A recipe review for Pear-Walnut Upside-Down Cake from America’s Test Kitchen’s The Perfect Cake cookbook: beautiful pear wedges in a brown sugar syrup surrounded by a moist, earthy, not-too-sweet walnut cake.
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For my fourth bake with The Cake Slice Bakers, I chose a pear-walnut upside-down cake with a beautiful layer of pear wedges surrounded by earthy, not-too-sweet walnut cake. It was my first time making an upside-down cake, my first time baking with pears, and my first time making a walnut cake.
The Cake Slice Bakers are food bloggers who bake their way through cake-inspired cookbooks and then share their results with the world. One of the first things I did after starting my own blog was to ask to join the group. Every month, the group chooses four cakes from a particular cookbook and we all pick one to bake. We’re baking from America’s Test Kitchen The Perfect Cake cookbook this year. I’m using the monthly bakes as a personal challenge – a chance to take on something that I would have previously avoided.
How to Make Pear-Walnut Upside-Down Cake
You’ll start by prepping a 9-inch cake pan by spraying with cooking spray and placing a round of parchment paper in the bottom. I like these pre-cut parchment rounds, but you can also trace and cut your own. Pour some melted butter on top of the parchment paper and then sprinkle a mixture of brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt on top. This will form the caramel layer around the pears.
Next prepare the pears by peeling, removing the core, and cutting each pear into 8 wedges. This the hardest part of the entire recipe, and it’s not really that difficult. I found it easiest to peel first, then cut each pear into quarters, cut out the core, and slice each quarter in half lengthwise. Arrange the pears in a circular pattern in the pan.
For the cake batter, toast some walnuts and then toss them in a food processor. Pulse until the walnuts are ground finely, like a coarse flour. Add some flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and pulse until combined. Pour the dry mixture into a bowl. Then in the now empty food processor add the eggs and sugar and pulse until smooth and frothy. Pour in some melted butter and vegetable oil and pulse until mixed in. Then gradually add the dry mixture back to the eggs and pulse until just combined.
Pour the batter on top of the pears and bake. When you’re done baking, allow to cool for about 15 minutes before turning the cake over on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet. I was afraid that the beautiful pear mixture would have stuck to the cake pan, but it came out perfectly intact. Cool for about 2 hours before serving. I served with some sweetened whipped cream with a bit of Greek yogurt added to the mixture for tartness.
How Did It Turn Out?
I baked this cake for a dinner party. I served my homemade New York Style Pizza and this Pear-Walnut Upside-Down Cake. The cake was surprisingly simple and turned out perfectly. The walnut cake base was earthy and not too sweet, allowing the subtle flavor of the pears to come through. This recipe would be perfect for any fall or winter dinner party, it would even be beautiful enough to serve for Thanksgiving or Christmas – it’s a bonus that you need to make it a few hours ahead to let it completely cool!
Where to Get the Recipe
You can find the recipe, along with more foolproof recipes, in The Perfect Cake Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen on Amazon here or at your local library. If you enjoy baking, this will definitely become a favorite cookbook.
For more recipe reviews from this cookbook, check out my other posts here:
If you enjoyed this recipe review for Pear-Walnut Upside-Down Cake from The Perfect Cake cookbook or if you’ve tried anything else from their cookbook, please comment below and let me know!