Bite Sighs: A fruity summer upside-down cake

Summer means warm weather, cold drinks, and all kinds of amazing fruit. Why not take advantage of some of those naturally sweet treats by baking up a dessert that features locally grown fruit? And, you know, evilly delicious fattening stuff.

For this cake, we take the classic brown sugar and butter topping of a pineapple upside-down cake and match it up with sweet pears and tart blackberries.

Blackberry Pear Upside-Down Cake

For the topping:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 large pear

Ripe blackberries

For the cake:

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup white sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoons almond extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoons salt

Ground cinnamon

Ground nutmeg


Fire up your oven to 350 F (as usual) and grease an 8-inch round cake pan. Choose one with fairly high sides to prevent spills.

Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan. Melt the first half cup of butter and drizzle it over the brown sugar. Swirl it around, kind of like you’re panning for gold, in order to let the sugar soak up all of the butter. Peel and core the pear, and then slice it into thin wedges. Arrange the slices in the pan on top of the butter and sugar. Make it pretty. Slice the blackberries lengthwise and place them cut side up in the pan, here and there between the pears. Does it look nice? OK, then. On to the cake.

Whirl the second half cup of butter together with the white sugar in your stand mixer until the sugar stops making that grating noise. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the extracts. Blend on medium speed for about a minute. Add the baking powder and salt to the flour, and then add a shake or two each of the cinnamon and nutmeg. Go with your instincts on this one; it’s all a matter of personal taste. Stir the dry ingredients together.

Dump the flour blend into your mixing bowl and beat everything together on medium speed just until incorporated. Carefully spoon the resulting batter over the fruit pattern in your pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Slide the pan into the oven and let it bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and springs back when touched with a finger.

When the cake tests done, pull the pan out of the oven and set it on a rack just long enough to run a knife around the edges. Invert a serving plate onto the cake pan and flip the whole pile over; juggling skills will come in handy here, as will hot pads.

Shimmy the cake pan loose and gaze in awe at your fabulous fruit creation. This cake is best served warm, but will keep for a few days at room temperature, covered in plastic wrap.


— Have a question or suggestion for Bite Sighs? Email Audrey Lintner at