Slow Cooker Week – Day 5, Pear-Nut Upside-Down Cake

I was not raised with a need for fancy desserts – Pillsbury funfetti cake, ice cream cakes for birthdays and Eggo waffles layered with Neapolitan ice cream at my grandmother’s house were among my favorites. So the idea of making a cake in a slower cooker sounds just fine to me!

line with foil and butterlinebottomwithbutterandsugar

However a quick search of slow cooker or Crock pot cake yields results called something like “dump cake” or “chocolate mess cake.” Though I imagine these cakes to be much like my idea of heaven – a pot full of warm, gooey, fudge-like cake to completely make a mess of myself with – that’s probably not what you guys come here for.


A pulled a recipe out of my November Food Network Magazine for Pear-Pecan Upside-Down Cake. I had my reservations about it, but it mostly turned out well!


This would be an excellent cake for a weekend brunch, served with coffee. It’s unfortunately not the most attractive cake, so I’m not sure I’d bring it out on a serving platter to show my friends… just bringing the plated slices out of the kitchen will work! Some quirks about the cake:

  • I couldn’t fit the 3 Bosc pears it calls for in the bottom, I could only fit 2 and a sliver. I thought I had a 5 quart slow cooker, so maybe the pears used in this recipe were abnormally small?
  • One of the sides got a little darker than the other. I wonder if this might have anything to do with me opening the lid a crack to peek in and somehow throwing off the cook temperature. It’s possible! So do not peek! Ever!
  • You’ve got to like pears. This cake is like sweetened pears with a side of cake.
  • Make sure you cool the cake for an extra 10 minutes after removing it from the slower cooker, before turning it on to a platter.
  • linetopwithpapertowelscake

    I did not make many changes to the original recipe. I didn’t use whole milk at room temperature, I used skim milk that was still cold. I didn’t toast the pecans first, and I combined pecans with some cashews. When picking out your Bosc pears, try to get pears on the small side; large pears tend to take over the cake. Again, though it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing cake ever created, it’s really a very tasty and light breakfast cake.


    Pear Upside-Down Cake
    from Food Network Magazine

    8 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon for greasing; 3 tablespoons cut into small pieces, 4 tablespoons softened
    1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
    3 small Bosc pears, peeled, halved lengthwise and cored
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup nuts, finely chopped (I combined pecans and cashews)
    1/4 cup cornmeal
    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    2 large eggs, at room temperature
    2 tablespoons milk

    Butter the inside of a 5-quart round slow cooker and line it completely with a large sheet of foil, butter the foil as well. Turn the cooker on low and sprinkle the cut-up butter and the brown sugar over the foil. Add pears, arranging them in a circle, cut-side down.

    Mix flour, nuts, cornmeal, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. In the large bowl of a mixer, beat the softened butter and granulated sugar on low until just blended. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, scraping the sides as needed (3-5 minutes). Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

    With the mixer on low, alternate beating the dry ingredients and milk into the butter mixture in two batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix on medium just until smooth. Spread over pears. Drape paper towels over the top of the slow cooker (just under the lid, not touching the cake) to prevent condensation from dripping onto it (do NOT peek once cooking starts!). Cover and cook on low about 3 hours, when cake sets and the sides brown. Turn off the cooker and let the cake rest about 20 minutes.

    Lift the cake by the foil and place on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Carefully invert onto a platter and peel off the foil.

    Tags: , ,

    Comments are closed.