January 5, 2019


sticky pear upside down cake

For New Year we decided to stay in and cook something special.  Something rich, warming and memorable for the occasion.  Never mind the whole week of indulgence that went before – we wanted something that would see the old year out with a bang!

This pudding definitely hit the spot!

sticky pear upside down cake3sticky pear upside down cake2

It’s always a comfort when the end result looks like the picture in the book!  This is a recipe I have had my eye on for a while, waiting for the right occasion, and comes from the book “Annie Bell’s Baking Bible”.  You can also see it on the internet here.

sticky pear upside down cake5It’s proper name is upside down ginger cake but it was very, very sticky, much like a sticky toffee pudding, with a hefty dose of spices and black treacle.

sticky pear upside down cake4

It was not for the faint hearted, strong on flavour and very sweet.  Perfect with a little cream poured over and a glass of dessert wine alongside.


For the topping

100g light soft brown sugar

50g unsalted butter

1 400g tin of pear halves

a few walnut halves

For the cake

125g plain flour

½ tsp bicarb

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

a pinch of ground cloves

¼ tsp salt

1 egg

125g light soft brown sugar

90g black treacle

125ml sour milk* (see method)

a few drops of lemon juice

50g unsalted butter, melted


Set the oven to 180C / 160 fan.  Butter and line the base of a 20cm round, 7cm deep tin with a removable base.

To make the topping, gently melt the butter in a small pan, add the brown sugar and stir for 1-2 minutes.  Spoon into the bottom of the cake tin and spread out with the back of the spoon.  Drain the pear halves and arrange, cut side down, on top of the sugar, adding the walnuts, flat side down, between the pears.

To make the cake, sift the flour and spices into a bowl, stir in the salt. 

Measure the milk into a jug and *add the lemon juice to sour it.  Put the egg, sugar, treacle and melted butter into a large bowl, add the milk and blend together.  Fold in the flour and spice mixture and beat for 1 minute.

Pour the mixture gently over the fruit in the tin and bake for 40-50 minutes or until done.

Remove from the oven, run a knife around the edge and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.  Release and remove the collar of the tin, place a cake stand or plate on top of the cake and invert.  Remove the base and the baking paper.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. Ooh yum! I do love a dark, sticky cake. That's a great way to start the new year.

  2. Sweet, sticky and indulgent. That's a perfect end to any year. Bring on the dessert wine.