powder. It is still beautiful and wonderful.
  • I_Heart_Food
    4 MAR, 2012
    This was hands down one of the best cakes I've tasted in awhile. I know that sounds like a tall order to fill but from the very first bite, it was light and fluffy which was a pleasant surprise from the dense, overly cloyingly sweet cake I was so dreading. Made in a springform pan and had the caramel sauce on top of the pears. Will make again... possibly tomorrow after I devour the whole cake today.
  • I_Heart_Food
    4 MAR, 2012
  • Rosalia
    20 AUG, 2008
    This was a delicious cake to make with my home grown pears. It isn't to sweet and pairs beautifully with coffee. It's perfect for family get togethers since everybody can enjoy it (my 2 year old did). The only down side is all the bowls you have to clean after it's made. I will make it again and again.

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